Carol Long lives a block off Briarcliff Road. She is a nurse practitioner in an office less than two miles away on Briarcliff Road. Walk to work? Ride a bicycle? Not a chance. She drives to work because she says she has to. She blames increasing traffic and the absence of safe sidewalks or bicycle lanes on Briarcliff.
“It will only get worse unless we push for better solutions,” she told a committee of neighbors meeting since January to find ways to improve neighborhood connections.
Carol fears Briarcliff Road traffic will worsen as the Georgia Department of Transportation replaces the aging bridge over the South Fork of Peachtree Creek starting in 15 months.
Plans to make better connectivity part of the G-DOT bridge project won support from a collection of neighborhood groups meeting monthly since January 2019.
The South Fork Conservancy led the brainstorming with representatives from DHCA, Emory Village, Victoria Estates and Briar Hills. Carol Long went house to house, finding people unaware of the bridge project and eager for trails and sidewalks linking them to Sage Hills, Emory, Peavine Creek and the CDC.
Over a hundred homes surveyed on Anita Place, Carol Lane, Briar Hills Drive and Poplar Grove Drive were enthusiastic about safer connections and off road trails to Emory and downstream to Herbert Taylor Park.
Six months of meetings led the group to adopt these three ideas.
1) Create an attractive and safe surface storm water retention area which can be used as a green space park and trail, similar to the Old Fourth Ward park in Atlanta. Commissioner Jeff Rader is asking DeKalb Parks to move this project forward.
2) Build access from the bridge corners to the new park and trails along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek. G-DOT consultants say they are considering how to connect at least one corner of the bridge to trails underneath.
3) Build sidewalks and cycle lanes along Briarcliff Road, from North Decatur Road to Johnson Road. DeKalb County traffic engineers say this project is included in the current T-SPLOST funding.
Druid Hills Civic Association’s executive Committee voted unanimously in favor of the proposals in May, 2019.
SIDEBAR ON NEW BRIDGE:
Bridge built in 1939. Signs of scour indicate need to replace.
To be replaced in stages, 240 feet long by 49.52 feet wide
Briarcliff Road will remain open to 2 way auto traffic through construction.
Sidewalks and bicycle lanes will be included on both sides
The project area includes Kay Lane south to Carol Lane.
Construction expected Dec. 2020, completed in 18 months.