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Much Ado About Avondale

ImageGreetings, Loyal Followers!  Sorry that it’s been so long without a blog.  If it gets this way, I also blog on MARTA Rocks! from time to time.  However, I have soooo much to go on about!  Most recently, I attended the first meeting for the Atlanta Railvolutionaries meeting at the Avondale MARTA Station.  If you haven’t followed with this group, you should.  They are beginning their nonprofit group of advocating transit-oriented development around MARTA stations and encouraging residents and civic leaders alike to engage in conversations to enhance transit accessibility in various communities.  Thursday was the first meeting to discuss the comprehensive plan to surge mixed-use development around the Avondale MARTA station.  Joining us that day was Amanda Thompson, Planning Director with the City of Decatur, Patrick Sweeney, Senior Project Manager for Transit and Transportation from the Atlanta BeltLine, and a host of MARTA representatives.

The study was revived from a 2002 plan to bring life back into the busy commuter station.  If you haven’t been past Decatur, it doesn’t look anything worth traveling to. Local points of interest are the DeKalb Farmers Market (1/2 or so mile walk away), the Waffle House Museum (which opens every once in a while), the town of Avondale Estates, and a handful of buses that will take you anywhere but there. The plan is to redevelop 7 acres north of the station into mixed-use development, but the land is owned by DeVry University, who cleverly moved their campus to Downtown Decatur to better service MARTA commuters.  There is also plans to renovate the southern portion of the station (which is actually in the city of Decatur) to make the station more of a town center station like the Decatur MARTA station.  This would include: sharing half of MARTA’s parking lots with the “new development”, connecting nearby streets to enhance walkability, and adding restaurants and shops to entice residents and commuters to walk around instead of to their car.  

The plans are still being developed even more and the engineers and developers that attended the meeting, which ended with a formal presentation at Cakes and Ales in the Decatur Town Square, said that it would be possible but would have to go through many hoops to reach success.  I believe that it would be a wonderful gem for the Blue Line as this station does not get the love that it should.  Come to think of it, has anyone visited the nearby breweries that are over there? Keyword: cashcow.

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