Transportation issues are usually at the top of everyone’s list when we look at capital improvement needs. In addition to the Comprehensive Plan and the Strategic Plan, both of which included citizen input and developed a long-term vision for the community, several master planning efforts have been completed that studied the implementation of specific projects to help us achieve our transportation improvement goals. Potential transportation projects include:
Sidewalk Construction and Repair – $1.5 million
The city completed a citywide survey of sidewalk conditions several years ago and began allocating approximately $150,000 per year to make needed sidewalk repairs. The goal is to repair broken sidewalks and eventually install a usable sidewalk on at least one side of every street in the city. The bond funds will allow the city to complete the remaining basic repairs in a short period of time. In neighborhoods that have streets without sidewalks, city staff will develop a petition system to assure resident support before sidewalks are built.
Grant Match for Federal Transportation Funds to Construct Streetscape Improvements – estimated total project cost $3.2 million with $1.6 million in bond funds to match grants.
The city has been awarded $1.6 million in federal transportation grants earmarked for streetscape improvements. Bond funding provides the needed match to fund three projects identified in the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan, the Preservation Corridor Master Plan and in the Strategic Plan. Each of these projects will include an opportunity for citizen input in design decisions. Because grant funds are in hand for these three projects, we anticipate that they will be among the first of the bond-funded projects to get started.
| Oakhurst Business District Streetscape Project
(development of master plan and implementation)
|Downtown Decatur Streetscape Project||$420,000||$796,675|
|W. Ponce de Leon/W. Trinity Bicycle Lanes||$ 175,000||$261,860|
The City of Decatur also plans to apply for grant funding for a major streetscape improvement along N. McDonough Street to coincide with improvements at Decatur High School. The required match of $500,000 is included in the bond budget.
Railroad Crossing Improvements
Vehicle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements at Three Railroad At-grade Crossings – estimated total project cost of $2 million with $450,000 budgeted in bond funds.
There are three intersections where railroad at-grade crossings create major transportation conflicts:
- College Avenue/S. Candler Street/E. Howard/Trinity Place;
- College Avenue/S. McDonough/Howard Avenue/N. McDonough; and
- College Avenue/Atlanta Avenue/W. Howard Avenue
Pedestrian, cycling and vehicular safety at these intersections needs improvement. Preliminary design concepts are being created to identify opportunities to improve pedestrian and cycling safety and assist with the smooth flow of automobile traffic in these areas. Before these projects can move forward, grant funds would have to be identified and secured, a design team would have to be selected, and residents would have to be involved in the design process.
Intersection Safety Improvements
Vehicle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Intersection Safety Improvements – estimated total project cost of $1 million with $200,000 budgeted in bond funds.
Several key intersections around the city have been identified in the Preservation Corridor Master Plan and during the Community Transportation Plan process for safety improvements. Specific design decisions will involve citizen input. The bond funds provide $200,000 to serve as a match for grant money that must be identified and secured.
Railroad Quiet Zones
Implementation of Railroad Quiet Zones – estimated total project cost of $1 million with $500,000 budgeted in bond funds.
New federal regulations offer an opportunity to silence the use of train whistles at each of the three at-grade crossings in the city if major safety upgrades are constructed. Funding of up to $500,000 for this potential project has been included in the bond budget. Remaining funding would have to come from grants or other sources. Any decision to pursue this project would involve opportunities for public input.
If any of the potential transportation projects listed above are not constructed or grants cannot be secured, bond proceeds could be used for other projects as long as they are transportation related.