Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street make up a key north-south corridor that connects the Upper Westside, Georgia Tech and Downtown Atlanta. Howell Mill Road, between Collier Road and W. Marietta Street, is set to become a Complete Street, while Marietta is scheduled to be resurfaced. Both projects are funded by the City of Atlanta's Renew Atlanta bond.
The Marietta Street resurfacing project includes bike lanes that were recommended in the Cycle Atlanta Plan Phase 1.0. and starts construction in June 2018, the week after Westside Atlanta Streets Alive! The fate of the Howell Mill Road Complete Street Project, however, is less certain.
After a well-received public meeting on October 26, 2016, which covered the main elements of the Complete Street project, the project has remained dormant. What we see on Howell Mill Road is a street that hasn't kept up with development, density, and vision of a corridor that prioritizes the needs of people who bike, walk, and drive.
Ultimately, the success of this north-south corridor depends on the successful implementation of the Marietta Street Resurfacing Project and the Howell Mill Road Complete Street project, which in turn connects to the DeKalb Avenue Complete Street project.
Failing to create a safe, direct bicycle connection between Marietta and Howell Mill Road violates the recommendations made in the Cycle Atlanta Plan Phase 1.0.
While it's hard to picture a street with regular bicycle and pedestrian, we know what this corridor is capable of after seeing 110,000 people experience Marietta and Howell Mill at our largest Atlanta Streets Alive ever back in June 2017.
You know it's bad when the only time people feel safe biking on a street is when you close it to cars. However, adequate bike facilities can increase bicycle and pedestrian traffic - and ultimately improve the safety on what is considered a very high crash corridor for pedestrians. And this area will only see more bicycle traffic with the expansion of Relay Bike Share.