The Buckhead Community Improvement District held its second open house for Phases 3 and 4 of the Peachtree Transformation project at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church on Thursday night to a healthy turnout of community members.

BCID Executive Director Jim Durrett estimated the first open house drew “less than half” the attendance of the event April 3.

Buckhead Community Improvement District Executive Director Jim Durrett, center, discusses plans for Peachtree Road with people attending a public information meeting on the project on April 3.

Buckhead Community Improvement District Executive Director Jim Durrett, center, discusses plans for Peachtree Road with people attending a public information meeting on the project on April 3.

The BCID held its first open house on the two projects on Feb. 18 at the Buckhead Theatre, allowing the community to see renderings and interact with BCID members and experts from hired planner Kimley-Horn.

Thursday night the feedback continued, and Brian McHugh, Director of Transportation and Planning for the BCID, says his organization is continuing to listen to community concerns. Updated designs on Thursday night reflected changes made since the first open house.

“This is the second generation of our concept, and there’s going to be a third,” said Brian McHugh, Director of Transportation and Planning for the development district. “We are taking all comments into consideration.”

The redesign projects, which seek to reduce the risk of car accidents and make traveling easier for pedestrians in the area, cover a stretch of Peachtree Road from Maple Drive south to Sheridan Drive.

The plans call for medians, sidewalks, bike lanes and an enhanced visual experience with more street trees and landscaping. The number of lanes will also change from six to five in most stretches, with the middle lane becoming a two-way turn lane.

But among the most common concerns from open house attendees has been the lack of sidewalk space in the redesigns.

“The first generation was not really looking at sidewalks as much,” McHugh said. “It was really looking at, curb-to-curb, how do we solve the safety issue, consolidate the left turns and pick up the bike lanes. And we knew that we needed to work on the pedestrian environment. So between the first and second one, we spent a good amount of time finding out what stakeholders and properties wanted in terms of sidewalks and streetscapes. We tried to focus on individual needs.”

Longtime Buckhead resident Edward Daugherty had been hoping for more tree coverage in and around the redesigned streets.

“It seems to me that one would want some sufficient medians to support street trees,” Daugherty said.

McHugh said designers are working with businesses on how certain planned medians would affect driveway access, and is shortening or eliminating them where needed. Another necessary change from the first generation was to plan for more widening of the road to accommodate both the planned bike lane and Sunday street parking for Peachtree Road UMC.

McHugh said he hopes construction of Phase 4 will begin in the fall, with completion sometime in 2015. The Phase 4 portion will cover Peachtree Road from Shadowlawn Avenue to Sheridan Avenue. Phase 3, scheduled to begin in 2015, spans from Maple Drive to Shadowlawn.

The completed portions of the project cover the stretch of Peachtree from Maple Road to Roxboro Road.

 –Alex Ewalt

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