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ironchapman

Piedmont Park Expansion

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In the Metro section of today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there was an article on the expansion of Piedmont Park. It would add 53 acres onto the 130 acre park. Officials are still curious as to how money would be raised, $34 mil. to be exact.

It still has to be approved by the ATL city council, and the money for it needs to be found (like I said above). It would take over an old parking lot.

Proposed Added Amenities (aside from the greenspace):

-$16 mil parking garage w/800 places (cost $1.75/hour)

-Pedestrian and bicycle bridge

-food concessions of some kind

-a skate park

-other new sports fields and courts (B-ball, etc.)

-a new dog park

Existing Park Amenities (also excluding greenspace):

-Lake Clara Meer

-Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The parks supporters say the parking deck would be in a hillside to the north of the current lot on monroe drive. They also say that the deck will be a state-of-the-art design that will capture rainwater for nearby vegetation. It is proposed to have the bottom half hidden by a 16-foot earthen wall. The other part will be obscured by pine and vines.

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Now that the park advisory board approved it - it looks like there is a strong chance it will be built. Despite that most residents oppose it & most NPU groups have voted in opposition as well.

My reasoning in opposing it - is that it is irrelevant if it's become a popular destination - it's a park. Pretty simple in my mind, just because you provide green space doesn't mean you have to provide a means for non local residents to drive there. I have my own park nearby (Grant Park) so I feel no need to drive to Piedmont Park. Additionally - there are 3 MARTA stations within a few blocks of the park. As for the botanical garden, they have a shuttle to a parking lot & there is plenty of street side parking across Piedmont in Ansley Park.

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I don't really have much of an opinion on it myself. I live in Douglasville and only go to Atlanta about once a month.

Atlanta needs more greenspace though, whether or not the expansion is finalized.

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Well, it least if the deck is approved, the developers say they'll build it into a hill.

The hill would cover the bottom half.

Trees and vines would help hide the top half.

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Don't count on anything happening yet. I am the vice chairman of one of those NPU's that voted to endorse the park expansion but to oppose the parking deck. As Midtown's rep to NPU-E I can tell you the deck is by no means certain. It still must be approved by city council. 17 of 18 NPU's that voted, voted to oppose the parking deck. Midtown believes that a garage is part of the solution of the overall parking problem arount the park and the Piedmont and 10th St intersection, but we do not believe this garage proposal is the right one. A study was done by the Atlanta Botanical Garden (they are the ones who want to build this garage in the forst place) that studied how this garage would impact Piedmont Ave and Monroe Dr. Piedmont turned out not to have any noticeable impact, but it was determined that this garage would add the equivalant of one new car every 15 seconds to Monroe Dr. That level of traffic would put the road at an F service level as determoned by the state DOT. Their study never even bothered to look at 10th St, 14th St, or any of the sorounding neighborhood streets. In addition, is 800 spaces enough to really take care of the parking problem in the areas sorounding? No one knows, because they never looked at just how many cars need to park in the area.

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This not necessarily just on Piedmont Park, but ATL has got to get rid of some of those parking lots and replace them with parking decks.

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Well, it least if the deck is approved, the developers say they'll build it into a hill.

The hill would cover the bottom half.

Trees and vines would help hide the top half.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't live in the neighborhood, so take this with a grain of salt if you do happen to live in that neighborhood.

My problem isn't necessarily with the appearance of the parking deck (though at least they are making some effort to hide the look of the parking deck. It's that the parking deck continues the "car culture" of that part of town. Rather than encouraging or supporting alternative ways to bring people to the park (walking, transit, etc), they are simply playing into those who want to drive to the park. I understand that as Atlanta grows there is going to be some inbetween time before transit services enough people that it's an option for everyone, but at the same time, it doesn't strike me as a positive move to continue to encourage the use of the car.

Hell, even if they built the deck is a commerical area a few blocks down the street and ran a shuttle or something would make a lot more sense. At least you keep the cars out of the neighborhood and start to develop the sense of "leave the car, use your feet and/or a shuttle".

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Parking is a horrible problem of the entire park area. You go into the neighborhoods around the park and see cars parked along the curbs of people's houses... which extends to a security issue for the home owners.

The parking deck is a good idea, but why couldn't they just build it at the parking lot on entrance off of monroe and park Lane/Row/something.

Maybe get the horrible pay-to-use parking lots on Juniper to build up as parking decks... those things are falling apart anyway, may as well make more useful. They are a short walk to the park from there. In fact, people can walk from there to get to the restaurants and stuff on 10th st and not park in the neighborhoods.

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While I understand the belief that it is a park and that they shouldn't have to provide parking for people who come from outside the neighborhood, the fact is that Piedmont Park is a regional attraction, especially for its festivals and cultural events (Dogwood, Screen on the Green, etc etc.

I don't know about other major cities' parks, but there is a large parking garage under Boston Common. It's entirely underground and inoffensive to pedestrian traffic -- the only signs of it are the ramps up and down on the street, and the pavillions with elevators and stairs that are placed around the park. And that's in a city with a culture that stresses walking and transit over driving. I'd just like to see Piedmont do it right if they're going to have a parking garage -- maybe one entrance at Monroe and 10th, one at Piedmont and 14th, and have it ENTIRELY underground. If that's the case I think it would actually do a lot to boost the pedestrian environment in the neighborhood by providing a central place for people to park and leave their cars. The fact is that most people in Atlanta for fun live outside Midtown and downtown. Even if they're coming from other parts of the city and not the exurbs, they're going to drive. So why not give them a convenient place to park and focus on making the area around the park more friendly to pedestrians?

I for one would like to see Piedmont Ave become more pedestrian friendly. It's shameful how difficult it is to cross that street, especially north of 14th near Ansley, and walking on the sidewalk is a less-than-pleasant experience alongside 5 lanes of traffic driving 45 mph.

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One proposal I find interesting is to build a garage on the Grady High School parking lot. That way students and teachers could use it dsuring the week when park usage is it's lowest, and parkgoers could use it on weekends when school is not in session, it seems like a win-win to me, but the Gardens don't like it because it;s not close enough to their facility. And that is the main reason behind the garage...the Garden wants to make it more convienient for weddings, graduation parties, and barmitzfahs(???) to be held at the garden. Not a bad thing necessarily, but do we really want to set a precedent of using public land to benefit private uses?

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Well, the City Council approved the Parking deck in Piedmont Park today.

I'm guessing most of you here are against it. Time has turned my opinions against it for the most part as well.

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^Yeah, I see your point. But then again, it seems that even the beltline itself is more in the hands of the developers and not the transit people nowadays. I'm not saying the developers shouldn't have a little say in the project, but they seem to have taken over and use it as an excuse to plant a new mcscraper just becaus eof the supposed mony the Beltline will bring in, or so some people are thinking.

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:cry: Sad. For a month that saw the creation of the Beltline TAD and the Peachtree Streetcar proposal move forward, doesn't this seem like a GIANT step backwards?
Ryan, yes.

:(

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I used to live on 12th behind Skatescape. It was the best place I've ever lived. I understand the homeowners who live by the park for wanting the deck, yet I also understand why midtown in general doesn't want it. After all, it is a park. I think all of these points are valid points (make people walk) and (no more cars). But then I think of people like my parents who are elderly and who enjoy the gardens but can't walk far. Grady is just too far away from the gardens. I hated the idea at first, but after I reviewed all the plans I thought that the trade-off was worth it.

I still have mixed fellings about it, but for those of use who live in these hoods the tourist treat the city like a tourist site. Garbage has been left in our lawns, and people are always walking through our flower beds and just not treating us with respect. The parking deck is not the answer but part of a solution that may work if using MARTA and shuttle buses are part of the effort.

If you are familiar with the park, the parking lot near Lake Meer will be taken out, overall reducing the amount of surface pavement. It also means that the rear entrance will be opened, creating a flow from the gardens into the park. Most of our out-of-town guests never go in the park after going through the garden because it's not obvious as to how they connect. The deck will solve that.

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Not being a resident of Atlanta but living there in the mid 90's, I have to say there was a very bad parking problem at the park. If the parking structure is done right, there should not be much of a problem, especially if there is a lot of landscaping and tall trees around to hide it. A lot depends on how large the structure is and where it is. I can't remember all of the details of the park, but lets hope since they have decided to build a parking deck, thye do it tastefully. I have not been there in sometime but always enjoyed the park and glad to see they are adding land to it.

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I am also glad that theya re adding land to the park.....it is much needed reclaimation of land back to a parklike state....all though they would remain woodlands with trails.

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Cool thread. I live about 2-3 miles west down 10th Street from the park. Too far to walk (no sidewalks half the way anyways!), and Marta is not an option (bad buss schedule, take over an hour to get there).

The only option I have is to drive there. I always feel bad trying to find parking spaces in front of house and taking them away from all the homeowners that live there.

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Cool thread. I live about 2-3 miles west down 10th Street from the park. Too far to walk (no sidewalks half the way anyways!), and Marta is not an option (bad buss schedule, take over an hour to get there).

The only option I have is to drive there. I always feel bad trying to find parking spaces in front of house and taking them away from all the homeowners that live there.

Yeah, I was at the park this weekend and was thinking about this. Suppose you lived over at Atlantic Station and wanted to take your dog for a walk before work, how would you get to the park? I guess you could walk across the expressway on the bridge, take 17th across Spring and W. Peachtree to Peachtree, hang a right for a couple of blocks, and then go across Peachtree and cut through Ansley on 15th street, which would put you out on Piedmont. It's definitely doable, although you would have to negotiate several major thoroughfares which are not real pedestrian friendly.

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Andrea and Brook:

You are both correct. Those situations definately lend themselves to driving. I would like to pose this question to you.

You drive from either West Midtown or Atlantic Station and arrive at the park. You now have a choice, do you look for a spot on the surface streets in Ansley or Midtown's residential section (which are still free) or do you pull directly into the parking deck and pay $1.75 an hour?

The only time this deck will be used is when the free parking (surface streets) are already full. As a result this deck will not solve the parking problem around the park. At the end of the day it is a way for the botanical gardens to make holding large functions easier. There is nothing inherantly wrong with that, but it sets a precedent of taking public land and using it for private gain, as the ABG is in fact a private orginization.

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Andrea and Brook:

You are both correct. Those situations definately lend themselves to driving. I would like to pose this question to you.

You drive from either West Midtown or Atlantic Station and arrive at the park. You now have a choice, do you look for a spot on the surface streets in Ansley or Midtown's residential section (which are still free) or do you pull directly into the parking deck and pay $1.75 an hour?

The only time this deck will be used is when the free parking (surface streets) are already full. As a result this deck will not solve the parking problem around the park. At the end of the day it is a way for the botanical gardens to make holding large functions easier. There is nothing inherantly wrong with that, but it sets a precedent of taking public land and using it for private gain, as the ABG is in fact a private orginization.

Ryan, I agree, especially when the public land is park land in a city already starved for greenspace.

I simply wouldn't go if I had to use a parking deck. Not because of the money but just because I don't think I'd like the idea of going into a parking deck to get to a public park.

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I was looking through some photos today and found a couple from the 1970's when the Piedmont Park Golf Course was still open. I don't know if any of y'all remember that but I'm thinking they closed it around 1980, which, in my opinion was a very good move. There are plenty of courses around town and people need walking space more than they need golf ball whacking space.

I know there's been talk of shutting down the course at Chastain, and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to shut down the one at Tup Holmes, too, especially since Ft. Mac is closing and it would be right along the Beltline.

PiedmontGolf1973.jpg

PiedmontGolf21973.jpg

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