Memorial Drive Corridor initiative winds down after 4 years

In 2015, stakeholders created and funded a full-time planning position for the Memorial Drive Corridor from Downtown to East Lake. This effort grew out of the Georgia Tech Imagine Memorial study commissioned by Councilmember Natalyn Mosby Archibong in 2014 and builds on years of planning work by Councilmember Carla Smith and neighborhood leaders.

Central Atlanta Progress agreed to host the Corridor Executive position because it has a shared interest in quality redevelopment of Memorial Drive and experience with incubating similar organizations. Although CAP has been an enthusiastic partner, this effort has been entirely funded by donations from property owners, developers, neighborhood organizations, and other non-profits on the Corridor.

Four years later, we are proud to report that this role has been essential to guiding more than $1.5 billion in private development and tens of millions of dollars in public infrastructure to make the Corridor safer and more walkable for the future (see below for more details). The most significant project to date is the ongoing resurfacing and restriping of four miles of Memorial Drive from Reynoldstown to East Lake.

A view of the new lane configuration under construction on Memorial Drive in Reynoldstown. Better sidewalks coming soon on both sides.

The long-term goal was always to spin this role into a new Community Improvement District. Unfortunately, we don’t have the support of key commercial property owners to do so at this time. The current fundraising model is not sustainable. Some donors have been incredibly generous and patient, while other stakeholders who benefit from the work haven’t contributed. An enormous amount of work remains for the Corridor to reach its full potential as the best urban street in Atlanta. The need for a permanent organization to advocate for limited public resources to be spent on Memorial Drive will only grow. It’s possible that a new coalition will form to continue this work in the future.

Greg Giuffrida has made the difficult decision to step down and pursue other opportunities in Atlanta. He will continue to collaborate on a limited volunteer basis with neighborhood and non-profit organizations on projects that improve safety and walkability on Memorial Drive.

We are deeply grateful for the support and encouragement of our elected officials, public servants, donors, neighborhood leaders and literally thousands of residents and business owners we have interacted with throughout this process. Thank you for everything you continue to do for Southeast Atlanta.
Continue reading “Memorial Drive Corridor initiative winds down after 4 years”

Memorial Drive resurfacing/restriping update: Night work, temporary lane striping begin

Georgia Department of Transportation and contractor C.W. Matthews have begun preparing four miles of Memorial Drive for resurfacing and restriping, from Reynoldstown in the west to East Lake in the east. The goal of the project is to create a consistent lane configuration that will be safer and more predictable for users. A key element is converting the reversible lanes into left-turn lanes.

The next major step is putting temporary striping in with the new lane configuration, starting on Monday, March 11, 2019.

Much of the work will take place at night and on weekends to minimize the impact on most users. The department and workers are asking for patience from residents and businesses who will be affected by noise and disruptions from the work.

More from GDOT:

Neighbors, we have heard your concerns about noise but please pardon our progress as crews will be working in segments throughout the project area, your neighborhood, for the next two weeks. This process utilizes jackhammers to lower manholes. Unfortunately, with the use of this equipment, intermittent noise is to be expected. 

While we understand the frustration that goes along with nighttime work, this process allows for contractors to meet the completion date, work safer under less traffic volume and lower project costs. Please understand the next few months of construction will be followed by a lifetime of safety improvements.

Please also note, weather permitting, contractors will begin striping the corridor with the new lane configuration on Monday, March 11th. The realignment will include new brighter striping and direction arrows to assist drivers with the transition.

This work will take place over several nights, and motorists should expect nighttime and weekend lane closures to ensure safety for workers and drivers.

These new lane stripes are temporary to allow motorists to learn the corridor’s new “navigation.” To help motorists safely adjust to the new driving patterns, traffic will continue to operate in this new configuration for a couple of weeks. Thereafter, the resurfacing portion of the project will begin.

So how can you prepare for the ongoing construction on SR 154/Memorial Drive?

Plan Ahead & Please Be Patient! Download the 511 Georgia app; visit or call 511 for real-time information about road conditions. Motorists should expect delays and therefore, plan ahead before hitting the road.

Obey the Rules in Work Zones! Pay Attention, Slow Down and Watch for Workers.  Work zones are not always stationary, but can include mobile activities. Allow extra distance between vehicles, read signs, obey road crew flaggers, and expect the unexpected. Your safety and our workers’ safety are critical, so please don’t be distracted while driving. It can prove fatal.

Drive Alert and Arrive Alive: Be Safe! Always, always wear your seatbelt. Buckle up before you go. Do not drive distracted and do not drive impaired. 

Please, Pardon our Progress— we are working for you!

For more background on this project, please see the previous posts here.

Memorial Drive resurfacing & restriping work begins in March 2019

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and contractor C.W. Matthews are preparing to resurface and restripe Memorial Drive in Spring 2019. The goal is to create a safer lane configuration that is expected to reduce the number of crashes involving pedestrians and motorists.

The project covers four miles of Memorial Drive from Pearl Street in Reynoldstown to Candler Road in East Lake. Nearby residents and other users of Memorial Drive should expect to see preparations begin in March, with construction beginning as soon as weather allows. These preparations include:

  • Lowering of existing utility covers to prepare for milling down the old roadway
  • Variable message boards to inform users of changing traffic patterns
  • Removal of the reversible-lane system, including striping, signs, and poles.
  • Existing pavement markings will be blacked out and new, brighter stripes and arrows will be painted in the new lanes. Special attention will be given to transition areas.

This temporary configuration will be installed over several nights and will be in place for a couple weeks before milling and resurfacing begins. Asphalt resurfacing and re-striping can only be performed when low temperatures are consistently at or above 45 F degrees. Most of the work on the project will happen at night during the week and on the weekends.

Funding for the project was released by the state in July 2018. Community advocates had hoped that the project could go to construction in the summer or fall last year. Unfortunately, the winning bidder was unable to fit in the project before winter weather set in.

For more background about this project, please continue reading.

Continue reading “Memorial Drive resurfacing & restriping work begins in March 2019”

Imagine Memorial LCI plan kicks off with public design studio Sept. 27-29

ATLANTA _ Residents and business owners in the Memorial Drive neighborhoods will have the opportunity to help plan the future of the Corridor at a public design studio Sept. 27-29 for the Imagine Memorial LCI plan.

We’re trying a different approach with community engagement with this plan. Rather than hosting a handful of weeknight meetings over a few months, we’re hosting a design studio over three days, including day and evening hours and a Saturday. Some people can’t attend weeknight meetings, so we want to give more options for stakeholders to participate.

A team of planners and urban designers from Lord Aeck Sargent will be available the entire time to listen to your ideas, and actually sit down with you to sketch out designs in real-time. We hope it’s a more interactive and creative approach to planning that reflects the unique character of our part of the City.


  • Thursday, Sept. 27, 10 am to 8 pm
  • Friday, Sept. 28, 10 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 am to 2 pm


Media Center at Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School, 256 Clifton St SE, Atlanta, GA 30317.

MARTA route #21 stops in front of the school on Memorial Drive. Bikes may be locked to the signs at the north end of the campus. Parking is available on the back (east side) of the campus. Enter the driveway on Clifton Street nearest to Memorial Drive and follow the signs for “Public Meeting.”  

You may drop by any time that’s convenient for you, but we are also seeking groups to schedule specific blocks of time to focus on certain areas. For example, leaders from the East Lake neighborhood may schedule a time to visit together for a work session to focus on their specific concerns. Any group can schedule a time by contacting Eboni Brown at 470-234-5323 or

To learn more about the LCI program and what topics it covers, please keep reading.

Continue reading “Imagine Memorial LCI plan kicks off with public design studio Sept. 27-29”

So what about bikes on Memorial Drive?

A question that comes up frequently is whether bike lanes are planned for Memorial Drive. The question comes from both cycling advocates and those who believe adding bikes lanes would increase congestion.

Here’s the quick answer: Bicycle facilities are not planned for Memorial Drive in the City of Atlanta at this time for the following reasons:

  • There is not enough room in the three-lane segments
    About 2.5 miles of Memorial Drive in the City of Atlanta currently have three travel lanes. In some locations, the total width is 30 feet from curb-to-curb. Adding bike lanes on both sides would eliminate the possibility of turn lanes. While traffic forecasts predict that Memorial Drive can handle future volume of traffic and transit with two travel lanes, it requires a center turn lane to function effectively. So what about the four-lane segments? There is enough room for bike lanes on either side if the roadway is reconfigured to three lanes. However, that would leave us with a disjointed bike lane that starts and stops multiple times along the Corridor. That space could be put to better use with future streetscapes, transit pull-outs, or on-street parking.

    This map from a recent traffic study of Memorial Drive shows current lane configurations. In black are undivided four-lane segments. Orange are three-lane reversible segments.
  • It’s hilly with higher volumes of traffic
    If you ride on Memorial Drive from Capitol Avenue in Downtown to Candler Road in East Lake, you will have to climb a total of 427 feet westbound and 455 feet eastbound, according to Strava. Some of those hills, especially in Kirkwood, are pretty steep. In combination with higher traffic volumes and driver speeds,  it makes for a stressful, hard ride for most cyclists. A few serious riders will do it anyway. But we’re aiming to design for casual riders, too.
  • There are bike alternatives to Memorial Drive and more are coming
    We see cycling as a fundamental part of our transportation system in Southeast Atlanta. We are planning and advocating for a quality network of alternative routes on both sides of Memorial Drive. Projects already planned include Woodward Avenue, the PATH Foundation’s Trolley Trail, the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, and multiple “neighborhood greenway” projects funded by the 2016 T-SPLOST tax. There are still some gaps to fill, but we’re optimistic that we’ll build momentum and demand for plugging these as more projects are built out. The map below shows planned bike facilities and some gaps where we hope to build out the network in the future.

    This map depicts planned bike and pedestrian facility improvements anticipated through 2022. Please note that budgets and timelines are subject to change.
  • Safety improvements are in progress that will help cyclists
    The Georgia Department of Transportation is working on plans to resurface and restripe Memorial Drive in the summer of 2018 to a consistent three-lane configuration (learn more about this project here). This will reduce vehicle speeds, create additional shoulder room in some locations, and create a more predictable travel pattern for everyone on the street. (As always, remember that cyclists have the right to travel in the lane of any road in Georgia (except for interstates and other controlled access roads.))

This response won’t please everyone.  

It’s a good thing that cycling advocates are pushing at every opportunity for more and better bike facilities all over the metro region. In the case of Memorial Drive, we have limited right-of-way and there’s simply not enough room to incorporate everything we want. We also have to deal with the reality of this being an urban arterial route with regional commuting traffic. For decades, that reality has dictated the current condition of Memorial Drive. We’re finally beginning to make progress in improving safety for both pedestrians and motorists. The Georgia Department of Transportation has been leading the way in integrating bike facilities on more state routes. Its own regulations now require new projects to incorporate bike facilities wherever there is space to do so safely.  On Memorial, they are working closely with the Imagine Memorial stakeholders, City of Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to make sure bike alternatives and crossings are integrated into future plans.

As a promising example, here’s a photo of the new bike signal located at the intersection of the BeltLine Eastside Trail/Bill Kennedy Way and Memorial Drive. It’s the first bike signal head on a state route in Georgia. We hope it’s a first step in creating an urban corridor that accommodates all its users safely.

This is the first bike signal located on a state route in Georgia, according to GDOT.

[The author of this post is a daily bike commuter who regularly rides on and near Memorial Drive at all times of day.]

Memorial Drive resurfacing & restriping planned for Summer 2018

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is planning to resurface Memorial Drive in Summer 2018. This project offers an opportunity to restripe the street to a lane configuration that is less confusing and safer for both pedestrians and motorists.

Public meetings were held in Reynoldstown on Oct. 18 and East Lake on Nov. 8 to share details of the project and collect input from local residents on the changes. Please see the previous blog post for these meetings to get an overview of the project and why it is necessary to reduce the unacceptable number of crashes on Memorial Drive.

Representatives of the neighborhoods along Memorial Drive in the City of Atlanta have been working closely with GDOT through the Imagine Memorial transportation committee formed by Councilmember Natalyn Mosby Archibong in 2015.

To view a presentation from GDOT on the data and methodology behind this project, please continue reading.
Continue reading “Memorial Drive resurfacing & restriping planned for Summer 2018”

Memorial Drive safety meetings scheduled Oct. 18 & Nov. 8

A pair of meetings to discuss essential safety improvements to Memorial Drive are scheduled on Oct. 18 and Nov. 8.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is planning to resurface Memorial Drive in Summer 2018. This project offers an opportunity to restripe the street to a lane configuration that is less confusing and safer for both pedestrians and motorists.

Representatives of the neighborhoods along Memorial Drive in the City of Atlanta have been working closely with GDOT through the Imagine Memorial transportation committee formed by Councilmember Natalyn Mosby Archibong in 2015. Please mark your calendar to attend one of the following meetings:

  • 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Lang Carson Recreation Center, 100 Flat Shoals Ave. SE (map)
  • 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Drew Charter School Elementary Academy, 301 East Lake Blvd. SE (map)

Your neighborhood representatives and GDOT staff will present details of the project, take questions, and listen to your input. Download a flyer as a PDF here. Continue reading “Memorial Drive safety meetings scheduled Oct. 18 & Nov. 8”