The board of the Buckhead Community Improvement District Tuesday gave a thumbs up to a plan to transform the unattractive and confusing massive concrete bridge structure over GA 400 at Lenox Road into a green landscaped “Gateway” entrance to Buckhead.
|The present bridge over GA 400 on Lenox Road loop.|
The plan, which has been a year in the making by Buckhead architect and urban planner Peter Drey, combines some of the community’s historical architectural and landscaping elements with the modern architectural elements of its new developments.
The focus, Drey told the CID board members was to produce a “greener”, more pedestrian and motorist friendly entrance to Buckhead with “a sense of reduced scale.” No traffic lanes are eliminated in the proposed Drey plan, which is estimated to cost around $5 million.
|One aerial view of the Peter Drey design for the 'Gateway'|
Yet he explained that the bridge decks would actually be widened to provide a friendly, walkable pedestrian space and environment. The plan introduces green landscaped mini-park spaces at the on/off ramps to GA 400 and tall trees to shade the sidewalks.
Drey explained that a system of double curbs would be introduced to reduce the chance of cars jumping a curb and hitting a pedestrian or damaging the landscaping elements.
|A second aerial view of the Peter Drey 'Gateway' design|
The plan also includes 48-foot tall light towers, with LED lights to illuminate from the inside, and decorative 18-foot tall basket-weave walls that will help reduce the noise from GA 400 below while adding a design element that also allows for viewing the community surrounding the gateway.
|An example of one of the small park areas in the Drey design, with the|
light towers the left and the 18-foot basket-weave wall to the right.
The 18-foot walls are designed to include sections of anodized aluminum panels that resemble bricks that transform into sections of translucent panels—like those planned for sections of the PATH 400 trail through Buckhead—and then change to virtually transparent sections of the walls.
Drey explained that the proposed gateway design conforms to almost all of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s guidelines, but that it has not yet received GDOT’s approval. However, elements of the proposed plan apparently have been discussed with GDOT.
|A night view of the same park area as in the illustration above.|
The proposed gateway plan received praise at the meeting from three members of a committee that worked with Drey (Scott Selig of Selig Enterprises, Robin Suggs of Simon Properties and Thad Ellis of Cousins Properties) as well as from CID Executive Director Jim Durrett.
Suggs told the other board members she feels the proposed plan “meshes well with the residential and commercial nature of the Buckhead community.”
planner Peter Drey
Board vice chair John Lundeen suggested that the light towers maybe would be more appropriate if they were 30 feet tall rather than 48 feet, but was supportive of the plan. He also questioned who is going to pay to maintain the area, but then added “I think I know who that will be,” meaning the CID.
The estimated $5 million cost of the project, of course, became a point of discussion as well. The CID would want to identify partners for the project would help provide the financing. Durrett pointed out that GDOT does have a gateway funding project, which the CID hopefully could tap into as one source.