In 2004, at the beginning of the parking deck debate, Friends of Piedmont Park developed a strategy to materially improve accessibility to the Park without compromising green space or creating conflicts between people and cars. That strategy remains intact and is outlined below.I. Overall Standards
II. Think Green Alternative Strategy
I. 2004 Overall Standards
- ANY PIEDMONT PARK ACCESSIBILITY PLAN SHOULD:
- Plan for Future Generations of Park Users
- Objectively and comprehensively review the range of ways to improve accessibility to the Park
- Support the objectives in the Piedmont Park Master Plan
- Enlarge, Improve, and Protect Green Space in the Park
- Acquire additional land to expand Piedmont Park
- Restore and enhance the North Woods
- Make the North Woods Overlook (i.e., the current site of the Maintenance Facility and the land behind it) a permanent green space between the North Woods and the Park
- Improve Non-Automobile Access to the Park
- Maximize the Belt Line opportunities
- Improve public transportation services
- Improve pedestrian and bicycle access
- Establish a shuttle bus (e.g., similar to the ?Georgia Tech Trolley?) to serve the Park and areas surrounding it such as:
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Park venues (e.g., 12th Street entrance, Oak Hill, Tennis Courts, Magnolia Hall)
- Business sites (e.g., Amsterdam Walk, Park Tavern)
- Facilitate Additional Parking for Cars
- Add parking at the edges of the Park (e.g., West Site, Halpern Site) to minimize traffic in the Park and to disperse traffic
- Add parking on streets near the Park (e.g., parking on Tenth, Monroe, and Piedmont on weekends and holidays)
- Use existing parking decks surrounding Piedmont Park (e.g., Colony Square, Grady High School) for special events and at times of peak usage
Improve pedestrian and bicycle access
- The Atlanta Botanical Garden should build a parking deck on its existing site
- If the Park Drive surface lot is used: (a) physically separate cars and people at the entrance; (b) limit it to people with special needs (e.g., disabled, elderly citizens) and special uses (e.g., tennis, swimming); (c) efficiently redesign it; and (d) implement reasonable operational practices.
- Combine the North Woods (now managed by the Piedmont Park Conservancy) and the Storza Woods (now managed by the Atlanta Botanical Garden) into a single, unified woods, freely open and accessible to the public, with no artificial barriers between them.
- Provide new and better access through the Storza Woods, pursuant to the City's right of access through the grounds managed by the Atlanta Botanical Garden, to Piedmont Park via Piedmont Avenue and/or Westminster Drive, and in order to better connect Piedmont Park and the West Lumber Site.
- EVERY PIEDMONT PARK ACCESSIBILITY PLAN:
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- Should Not Destroy Green Space in the Park
- Do not build a parking deck on the North Woods Overlook
- Should Not Increase the Number of Cars and Traffic into Piedmont Park
- Do not create conflicts between people and cars
- Should Not Use Public Space in the Park for special interests and Private Events
- Should Not Destroy Trees
- Should Not Disturb the Historic and Scenic Land Forms
II. 2004 Think Green Strategy
In 2004, Friends of Piedmont Park offered the following "Think Green" plan as one alternative to the 800 car, 6 story parking deck proposed by the Piedmont Park Conservancy and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It demonstrates that there are reasonable alternatives to the proposed parking deck.
1. Convert the North Woods Overlook into Green Space.
The North Woods Overlook, rather than being a site for a parking deck, should become an open, green gateway between the North Woods and the rest of the Park. Rather than destroying park space and trees, the public should use the North Woods Overlook as parkland, enjoying its dramatic landscapes, tremendous potential, and fantastic views of Atlanta's skyline and the Park.
2. Add New Parking for Cars.
New parking should be added at the edges of the Park (e.g., West Lumber Site on Piedmont, Halpern Site on Monroe) to minimize traffic in the Park and to disperse traffic. Also, parking should be allowed on the major streets surrounding the Park (e.g., parking on Tenth, Monroe, and Piedmont on weekends and holidays). Finally, if the Park Drive surface lot is used: (a) cars and people should be physically separated; (b) it should be limited to people with special needs (e.g., handicapped, the elderly) and special uses (e.g., tennis, swimming); (c) it should be efficiently redesigned and (d) reasonable operational practices should be implemented.
3. Use Existing Parking Lots Near Piedmont Park.
Most parking decks near the Park serve businesses and are underutilized on weekends, which is the time of peak Park usage. Using those decks available for Park visitors will offer ample parking, generate revenue for the deck owners, help fund a trolley system for the Park, and avoid an unnecessary parking structure in the Park. The Atlanta Dogwood Festival plans to make thousands of spaces in nearby parking facilities available for their event in 2005.
4. Have Trolleys and Buses Serve PiedmontPark.
Trolley systems and buses designed to serve the Park--similar in concept to the Georgia Tech Stinger Trolley--could have enormous public benefits. They could do far more than just connect parking facilities with the Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. They could become a midtown transit system carrying people among the many venues in and around Piedmont Park. They could open up a great midtown Atlanta experience for all people, whether they live close to the Park or far from it. Think about going to the High Museum for an art exhibit, climbing on a trolley, and going to the shops at Amsterdam Walk or Ansley Mall. Or hopping on a shuttle bus at the 10th Street MARTA station and having lunch at Park Tavern, as will be possible if MARTA's plans to revise Route 45 this spring are implemented. In fact, in 2004 the Atlanta Botanical Garden shuttled tens of thousands of visitors to the Chihuly Exhibit from the parking deck at Colony Square; the parking cost $2.00, the shuttle was free, and it was fast, comfortable, convenient and fun.
6. Improve Mass Transit
MARTA access to Piedmont Park should be enhanced. There are two rail stations near the Park (Tenth Street and Arts Center), and these should be better linked to the Park. Also, bus routes currently operate on both Monroe and Piedmont, and these should be better designed and timed to serve Piedmont Park users.
7. Focus on the Belt Line
The Belt Line, which runs directly through Piedmont Park, stands to one of Atlanta?s greatest chances to improve green space, urban areas, and transportation options. All changes and improvements to the Park should focus on how to maximize the Belt Line?s potential to allow people throughout the City to access Piedmont Park without the need to drive their cars to the Park.
8. Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle Access to Piedmont Park.
Ideas are surfacing and some great organizations are already looking into new pedestrian and bicyclist options. Those plans should focus on traffic calming measures on streets near and leading to the Park, including reducing speed limits. There should also be a serious effort to implement meaningful safety measures in the area (e.g., better crosswalks, bicycle lanes).
9. Combine the Storza Woods and the North Woods into a Unified Woods.
The North Woods (now managed by the Piedmont Park Conservancy) and the Storza Woods (now managed by the Atlanta Botanical Garden) should be combined into a single, unified woodland, freely open and accessible to the public. The existing chain link fence now dividing them should be removed, and the combined area should be co-managed by those two organizations, with joint planning, development, maintenance, security, and the like.
(Click on the map for a larger image.)
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Click Here to download the Advisory Committee letter.
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