Carlos F. Perez served as the Urban Designer for the Buckhead Community Improvement District (BCID) to identify pedestrian connectivity opportunities within a specific 45-acre block of Buckhead bounded by Georgia 400, Peachtree Road and the Lenox Road/Buckhead Loop, while working with AECOM. The study identified site-specific actions and opportunities with individual land owners and proposed concepts that could be tested and applied throughout the Buckhead CID in similar situations.
Similar to many blocks within the urban core of Buckhead, the analyzed block is still developing and is already home to over 14,000 residents and employees. It has a mix of uses within walking distance including office, residential, retail and hotels. It offers a legitimate transit option by being within only a 10-minute walk of the Buckhead MARTA Station. Yet its “super block” structure and lack of connectivity impedes these qualities, hampering access to transit and discouraging walking as a viable option for even small trips. The goal of the study was to create a long-term vision and identify specific short-term opportunities for adding and strengthening pedestrian circulation within this block and to surrounding destinations.
The study was a design problem that required retrofitting a complex environment involving multiple property owners, changes in topography, vehicular access and parking, existing and future development, and sometimes competing development interests. Uncovering the block’s opportunities required a layered process of field tours, site mapping, and stakeholder interviews that culminated in an “on-site” multi-day design workshop where initial ideas were developed and shared with stakeholders. Those ideas were further developed and refined.
The vision for the Connectivity Plan was organized into a series of five interdependent components, each with different implementation strategies and schedules:
• Enhancing Existing Connections
• Joint Use of Underutilized Spaces
• New Vertical Circulation
• New Open Space Opportunities
• Shaping Future Redevelopment
The project team developed an Implementation Project Matrix that identified a variety of projects as well as their stakeholders, specific implementation strategies, and schedules.