My reconnecting communities series continues in Southwest Atlanta with Langford Pkwy.
Catch up with the other reconnecting community plans I’ve examined to date:
MARTA recently published plans to revitalize the Campbellton Road corridor in Southwest Atlanta. While plans initially called for Light Rail / Streetcar, BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) is now the preferred alternative. MARTA and the City of Atlanta should shift focus from just Campbellton Road to Langford Pkwy. Langford Pkwy is a six mile stretch of highway that was meant to be part of I-420 in the 1960s. The original alignment was proposed to stretch from Douglasville to East Atlanta.
Only the stretch tearing apart the the Black neighborhoods of Southwest Atlanta ended up being built.
It’s time to reimagine the corridor as the multimodal, economic, and cultural hub it should be. We should remove Langford Pkwy and replace it with an urban Boulevard with BRT / Streetcar service that can serve as hub that SW Atlanta can thrive.
The Transit service would fill a vital void in MARTA’s current service and serve as the backbone of the plan. For more on MARTA the way I’d do it, check out my full plan I published a few months back.
The alignment would essentially be an extension of the Summerhill BRT corridor stretching South from the proposed terminus down to Lakewood Heights. From there, the line follows the transformed Langford Pkwy to where stations at each cross street would serve as new neighborhood hubs. The later phase would stretch down I-285 to Camp Creek Marketplace which is another hub of commerce that is severely transit starved. A direct transfer point to MARTA’s Red / Gold line would be offered at Lakewood / Fort McPherson.
Greenbriar Focus Area
Perhaps the most important focus area would center around Greenbriar. Greenbriar Mall was once the economic hub of Southwest Atlanta. But like most malls, has fallen on hard times. There are currently no anchors, and the building sits on a sea of parking. Any redevelopment of the site should focus carefully on affordable housing and restoration of the Black economic hub it once was. Land can be reclaimed by removing Langford Pkwy, reconfiguring the interchange with I-285, and removing the interchange at Greenbriar Pkwy.
Reclaimed land from the footprint of the highway and ramps would amount to over 50 acres of land available for housing, greenspace and commercial. This is maximized by using the existing alignment of Cambellton Road East of I-285. Other themes of the plan would be restoring the grid structure where the mall and parking lots now stand.
To minimize the feeling of an interstate interchange, and a park over I-285 should be constructed similar to the 5th Street Bridge in Midtown.
The area would be served by three transit stations for optimal movement about the neighborhood.
Delowe / Stanton
The Delowe / Stanton focus area would utilize the Delowe Stanton Connector as the principal alignment. This would free all the land of the highway footprint plus ramps as buildable land for dense neighborhood housing and services.
The eastern station – Fort McPherson would serve as a gateway to the eventual redeveloped area.
Lakewood / Metropolitan
The Lakewood / Metropolitan focus area connects the corridor directly to MARTA.
Additional land would be freed up by reconfiguring the interchange with I-75 / 85 and utilizing some of the original grid. Doing so would give over 50 acres back to this community. High density uses should be concentrated even more in this focus area due to the direct Downtown connections and the Airport.
- The Cambellton Road BRT plan is pretty far along
- Despite being a very low volume highway, removals are still very polarizing
- Making sure any redevelopment is done with equity and the community at top of mind
- Restored grid system creating new connections, neighborhoods, and relationships
- Over 150 acres of reclaimed land given back to the community
- A healthier environment
- Safer, quicker, more efficient multimodal access between Camp Creek, Greenbriar, and Downtown
- Spaces the community can be proud of and not just pass through
- Increased density close to the core of Atlanta leading toward a more affordable and sustainable city.
The residents in and around Southwest Atlanta deserve a vibrant, dense multimodal corridor where families can thrive – not an underused highway connector.
Opinions and insights are my own and are not representative of my employer or any organization. Any ideas displayed on this site are purely that – just ideas to help improve the future of the built environment and begin discussions.