Give Your Input on the Memorial Drive Greenway Visioning Plan!

YOUR input is needed on two draft concept plans for a linear park between Oakland Cemetery and the State Capitol building.

Memorial Drive Greenway has been waiting in the wings for many years now, with special zoning ordinances and master plans dating back to the early 2000’s. Since that time, the city has been able to acquire some of the land for the park, but not all of it. Now, with hundreds of new housing units being built along Memorial Drive, the need for a shared greenspace in this part of town is more important than ever!

The Friends of Memorial Drive Greenway have asked Park Pride to conduct a Park Visioning process with the community to revisit current community-based needs and desires for this space. After two public meetings to set goals and general preferences, two draft concept plans were presented to the public on January 31st. We are now working toward a final vision plan to be presented on February 28th.

What do you think the park should look like in the future? We want your feedback!

 

Memorial Drive Greenway Options
Click on the image to enlarge a PDF.

Option 1

Option 1 is an aspirational plan. This plan:

  • envisions an unbroken and continuous greenspace with lots of trees, paths, shade structures, flexible seating, and space for food trucks and festival events.
  • presumes that current uses would remain in place until the owners decide to sell or relocate.
  • presumes that a planned affordable housing development could be relocated to a nearby location through a land swap agreement with the city or the state.
  • includes curved paths, creating swaths of flexible green space for unstructured play throughout the park, and a pedestrian bridge spans the Connector to provide a visual and physical connection to the Capitol building.

Option 2

Option 2 is an exploration of a potential future in which the park coexists with buildings that have a variety of uses. This plan:

  • incorporates some flexibility in the event that some properties are not available for acquisition to become part of the park.
  • acknowledges the current plan for a large affordable housing development in the area closest to the Capitol, but makes the suggestion of moving some of it onto a Cap over the Connector to allow for more park space to be built.
  • creates a variety of experiences within the park, including a Visitor Center for Historic Oakland Cemetery, restaurants, cafes, a day chapel, fountains, and paths.

Also, like the Friends of Memorial Drive Greenway Facebook page for updates on the project!

65 thoughts on “Give Your Input on the Memorial Drive Greenway Visioning Plan!

  1. I would love to see the connector capped like it is in option 2 and love the idea of a visitors center for Oakland Cemetery. But I think it would be ideal to have clear sightlines between Oakland Cemetery and the Capitol to make this a high impact space.

    1. Agree 100%.. the multi-family housing section between Martin and Connely in Option 2 should be swapped for the park space shown in that area in Option 1. And i would adjust the housing elements on the left side in Option 2 to ( if possible ) eliminate the shared drives that cross paths with the park space, and would try to open up the north side by eliminating the top left housing element

      1. I agree with elements of these comments – Ideally I would like to see Option 1, but capped with more green space over the highway – or a small botanical garden (like the rose garden in Tulsa, OK)? and/or maybe a small amphitheater in that area – unless that’s what’s depicted in the “event space” towards the east.

  2. Exciting designs! Of the two options, Option 2 looks more appealing due to the wider approach toward the Capital. I’d rather see have the view toward the Capital as wide as possible with a “great lawn” contiguous to it. In addition to these designs, I think the side walk on the street sides should be much more wide than standard city side ways.
    I’d like to suggest possible consideration of the sidewalks being designed as a grand “promenade” to encourage foot traffic, street vendors, and possible night market and day farmers market carts along the promenade. More consistent foot traffic along this route will make the entire area more attractive and safer.

  3. I know Option 1 is the “aspirational” plan, which makes sense, considering you’re Park Plan and obviously prefer more park space, but I much prefer Option 2. It fully caps The Connector while providing more residential units which help activates the that portion of town by bringing in more roof tops and putting eyes on the street. On and all, that would create a more vibrant city, coupled the the adequate park space provided.

  4. Affordable housing is essential, as more and more of our neighbors get priced out of their own neighborhoods. the NIMBY-ism of ‘relocating affordable housing away from our parks’ is troubling.

  5. I like the fully capped connector in Option 2. I do think that #2 has too much housing which will for all intents and purposes turn the area into a park which caters to the direct residents rather than the public as a whole.

  6. I like the idea of a park. I do not like the idea of all that housing in the middle of the park. I like some of the additional attributes of Option Two, for example Visitor Center for Historic Oakland Cemetery, restaurants, cafes, a day chapel, fountains, but again really dislike all the housing included in Option Two. A hybrid of the two perhaps?

  7. Love the idea of capping the highway, but don’t love that there would be buildings on it. A nice unobstructed greenspace would be fantastic. Also, I’d love to see what could be done to protect Daddy’s D’z in the current location.

    1. I don’t want to see more cheap apartments built on this dirt just like what was just removed 10 years ago- Capitol Homes….
      I rater see nothing than junk structures to move the dirt…..

  8. I would normally lean towards as much green space as possible in our park starved city, but for this community Option 2 looks like a better fit. Affordable housing and more units with proximity to two MARTA stations and a cap for the connector, as well as the broader palette of uses, would bolster this area quite a bit. With Oakland Cemetery right next door and Grant Park half a mile away, Option 2 can allow more people to enjoy the good things that are already nearby while creating some good things in a currently tough area.

  9. It looks like we’re trying to pack a lot of stuff into a relatively small space. From Connally Street SE to Oakland Ave SE the width of those plots are not that great… and with the amount of roads that bisect this land we are really looking at a chain of 6 pocket parks from Connally to Oakland.

    From Connally to the Connector we have two larger spaces with room to do something grand. But keep in mind that traffic on Martin and MLK increases a lot during rush hour to feed the Connector on-ramp.

    The current plans look like we’re trying to force/squeeze in a lot of amenities into a small, fractured space which is surrounded by big roads on all sides. Is this really a place people are going to want to lounge in the shade or play on a playground? Also there is a nice playground across the street, behind the International School, in Rawson-Washington Park. And Oakland cemetery is already a nice place for talking a stroll… and it’s peaceful and quiet… protected from roads.

    This park should be about wide open space… for gatherings, festivals, concerts, rallies, city-wide celebrations. The closer we get to the capitol building the more open and grand it should be… like the National Mall in DC, or the Champ de Mars in Paris… which leads up to the Eiffel Tower.

    In front will be our grand capitol building and to the left will be the new Georgie Supreme Court building. Let’s maybe add a new grand feature or statue like The Angle of Independence in Mexico City. Think how amazing it would be to watch the sun set behind the capitol dome from the steps of something like the Angel of Independence! A place like this would immediately become iconic and would be a huge pride point for the people of Atlanta.

    Let’s use the park to frame and highlight our grand assets and make this area a real statement for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

  10. We need a dog park. Please Grant Park has a need for a place where our furry friends are welcome. Please outline a space for an off leash dog park.

    1. Also, who wants housing in the middle of a public park. What a terrible idea. I know we need more low cost housing, but why in the middle of a park? Lets not throw everything at this initiative, get the park. Besides the “low cost” housing will be regulated for a few years, then go private and become high priced again. Just don’t put more houses here.

  11. Love the highway cap, but WAY too much housing. I agree with a previous comment that the park would cater to the residents versus visitors. Create active use with attractions instead of housing where most visitors wouldn’t feel welcome…. unless there is retail on the ground floor. Otherwise you feel like you’re walking through an apartment complex, and how fun is that?

  12. Option 1

    Option 2 has way too much housing on the park for it to fully operate as a park for the whole of the area. BUT most importantly the states new court complex has shown the street in front of the capital being moved to the opposite side of the new Plaza Park in front of the building and the new road extension from the freeway running on the edge of the freeway. Given that the freeway was built to be capped already there it should cost the least of all of the capping ideas on the city I think that this will also be more aesthetic lyrics pleasing to the community.
    I also like the water features that if you remember will be a welcome feature in our sweltering summer heat…….

  13. First and foremost: please don’t allow crappy stick-built affordable housing 1 block from the capitol! If buildings are built here they should be civic (museums, etc.) or high-quality commercial with ground floor retail. Therefore #1 is preferable, but it would be nice to cap more of the connector in this scenario. I’d also encourage this area to be thought of as Atlanta’s public square/forum and an area that could be Atlanta’s public “face”. Centennial currently kinda/sorta serves this function, but fails for a couple reasons: (1) there’s no public (ie governmental) buildings in the area, (2) there’s no axis or focal point, (3) there’s no stage or raised area so even mid-sized events usually have to wheel in a chintzy mobile stage. Most importantly, this area should set up with a strong axis to the capitol building and should emphasize hardscape over landscape given that it will serve as a gathering square as much or more than a park. As the capitol of the South we should look to other good examples of civic spaces: the Washington Mall, Louvre/Champs-Elysses, Cham-de-Mars/Eiffel Tower, Forbidden City (Beijing).

  14. While I am all for affordable housing, I aesthetically like option #1 more. The open and uninterrupted green space would benefit everyone! I like that option #1 has a playground and unstructured green space.
    I like that the charter school across the street can use the outdoor classroom. And I like that it notes AHA housing across the street as well.
    I do like the extension of Oakland and the chapel in option #2.

  15. I prefer a hybrid – Option 1 with more green space and a LOT LESS housing than is included in Option 2 . Affordable housing is a major concern in the city and should be considered as part of the overall plan but option 2 sacrifices the continuous linear nature of the plan, especially where housing cuts the park across from Corey at Martin St. and the GSU Athletics complex. I like the FULL cover over the connector at Liberty Plaza in option 2. With the cover in place and the wider expanse of park along the connector, I think housing would be acceptable at that point but consideration should be given to maintaining a meaningful park width at this point and less or no units of housing as you go east on MLK to maintain the continuous park. I like the “nodes” of activity and structures along the length of the park. Again, to maximize the park, I prefer Oakland Cemetery’s gathering area not be in the park. Getting back to affordable housing, emphasis should be placed on pressuring developers to include affordable housing in plans for new housing going in along MLK, Memorial Dr., and at the King MARTA station parking lots. I certainly hope all property owners in the path of the park agree to sell. Daddy’s has been there a while but I much prefer the park or at least a smaller version of the Daddy that allows it to be more integral to the overall park design. A final consideration is to think about how many more people will be living along that corridor after all the multistory housing is built on the property that we know will be zoned for housing (Conklin Metals for example and at the King station). This should weigh on how much of the potential park land is dedicated to other purposes.

  16. Option 2!! Affordable housing is super important to keep, without assuming it can just be moved to another part of town. All the different uses within the park are nice too, like the fountains, visitor center, cafes etc. It allows space for a lot of people to move to an area that is sorely lacking residential units, while providing a great park area for residents, tourists and people that work in the area . It’s the best of both worlds! Thumbs up to capping the connector

  17. Under no circumstance would I want to see new buildings constructed along the greenway corridor, especially not multi-story housing developments. I’m not against leaving current buildings and businesses in place, though, and if anything would very much like to see thier healthy incorporation into a final parkspace. Daddy D’z, to point to the obvious example, is of course an institution, and would only augment any public space around it… healthy public spaces are complex spaces, after all, and I’m inclined to push for a conservation of our current cityscape rather than a whitewashing of it. This being said without knowledge of the owners’ intentions, but from a visioning perspective I think it bears saying. There is simply no justification for marring new green space with new mass and new obstructions, though, even if that were to ‘justify’ the cap – I’d much rather see no cap than a cap with multistory housing on it.

  18. What I’d really love is option 1, with the freeway fully capped and park space on top of it. But I’m guessing option 2 has development on it for a reason; that’s how you’d pay for it. Assuming that’s the case, I like option 2.

  19. I like option 1 the most. Maybe incorporate some of the connecter capping of option 2 to add some affordable housing but just not as much as the current option 2.

  20. I would prefer option 1 with the following modifications: keep the easternmost block from option 2, and cap the connector as much as possible. The development plan for Harp transmission seems like a good one, and the connector capping will do a lot for keeping dirt and noise out of the park.

  21. I prefer Option 2 so we can get this ball rolling ASAP.
    The addition of mixed use areas, like restaurants, will draw more people to use the green space. However, I feel the area around the connector cap is too dense with housing. Affordable housing is essential but perhaps not all of it needs to be located in the greenway obstructing the view to the Capital.

  22. I like the ideas of #1 & 2. I would like to see the park remain as open as possible and maintain the sight line to the capitol from the cemetery, with the focus on multi-family housing on the perimeter of the park, creating a great space for the use of those occupants and visitors alike. I think the park would be made all the more tranquil and have greater impact if green space was what capped the connector, rather than buildings.

  23. OPTION #1!!! St. Louis made the mistake of allowing a building in a sight line near its old customs house – totally ruins the look and feel. We can build housing anywhere, especially the cheap 5 story sticks being built these days. But this is the only “active” state capitol in Georgia and it’s a beautiful building. Oakland cemetery is a gem. There is little to no green space in the area. Think long-term. Think successful city. THINK OPTION 1

  24. We have been promised a park, not housing Complexes! We need more water features, a dog park, additional recreation space, not just grass. More flowers. No housing. Let Capitol Gateway use the rest of their empty land for that! OPTION ONE, WITH ADJUSTMENTS.

  25. Option 1 is what most represents the neighborhood input from the visioning meetings I attended. This is a park, green space. Where did the housing come from?

  26. Option 2: I think having the Connector capped would make it quieter and more inviting for pedestrians to occupy the greenspace, plus fewer auto emissions. I also think it would increase the usability of the lawn area.

    Also, as we begin to see more affordability issues in Atlanta I think building housing in a location so close to the core of the city to be a priority.

  27. Great work, a few off the cuff thoughts:

    1. Capping the interstate along Memorial Drive seems a desirable move. Without seeing cost estimates though, I wonder if AHA has the financial capacity (and if it would be an appropriate use of its money) to undertake such a task. I like the idea of apartments west of Martin, but would like to know why you wouldn’t attempt to sell the rights to a market rate developer and use the proceeds to fund the rest of the project.

    2. Between Martin Street and Connally, the building in scheme 2 severs the linear park. For what reason? It seems that scheme 1, with its event lawn and play ground, is a far superior use of this block.

    3. Between Connally and Hill Street, I’m skeptical that the café scheme 2 would be able to survive. Otherwise both schemes make sense.

    4. Between Hill and Grant Street, the Fort street connection seems unnecessary. It isn’t doing much for the street grid if it ends at MLK. Preserving space for Daddy D’s (an Atlanta institution) is desirable, if they would like to continue to operate there. I do wonder how any restaurant in the park will be parked (or survive without parking within a block). The chapel is unnecessary. More open space would be desirable.

    5. Between Grant and Oakland Street, does Oakland Cemetery need a new visitor center? If so, this is a fine location. The George Street connection in scheme 2 makes little sense.

  28. I like option 1, but seriously…implement either and it will be a massive win for the area. Good work so far, now let’s make this happen.

  29. Option 1 – there are other places to build housing – that density belongs around the park, let the park be a feature of that corridor.

  30. Don’t build cheap, stick-built, public housing 1 block from the capitol! Also, create a strong axis with the state house so we can have a proper civic square and gathering place. As the capitol of the south, this could be our mini-sized Washington Mall.

  31. Plan 2 is visionary and preferred but I see no reason why there couldn’t be a hybrid. Definitely bridging the interstate is critical to help repair the damage of the original severance of the city by constructing the interstate in the 50’s-60’s. Affordable housing needs to be well-integrated but to encourage it allow 300 SF apartments in the zoning ordinance.

  32. Option 1!
    Who wants to live on top of a noisy polluted freeway. Capping it to support an apartment complex would be an expensive endeavor.

  33. Why can’t we cap the highway and just have added green space for a park. We don’t need more apartments and housing.

  34. Option 1 definitely seems like a true linear park, as Option 2 is merely housing with parking lots and more retail with some green space disguised as a park. Also, there are 3-5 multifamily AHA developments proposed for just South on Memorial (seen in the options above as well) and the surrounding area, so it would be great to have a true park with a playground, music/arts space, and more communal areas for all those families to enjoy as well as the general public. I also agree with Eric and Judy’s comments regarding sidewalks and ensuring the park promotes accessible walking options and increases foot traffic in the area. That will be a win/win for all businesses – will draw in tourists as well as locals.

  35. It may be too late to vote, but my gut on this tells me to go with more green space like Option 1. We are about to get 2500-3000 residential units in the next couple years on Memorial Dr. between Moreland and the Capital with the option for two large parcels along this proposed Greenway that are available for affordable/low income housing. I say lets keep the Greenway green!

  36. I think the most important thing is to get started and work from there…. anything is better than leaving it empty or having the city change its mind and put housing in there! I love the Cap and feel like the cap is also needed to restore Grant park to its original historic character — The governments decision to put 20 through there destroyed the character and unity of the neighborhood and this is the chance to reclaim it! Thank you for all your work on this.

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