One of the worst stretches of DeKalb Avenue is in front of Fox Bros. BBQ. (Courtesy Google)

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved legislation at its Monday meeting to spend $5.4 million on long-awaited improvements to DeKalb Avenue and Decatur Street.

The council earmarked $5.4 million to increase safety along the busy corridor from Jackson Street to Ridgecrest Road, including removal of the reversible lane, the addition of a dedicated left turn lane, bike lanes along certain sections of the thoroughfare, and road resurfacing and sidewalk repairs.

Decatur/DeKalb is notorious for its potholes and frequent accidents due to the reversible lane. Residents who live in communities along the road as well as commuters have been begging the city for repairs and upgrades for years.

“The improvements coming to DeKalb Avenue are important to our administration’s plan for safer streets,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement after the council vote. “Making the road inclusive for drivers, bike riders and pedestrians will give all residents more secure ways to get around and ultimately make our City safer.”

The Atlanta Department of Transportation will oversee the construction. The safety improvement project is expected to begin later this summer.

In other action, the city council  also adopted legislation in anticipation of  funds being awarded to city from the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal relief package approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March.  The plan is one of the largest economic rescue packages in the nation’s history, which included providing $1.9 trillion in relief for state and local governments and hard-hit industries and communities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other items approved Monday include:

• An ordinance to transfer $1 million from the city’s Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund to the Capital Finance Fund to fund street light installation and improvements to increase the city’s streetlight footprint with a focus on areas with high rates of traffic crashes and crime.

• An ordinance authorizing an encroachment agreement with the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame to grant the right to install the Walk of Fame in the public right-of-way along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

• An ordinance ratifying the mayor’s executive order to allow permitted outdoor gatherings of up to 19,999 people if the gatherings occur in compliance with the COVID-19 mitigation requirements set forth in the COVID-19 Special Events Permit Overlay.

• An ordinance to amend the City’s Code of Ordinances to repeal a provision that places a limit on the total number of bus shelters in the right-of-way.

• An ordinance ratifying the mayor’s executive order for the chief financial officer to allocate up to $3.5 million to contribute to funding efforts of the nonprofit and philanthropic communities to provide individual shelter options with supportive services for people experiencing homelessness and allocate up to $500,000 for the City’s Vaccine Equity Campaign to provide increased vaccination awareness and access.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.