Blueprint 3.0: Latest Updates Consider User Experience in District’s Growth

Midtown’s surge in new residents, employees, visitors, and students has created more opportunities to ask people for their ideas on what can move the District from a great place to an exceptional one.

Midtown Alliance has been working throughout 2015 on updates to its community-designed master plan, Blueprint Midtown, a living document that guides Midtown’s growth. That means adding new chapters to the plan, and resurfacing ideas from the original 1997 effort that encourage fresh thinking, not only for transportation accessibility and building design, but also fostering street-level activity and creating vibrant public spaces.

More than 1,500 Midtowners weighed in on the user experience they want

To help put a finer point on what’s possible, Midtown Alliance sought perspective from you, the “end user.” Earlier this year, we hosted a series of community events and an online survey to get feedback on priorities from those who work or live in the District about what they want to see in the next wave of growth. In all, more than 1,500 people participated. And through interactive exercises that let these end users try their hand at urban planning, the big picture came into focus. 

The priorities you shared with us

Major takeaways from these public input events in 2015 helped validate the desire to be immersed an authentic urban experience. Specifically, we heard:

  1. Support a mix of office, housing, retail, and hotels that make the area vibrant at all times of day
  2. Design buildings with visual character – and, keep parking decks out of sight
  3. Keep investing in safe, walkable, people-friendly paths and places that connect Midtown, especially well lit, tree-lined, wide sidewalks and streetscapes
  4. Continue to expand Midtown’s robust network of multi-modal transportation options by adding more bike lanes and more transit connectivity
  5. Concentrate shopping at street-level, with building entrances oriented to the sidewalk for immediate access 
  6. Make investments in more green space, plazas and pocket parks – including places for our four legged friends

Other big ideas you contributed

What the public input process helped us understand is that attention continues to shift toward the next layer of street-level activity. Midtowners want activities for public spaces, such as live performances, outdoor seating, pop-up markets, dog parks and visually stimulating public art that reinforces Midtown Atlanta’s identity as a central arts district. Some of the big ideas you suggested include:

  • Installing dynamic bridgescapes as gateways into Midtown
  • Constructing a bridge over the Downtown Connector that links the east and west sides of Midtown for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Creating an “art walk” that connects the Midtown and Arts Center MARTA stations
  • Building a park over the Downtown Connector
  • Adding new east-west high-capacity transit connections

Thank you for helping us design a better Midtown.

“Your ideas and priorities for the future will show up in lots of places, from our pursuit of public improvements and updated zoning codes, to new partnerships with private developers adding more greenspace, art and retail that bring Midtown’s streets to life,” said Shannon Powell, Midtown Alliance’s Chief Operating Officer.