This is the portion of Church Street that will be narrowed from four to two lanes with wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes on each side and elimination of the “sharrow” lane on the left. This is looking south from the cemetery entrance towards Commerce Drive. Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur beginning right-of-way acquisitions for long-planned project

Decatur’s commission recently approved commencing right-of-way acquisitions for the long planned Clairemont Ave.-Commerce Drive-Church Street pedestrian safety and bicycle lane improvements.

The city must secure 71 temporary construction easements on private and commercial property. Once construction finishes the land returns to the property owners.

The project, first planned in 2011, includes improvements at the Commerce/Clairemont and Commerce/Church intersections, particularly shortening the street crossings for pedestrians.

It also includes narrowing Church from four to two lanes of automobile traffic from Commerce north to the city limits just north of Forkner Drive. This stretch will also include wider sidewalks and two protected bike lanes, one on each side.

In 2009 Church was narrowed to two lanes from roughly the cemetery entrance to the city limits, with added on-street parking. In this new iteration some of that parking gets eliminated.

The right-of-way acquisitions are expected to take 12 to 15 months, with actual construction starting sometime next year and taking another 18 months. According to Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon the entire project should finish three years from now.

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