As part of a major streetscaping project in Midtown Atlanta, the TSW team was asked by the Midtown Alliance (www.midtownalliance.org) to improve the aesthetics and function of Juniper Street. The streetscape project begins on 14th Street and continues to North Avenue, and 12th Street is included from Juniper Street to Piedmont Avenue. Although Juniper Street is home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants and theatres, and is
part of the Midtown Business District, the street had sections that were in need of repair, and weren’t pedestrian or bicycle friendly.
The TSW team’s design keeps three lanes of one-way travel and incorporates a bike lane, as part of the City’s existing bike lane system to provide alternative commuting options. Off -peak parallel parking was realigned, and new trees and more spacious sidewalks will be added. Additional planters, benches, bike racks and trash receptacles will tie the street
together visually and make it much more appealing and safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
A key issue was stormwater run-off since the drains feed water into a combined sewer system that can easily be overwhelmed by a heavy rain. Because the stormwater ultimately outlets into the area’s main water source (the Chattahoochee River), TSW Principal
Adam Williamson proposed a bioswale system to help capture the runoff and allow
it to be treated naturally.
TSW has used these systems in other areas, but not in an urban streetscape project. The idea behind the bioswales is to capture the first flush of stormwater off the street and sidewalk and treat it by using soil, vegetation, and microbes in a sustainable method as it is absorbed into the soil. This process will reduce the amount of stormwater entering the
combined sewer and increase groundwater recharge.
In addition to its important water diversion and cleaning functions, the bioswales will beautify Juniper Street. Each bioswale will be created from local river rock with native plants and trees that adapt to wet soils. The team plans to build a pilot project in early 2012 for testing to determine the infiltration rate and amount of pollutants that can be removed. The entire streetscape project could be complete by 2013. If this solution is
determined to be successful, then Atlanta’s first “Green Street” could emerge on Juniper and 12th Street.