Atlanta’s MLK Drive could go from joke to jewel

Chris Rock has famously joked that Martin Luther King Jr. stood for nonviolence, but “I don’t give a *** where you are in America, if you’re on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there’s some violence going down. It ain’t the safest place to be.”

Atlanta’s own MLK Drive will soon get a series of streetscape upgrades aimed at transforming the iconic corridor into a source of pride for the city. The Atlanta City Council this week passed legislation allowing the work to begin.

Medians, crosswalks, ramps for disabled persons and sidewalks will be constructed in the first phase of work, set to begin in the next 45 to 60 days. Later improvements to the seven-mile street will also include synchronized traffic lights, a multi-use trail with new landscaping, historic signage, street furniture, public art displays at major intersections, new street lighting and a pocket park in the median of the road.

The improvements will be funded by public works dollars.


Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed reacts to the discussion of urban transportation issues during the “Metro Mobility Revolution” panel at SXSW Interactive in Austin on March 14, 2016. (John Clark for Journal Constitution)

“Atlanta is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in a statement released on Wednesday. “The street bearing his name should represent his legacy and stand as a source of pride and excellence for all who travel on it. Today, the City of Atlanta is one step closer to making this corridor one of the most attractive streets in America.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation also plans to resurface the state route portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.



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