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Master Plan

Appendix F: Alternate Concepts for Master Plan

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During the Master Plan process several different layouts for Grant Park were considered. Most of the discussions centered around three main topics: the pedestrian circulation system, the vehicular circulation system and the recreation facilities. Consensus on several issues were: (1) No vehicular traffic should be allowed in the park (with the exception of the Zoo area and the two large existing parking lots); (2) Restore the Fort Walker area, the Ormond Avenue overlook and the stone gateways; (3) Use the existing roads through the park as a pedestrian-only (bikes included) circuit system through the entire park; and (4) Restore a natural landscape.

Descriptions of various alternate plans follow, with reasons why they were considered and why they are not included in the recommended plan. The proposed circulation routes are shown over the existing base map of Grant Park.

Alternate Concepts for Pedestrian Circulation

Alternate Plan One:
The primary pedestrian path is similar to the Master Plan in this concept except for the Cherokee Avenue parking area. This plan allows buses to access the Cherokee Avenue parking lot by way of the Georgia Avenue entrance. Buses would use this to access a drop-off at the plaza entrance. Although this design would not require the construction of a new road as the master plan does, it does allow vehicular intrusion into one of the most scenic and historic areas of the park, and it also creates a pedestrian/vehicular conflict at Georgia Avenue. (A pedestrian underpass would be required to separate these two circulation systems.)

The secondary pedestian paths follow a similar route to the master plan, yet particular segments are proposed as a natural mulch path. This is ideal for maintaining a natural character in the wooded zones and along the stream zones, but maintenance would be essential to keep these paths in good condition. Until Grant Park is equipped with an adequate maintenance program, natural pathways are not recommended.

Alternate Plan Two:
As much as possible this plan attempts to restore the Olmsted Brothers firm’s circulation system, keeping the same curves and only detouring to avoid buildings and parking lots. This plan replaces most of Olmsted’s carriage routes as primary pedestrian paths and his pedestrian paths as nature trails. These nature trails (secondary paths) are mostly through the wooded zones and are defined by proposed shrubs and groundcovers. This plan creates the most comprehensive circulation system for the pedestrian.

The primary path makes a more direct connection from the Cyclorama to Fort Walker, and an off-road primary path continues along Atlanta Avenue and back to the plaza area to complete the primary circuit route of the park. This is an ideal primary route, but would be expensive and require some reworking of the Zoo boundary. The upper level of parking in the Boulevard parking lot is designated as a primary pedestrian path. Grass pavers with trees lining the area would allow this path to continue through the parking lot, yet allow car parking during peak visiting times.

The numerous secondary paths create a good path network off of the primary path, but without a regular maintenance program the secondary paths would become overgrown by vegetation. These paths should not be constructed with a hard surface because they would become too visible and a distraction in the landscape.

Alternate Plan Three:
This concept is the only version which retains the recreational facilities. The parking lots adjacent to these facilities are removed because of the associated loud music and disruptive behavior. Vehicular drop-off areas are provided along Park Avenue for the pool area and the recreation center. This plan acknowledges the importance of recreational facilities in a neighborhood. It is preferred, however, to reconstruct these facilities outside the park for two reasons: they are in need of major renovation, and Grant Park is one of very few large natural spaces in the city of Atlanta. Until the new facilities are constructed, this plan illustrates how the facilities can remain without the associated parking lots, which are such a nuisance to the park users.

The central playground is relocated to the pool area so that it will be sited an already active area instead of the scenic area viewed from the gazebo. The playground at Fort Walker should be relocated (1) near the Boulevard parking lot or (2) the corner of Sydney Street and Cherokee Avenue. Two locations were recommended by various neighborhood parents for their accessibility. At the first location, the scenic quality of the winding road approaching Fort Walker would be greatly compromised by a play structure. The close proximity to the parking lot would attract the same problems observed at the central play structure/parking area (loud music and drinking). The second location is one of the most undisturbed and scenic areas in the park, and a play structure would be intrusive.

This plan also shows the primary pedestrian path as a continuous route along Atlanta Avenue connecting back to the plaza. The primary path through the Boulevard parking lot uses grass pavers to keep this area as a landscape zone. The pavers would allow for overflow car parking on special occasions. The secondary paths are few and use existing sidewalks.

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