MILTON, Ga. — Milton is moving forward with steps to improve walkability and pedestrian safety in the growing downtown Crabapple area. The city entered a contract last week to begin initial stages of collecting input from residents and conducting traffic and speed studies before drafting a plan to place before the public and the Georgia DOT.
Upgrades are slated for Crabapple Road between Itaska Walk and Lecoma Trace. The thoroughfare is a state road, so GDOT must sign off on any improvements.
The downtown Crabapple Placemaking Plan was approved in 2017 and called for significant streetscape improvements. Projects identified under that plan will serve as the starting gate for future enhancements. Milton Transportation Engineer Sara Leaders said the placemaking plan had “high-level” concepts, and more fine-tuning is needed.
“Every project is different, and a site-specific concept is needed to move to the next step of construction documents and a GDOT permit,” Leaders said. “The goal is to develop a plan that can be built, meets the needs for the stakeholders and will be permitted by GDOT.”
Stakeholders in the area include several businesses along the downtown stretch of Crabapple Road.
Originally, Milton was set to design improvements in-house, but after meeting with developers in the area, the city changed course and opted to contract with planning firm Clark Patterson Lee.
“City transportation staff presented a phased approach to the Crabapple Road streetscape to get a pedestrian crossing and some parking submitted to GDOT,” Leaders said. “After input from that meeting, as well as city management, it was decided not to piece together improvements but to holistically address the area with a substantial stakeholder input for those businesses that front Crabapple Road.”
Leaders said Clark Patterson Lee has experience and success in working with the state’s transportation department on projects in commercial areas.
Clark Patterson Lee will facilitate the meetings with business owners in the area and all residents. The timing of those meetings is being hashed out, Leaders said, adding there could be “multiple rounds” of sessions before and after improvement plans are formed.
From there, the firm will conduct a speed study and analyze the need for pedestrian crossings at two locations. The city will then present up to three concepts and gather cost estimates for any designs before going to GDOT. Leaders said this project should be completed within six months. The full permit could be submitted to GDOT in the months that follow, she said.
The pedestrian improvements effort comes as several large developments have announced plans to open in the area in the coming years, including another phase of Crabapple Market.
The Placemaking Plan will serve as the foundation for improvements. The three-year old proposal calls for 21 parking spaces along the road, sidewalks and a bike lane. The roads would also be scaled down from 13.5-feet wide to 11-feet wide. A pedestrian crosswalk with a paved “refuge” between eastbound and westbound traffic is also proposed, along with a High-Intensity Activated crossWalk, or HAWK, signal similar to the one in downtown Alpharetta.
The city will also consider plantings along the road and streetlights.