NORCROSS - There is hope for Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Development experts with the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District unveiled a first draft of a five-year plan for upgrades to Jimmy Carter Boulevard and the surrounding area. The draft, designed by PBS&J of Atlanta, is the first segment of proposed long-range planning that should reach into 2026.
The initial five-year plan shows aging, traffic-clogged Jimmy Carter Boulevard and its feeder roads transformed into pedestrian- and biker-friendly areas with attractive tree-lined sidewalks. Some of those proposed sidewalks follow existing footpaths developed by determined pedestrians.
Workers are currently replacing traffic signals on Jimmy Carter Boulevard from the DeKalb County line to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. That project should be completed by June.
The first landscape design projects should begin in January. Those target spots include Singleton Road from Jimmy Carter Boulevard to Thompson Road, Jimmy Carter Boulevard from Ga. Highway 23 to Singleton Road, and Oakbrook
Upcoming projects include the installation of a U-turn signal at North Norcross-Tucker Road and a truck-only lane on Brook Hollow Parkway and intersection improvements at Haynes Drive, Live Oak Parkway and Ga. 23.
Plans call for filling in sidewalk gaps along Live Oak Parkway, Thompson Road, North Norcross-Tucker Road and on Jimmy Carter Boulevard from Best Friend Road to Ga. 23.
No cost estimates have been applied to the five-year plan so far because it is still in the public-approval stage. The plan should be completed Dec. 31. Officials will then submit it to the Atlanta Regional Commission for approval. Once adopted by the ARC, Gwinnett Village CID can apply for state and federal funds like the Livable Centers Initiative, CID and Georgia DOT grants.
Long-range plans show a series of proposed parallel circulator routes crossing over Interstate 85, one near Crescent Drive and one from Oakbrook Parkway to Brook Hollow Parkway. Those overpasses will give cars and delivery trucks alternate ways around the area without using Jimmy Carter Boulevard. A right-turn lane onto North Norcross-Tucker Road will help loosen up traffic snarl. A frontage road in front of Pappadeux's restaurant, Drury Inn and Global Mall should make access into those establishments easier, even though the three businesses would have to give up part of their parking lots.
Gwinnett Village CID formed in June. It was born from the 2002 request by Gwinnett's Board of Directors for a revitalization committee to upgrade the county's southwest side. The district targets the area surrounding Ga. 23, Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Indian Trail, Beaver Ruin and Singleton Roads which holds Gwinnett's oldest subdivisions and shopping centers. It is the third CID in Gwinnett and the largest and fastest-forming in Georgia.
In the ARC's traffic profiles for Gwinnett County published Oct. 20, intersections in the Gwinnett Village CID were listed 16 times for incidents like fatal, injury and pedestrian crashes. Buford Highway at Jimmy Carter was named Gwinnett's top high crash intersection. The complete list can be found online at www.gwinnettvillage.com.
The county paid $130,000 for the first corridor study. The CID is a self-taxing group that has secured more than $600,000 worth of corridor studies with a CID contribution of $5,000.
Officials will unveil a master plan for security Nov. 9 at Greater Atlanta Christian School. It will outline strategies to decrease crime and change the perception about the area.
"It's not the kind of crime people think it is, although there are pockets of crime," said executive director Chuck Warbington, who said he views Norcross's future as akin to that of Atlantic Station. "There is no reason for this area not to be a success."