Streetscape project brings new sidewalks to city of Clarkston

(Source: WGCL)

In a DeKalb County city where 52 languages are spoken in the high school alone, diversity is found in every sense.

"Clarkston is a city where a lot of people walk. They walk for exercise but they also walk because they have to, because they do not own cars," says Clarkston City Manager Keith Baker.

During his time as city manager, Barker has noticed a lot while navigating through the city, starting with sidewalks that are more than 30-years-old.

"You'll find that there's a four foot sidewalk and along the route there are actually mailboxes and utility poles in the middle of the sidewalk."

He says those sidewalks pose safety risks.

"Children walking in the busy street, in other places around town you'll find residents in motorized wheelchairs actually in the street because a sidewalk was not adequate."

Even more, Barker points to a railroad track not far from his own office.

"People with children either in baby carriages or carrying them on their back in traditional way, since half of our population are former immigrants or refugees and there's no sidewalk there."

So now begins a project to transform East Ponce de Leon Avenue from I-285 down to Market Street and Norman Road, all to make this city more walkable.

Using Federal funds and six years of planning, a 1.7 mile in length streetscape project has started.

Six foot wide sidewalk, ADA accessible ramps, street benches and bus shelters are exactly what pedestrians need.

"People will be able to move around by foot and by bike a lot easier and a lot safer than what they have," says Barker.

The project has an 18-month time line.

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