Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘Beltline Road’

6th and Beltline

Posted by alalto on July 31, 2011


I apologize for how long it’s taken me to post about this.  Either way, here’s my take on the new development at 6th and Beltline.

Below is an excerpt from the Decatur Development Map, which you should take a look at 😉

Pay attention to the numbers and colors, they’ll help you figure out what’s going on.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Red means “Expected; awaiting construction”
Blue means “Completed”
Purple means “Proposed”

1) Shopping center, supposedly anchored by Kohl’s (they haven’t released the anchor yet, but it’s generally believed to be Kohl’s). 80,000 to 110,000 sqft.

2) Olive Garden: Currently occupied by Lynn Layton Cadillac. Lynn Layton Cadillac will move across 6th Ave (US 31) (the large road that runs north south). After Cadillac moves across 6th Ave, three takes place.

3) Lynn Layton Nissan and Cadillac move in together. Nissan will be remodeled once Cadillac moves over.

4) Kroger intends to build a fuel center in front of its building. At this moment, we don’t know where on that property it will be built.

5) New tenants have been announced for the Crossings of Decatur (anchored by Target) as:
– Moe’s Southwest Grill
– Gigi’s Cupcakes
– Shoe Show
– The Children’s’ Place

6) Bender’s Gym: A 33,000 sqft, $3.5 Million facility.

There’s also another development that I neglected to label on the map. The orange box immediately to the right of #2 (Olive Garden) is a Verizon Store that is currently under construction.

7) This is some proposed development spot. They didn’t really say anything about anyone looking at, simply that it was “prime real estate.”

Here’s the deal.

Most of this I expect to happen.  The city will benefit through increased tax revenue, substantially.  However, traffic is going to get bad.  The city plans improvements to the Beltline/Veterans Dr intersection, and there will be a light placed in front of the Kohl’s shopping center.

Eventually something is gonna have to give, and I don’t think we can expect anything to happen until the widening of the Beltline on the SE end.  Even with that widening, you still have the problems on 6th Ave and AL 67 east of US 31.  What we consider moderate traffic during the day (non rush hour times), can/will quickly grow into heavy.  It seems quite short-sighted of the city to only consider slight intersection improvements.

What else can we expect?  Sales tax produce is going to increase.  I don’t mean from the stores that are planned for construction, I’m talking about all over town.  Folks in Lawrence, Morgan, and northern Cullman Counties will have less of a reason to drive to Huntsville now, since Decatur is closer and will be more able to satisfy their shopping needs.  So, look for more traffic ALL OVER town.

As for when all of this will be completed, there’s no telling.  If I had to guess, I’d say mid 2013 would be the latest.  But, we all know how things progress in this city…

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Driving Decatur to the Future – Keys to Success: Transportation

Posted by alalto on January 21, 2011


Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!

BTW, I’m trying something new.  I’ve included lots and lots of links to various pictures and pages that might help you to better understand these topics.  I hope you enjoy, and maybe laugh a little along the way.  Thanx!

Transportation

Transportation is absolutely ESSENTIAL to the vitality of our regions as we grow into the future.  As our population continues to grow, our industries continue to expand, and our tourism attributes continue to grow in popularity our infrastructure MUST be able to cope.  This is not one of those “I’d like to have it,” details, it’s a “MUST HAVE.”

Why Gorgonn Will Always Be Wrong About This

We all acknowledge the level of stupidity that Gorgonn possesses.  By the way, if you don’t know who “Gorgonn” is, please refer to the post I published on January 16th, 2011.  We constantly hear Gorgonn whining that transportation expansion only leads to pollution, traffic, and commutes.  I think we can all agree that in some ways, Gorgonn could be correct, after all someone had to come up with the tangled web of roads in suburban Atlanta

Anyways, if done incorrectly and not planned properly, YES, roads can lead to even more congestion, pollution, and longer commutes.  This is all something that people hate about an expanding city.  The good thing is, there are ways to accomplish the improvement of our infrastructure with out causing massive Gorgonnathon in the form of congestion.

There are certain things that need to be accomplished, and I am certain will do nothing but improve traffic.  Here’s my list:

  1. Designate US ALT 72/AL 20 controlled access on the Northside (the northern reaches of the city limits in Limestone County).
  2. Begin to examine the construction of overpasses on Beltline Road.
  3. Examine safety concerns along 6th Avenue.
  4. Adopt a “Complete Streets” initiative.
  5. Find ways to improve mass transit.

Each of these 5 points has the potential to improve traffic and reduce headaches.  Gorgonn will deny that any of these would work, I do not lie.

Designation of US ALT 72/AL 20 (Northside) as Controlled Access

This is something that the planning commission is currently considering.  I believe they will eventually adopt this and the long process of completely remaking the road network on the Northside will begin.

This is one of the more trans-formative initiatives.  With this, there is the potential for massive economic investment and population growth.   The fact that we haven’t yet seen some type of development on the Northside is something that still amazes me.  If Bass Pro eventually sets up shop over there, which they still seem intent on doing, I think you can count on a ridiculous amount of growth following it’s construction.

How does this help traffic?  I think we all know that.  Gorgonn would say that it doesn’t, but I seriously doubt that Gorgonn has sat through rush hour traffic on that route.  Declaring this route controlled access basically streamlines the process of getting to the bridges after work on weekdays.  Will it help you get through that darn traffic light once you cross the river?  No, but it will help you get there more quickly, which still means that you cut valuable time out of your commute.

Decatur Planning Commission has approved this plan, but the city council still has to approve it as an ordinance before it can have any effect.  I’m sure the council will approve it, not too worried.  But, this could take some time to implement.

Begin to examine the construction of overpasses on Beltline Road

I’m not talking about an all out Memorial Parkway-ing of the Beltline, no.  I’m speaking about adding overpasses and service roads (like the ones on Memorial Parkway) at certain points along the road where high traffic occurs.  So, basically one, two, maybe three intersections. 

Which intersections?  I say Danville Road, US ALT 72/AL 20, and Spring Avenue.  I leave out 6th Avenue because I think it would cost way too much due to all of the businesses and stuff that would have to be relocated to accomplish this.  Basically, it’d be a huge pain in the butt.  It’d be kinda like trying to build a massive world-class hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea… 

Examine Safety Concerns Along 6th Avenue

What do I mean by this?  Have you ever noticed that all too often the road itself it higher than the curb that is meant to contain it?  No the road didn’t decide it wanted to get bigger, nor did we just feed it too much and it got fat.  This has been caused by magnificent human ingenuity!

Anyways, what does this mean, this odd road level, relative to the curbs?  Well, it means basically that our sidewalks are functionally obsolete.  Why, we all know that Gorgonn is asking why does this matter?  Who needs sidewalks?  Well, in order to assure that our roads aren’t overrun with cars that are simply driving down the street to McDonalds or other small trips we need them.  Plus, has anyone noticed that the USA has an obesity problem?  Problem is, our city doesn’t facilitate pedestrian movement.

Really though, it all needs to be fixed.  This problem, as simple as it may be, causes problems ranging from sanitation, disease, drainage, safety, to functionality.

In addition, we need more crosswalks.  More crosswalks means more foot traffic for parks and businesses.  At the moment, it is truly dangerous to cross the road in Decatur.  There are only about 4 or 5 crosswalks with signals on 6th Avenue and that needs to change.

Adopt A “Complete Streets” Initiative

This is something that I doubt anyone who’s reading this has heard of.  You can see an adequate example of it along Modaus Road between the Beltline and Danville Road.

Complete Streets insures that all forms of traffic (at least those using feet and tires) are able to utilize a street.  This includes sidewalks, bike lanes, and the usual street features.  This isn’t something that is done in one sweeping project, but rather something that is phased in.  Each time a road is repaved, or maybe repainted, it is redone with Complete Streets in mind.  Usually a city will start out just phasing in the bike lanes and get to the sidewalks later since they’re so much more expensive.

This initiative reduces the need for cars and also increases that foot traffic that I was talking about earlier.

What about Gorgonn?!  Right now, Gorgonn is grumbling in his/her lair about how we don’t need sidewalks or bike lanes, because no one will use them!  The fact is that no one uses the ones we have because we don’t have any!  The ones we do have are inadequate and don’t connect to a larger network that allows them to be functional. A part of these kinds of problems is that people do not connect the dots.  It’s just like your internet, (think of your feet as a wifi receiver on your laptop and sidewalks as the internet), it doesn’t matter if you have a wifi receiver if there’s no internet to connect to.

Find Ways To Improve Mass Transit

This is a biggie.  Many people don’t like transit, and there are valid reasons, but I tend to believe that benefits outweigh costs.

Now, I’m typically someone who doesn’t agree with government providing freebies or running programs that in turn run deficits, but I’m a fan of mass transit.  Why?  Not only because Gorgonn detests mass transit but because it increases mobility, allowing people to get into town and spend money that they normally wouldn’t.  Also, it brings more people into downtown areas, increasing the likelihood that these redevelopments will succeed.  MT also encourages a city to be a regional center for commerce, bringing in people from surrounding areas.

An even more important part of mass transit is the regional aspect.  I’m not talking of Hartselle to Decatur, or Priceville to Decatur, but the larger region.  I’m speaking of connecting the larger regional centers of the Tennessee Valley.  I suggested the idea of creating inter-city bus routes between Decatur and Huntsville once to a city councilman and he simply couldn’t believe that I would support the idea of a program that would encourage Decatur citizens to leave the city and spend all of their cash in Huntsville.  Please…

Has anyone ever heard of the city of Fort Worth?  They face this same issue with Dallas…  yet… they have miles and miles of rail and bus routes connecting the two cities.  I think it’s safe to say that the leaders in Fort Worth are more worried about the relationship and interconnection that the two cities of Dallas and Fort Worth have than immature sales tax jealousy.  BTW, it wasn’t a city councilman that is currently in office.

What I’m trying to say is that citizens in Fort Worth are going to go to Dallas no matter what if Fort Worth doesn’t have what they want.  The same goes for Decatur and Huntsville…  Decatur citizens are going to head to Huntsville no matter what if Decatur doesn’t have what they need.  The question is, are we going to take advantage of this relationship and build on it?  Or are we going to continue pretending that the 20 miles that separate our downtowns might as well be the distance of the Pacific Ocean?

Just pretend for a second that Decatur is Los Angeles, and Huntsville is Tokyo...

Next Topic: Industrial Recruitment and Tourism

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Beltline back on track

Posted by alalto on June 13, 2009


Well, I didn’t know that it was off track, but anywho. Apparently, it’s on the track that no one know it was off of…?

OK, well, construction is expected to start soon, and should move pretty quickly since it’s only like a mile long.

Unforunately, Phase III beginning will probably be delayed because talk about the proposed tunnel under the beltline for Central Parkway is being brought up again. Of course, I like the idea, it reduces traffic confusion, but I don’t like the fact that it might delay the beginning of Phase III. Oh well, we’ll see.

In other news, the Huntsville area was rated as a region for quick recovery from the recession by Forbes. It was joined on the list by cities like Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Fayetteville, AR.

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I’m back!

Posted by alalto on May 6, 2009


ALSO!  I’ve created a forum on Forumer.com!   So, if y’all feel like it, I’m welcoming anyone who want to join to, well… JOIN!  Haha, anyways, here’s the link: LiveDecatur Forum

I know, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve updated this thing…  And, now that finals are almost over in Tuscaloosa, I hope to get this thing moving again 🙂  Fact is, development in the River City had been moving very slowly for the past few months, but, lately, I’ve been more inspired.   Haha.  Anyways, I hope to be a bit predictable as far as how often I update.

So, let’s go over some stuff that’s been happening.

ACADEMY SPORTS & OUTDOORS

So, the Academy location has started construction along The Beltline, I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’ve driven through SW lately.  This is yet another example of the strength of our local economy, compared to other cities across the U.S.

BELTLINE WIDENING

The first phase of the widening is finish, and the 2nd phase has begun, though, no visible construction has started.

ARTS CENTER

It was in the Daily yesterday that Calhoun and Athens State have finally come up with plans for an arts school in Downtown Decatur.  This is a very good partnership.  Athens and Decatur need to form better partnerships, because the ones that used to exist have been demolished by the political influence of Huntsville and Madison.  Anyways, I’m very skeptical about this project.  It’s certainly possible, it’s just that I’m expecting an entity to back out, citing the economic state of the country.  All in all, I hope this momentum keeps up.

For now, that’s all I have.  If I think of anything else, I’ll just make another update later.  Right now… time to study!

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Academy plat approved!

Posted by alalto on October 22, 2008


The Decatur Planning Commission approved the plat for the Academy Sports and Outdoors store adjacent to Home Depot along the Beltline. The city council still has to approve the utility vacations, but those are expected to pass easily.

A marketing director for Academy cited the strong/stable economy in Decatur as a big reason that the sports retail giant decided to expand into Decatur. This store will not only be one of the few in Alabama, but it will also be the first in the Huntsville-Decatur Area.

Also, the commission recomended that a large amount of acreage be annexed into the city of Decatur. This comes as a result of the city’s new sewage expansion fund that aids in the extension of sewer lines in order to annex more land into the city. The land being consider is located near Woodall Road along Alabama 20. McDonad’s was the first business to be attracted using the fund.

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A New Post!!

Posted by alalto on September 24, 2008


Wow, a new post!? I’m sorry, until today there really hasn’t been anything worth mentioning in the paper.

So, there’s some maintenance work on Alabama 67 all the way to Somerville goin on. I’m not sure if this is related to the approved widening of 67 all the way to the Somerville. Of course, the US 31 maintenance is still goin on. Beltline work is almost finished too.

The Decatur Planning Commission made it look like there was no economic downturn whatsoever in the area the other day. The commission approved plats of land for residential development.

* 26 condo units in Westmead

* Preliminary layout to construct 43 single-family residential lots at Country Living Estates, north of Vaughn Bridge Road and east of Byrd Vest Road, in the city’s planning jurisdiction.

* Preliminary layout to construct 36 single-family residential lots at the Cedar Grove subdivision, south of Newport Drive and west of Kensington Way Southwest.

* Final layout to construct 21 patio homes at the Crowne Point subdivision, south of Ben Poole Road and west of Jade Point Southeast.

So, all in all, I have a conservative estimate of about 323 new residents to the area with these units. That’s assuming that all current demographics remain constant.

In tourism news, the city collected $841,966 in lodging taxes. A 9% increase of the last fiscal year.

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Beltline, Job Growth, e Calhoun

Posted by alalto on September 10, 2008


Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a good past….few weeks, haha, sorry for my absence, AGAIN.

Anyways, there really hasn’t been any news as of lately, until today! Phase 1 of the Beltline expansion is nearly finished and should be completed within 3 to 4 weeks. Phase 2 (the stretch between Alabama 20/ALT US 72 and Gordon Terry Parkway/Alabama 24) is expected to begin sometime soon. Insurance stuff between the railroads and the state have delayed the project a bit. Officials say that funding is not a problem.

Job Growth continues for Decatur. In Alabama Decatur has the highest percentage of companies expecting to hire more people.

Calhoun Community College is also expecting a record enrollment of nearly 10,000 students. Calhoun is the largest 2 year college in the state. Overall it is one of the largest colleges period. The largest being the University of Alabama with over 25,000.

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Doing business in Decatur, and 6th Avenue renovations

Posted by alalto on July 29, 2008


I was reading the Insider in the Birmingham News today. The article put the spotlite on the Alabama metros that ranked in a list of cities to do business. In the entire state, Auburn-Opelika ranked 5th, Huntsville was ranked 32nd, Tuscaloosa was ranked 90th, and Decatur was 100th. You can look at the link for the full list.

Birmingham News: Insider

The owner of the small shopping center at the corner of 6th Avenue and 11th Street SE is spending $65,000 on renovating the property. If you’re not familiar with where this is, it’s the center that Mando’s used to call home. I miss Mando’s 😦 Anyway, YAY! finally. This place has been look awful for the longest time, so it’s about time this place got a facelift.

Daily Article

In other news, the Chili’s that is being constructed at the corner of the Beltline and Modaus Rd SW is nearly finished.

The city of Priceville is asking the people that own the Morgan County Fairgrounds (they plan to move the fairgrounds to an area in Priceville) to drop the plan to move there. Which I do not agree with. Priceville needs some more development.

And the town of Trinity is petitioning MCATS (Morgan County Area Transit Service) to provide the town service. That should have already been done, considering that MCATS already services Eva and Lacey’s Spring.

BTW, here’s the Daily article about the city council approving the Sweetwater contract.

Daily article

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