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Posts Tagged ‘#throwbackthursday’

250-E-Ponce_DecaturFederal-500

Decatur Federal Savings & Loans was established in 1926 and opened its offices in the 250 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue building (pictured above)┬áin 1962 . The parking garage still exists today, but it is hidden by the┬áRenaissance condominium. Today, the Renaissance building’s storefronts line the street to make for a much more pleasant pedestrian experience.

To see what the 250 E. Ponce building looked like when it was first built in the 1960s, check out Next Stop’s post on the bank here.

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tbtMARTA_500

Decatur is one of the few MARTA stations located underground on the east line and it’s pretty great. Instead of running along the train tracks as an elevated line, the MARTA tunnel diverges north just after the East Lake station so that the Decatur station is smack dab in the middle of the Decatur square – underground. This photo is from 1976. Pedestrians had to walk over bridges to get from one side of the square to the other during the lengthy construction process. There’s something kind of terrifying seeing downtown Decatur split down the middle by a giant trench, especially for those of us who have only known it as the Decatur Square – with grass, a fog fountain, and plenty of open space. Most people who come to our festivals on the square have no idea they’re standing just 18 inches above the ceiling of the MARTA station!

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decatur-looking-nw-B4-500

Didn’t believe me in last week’s #TBT post when I said Downtown Decatur was mostly parking lots and car dealerships? Well, here’s proof. Cars, cars, and more cars. If you haven’t already guessed, you’re looking the intersection of West Ponce de Leon Avenue and Commerce Drive pre The Artisan, SunTrust/Chipotle, and CVS.

There’s a misconception that these parking spaces were eliminated when the land was developed. That’s not the case at all. Mixed use developments still contain the same amount of public parking spaces that they replaced, but they’re wrapped by a building and in a parking garage. This makes for a better looking downtown and a much better experience for pedestrians.

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e-ponce-looking-west-B4_500

Can you guess where this is? (Psst: there’s a pretty big hint in the post title)

It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, downtown Decatur was mostly surface parking lots and car dealerships.

So how did Decatur change from a car-focused town center to a walkable, pedestrian-friendly city? Great community planning and vision. If you weren’t around for the last community visioning process, now’s your chance. Check out DecaturNext.com and take part in the 2016 Comprehensive Plan.

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