New downtown Brookhaven should prioritize walking, connectivity and outdoor spaces, according to a presentation at a meeting of the Brookhaven Planning Commission on Wednesday.
During a working session on January 5, the Planning Commission heard a presentation from Bob Hughes, who works with the architectural firm HGOR. According to Hughes, the downtown will be less a condensed downtown area than a linear group of public spaces and developments linked by a network of trails.
Hughes said the idea for a larger downtown project came from the geography of Brookhaven.
“It’s a very unique situation,” said Hughes. “You have almost three rivers flowing alongside each other simultaneously. You’ve got railroad tracks, you’ve got MARTA tracks, and you’ve got a big, wide Peachtree Road. These three elements together really divide the city from side to side.
There were no formal plans for the location of specific items, such as a town hall, but the presentation included several renderings of the general setting for the area. Hughes said he believed a good location for a town hall might be close to where Brookhaven Park is now, but there were several areas that might work.
Hughes described the theoretical downtown not as a cluster of multi-story buildings, but rather as a cluster of connected public spaces. According to Hughes, during the year-long public contribution process for the project, residents consistently requested connection across town, green spaces, etc.
“What we’ve heard from the community is very consistent,” said Hughes. “They talk about… pedestrians and bicycles, the ability to walk, connectivity, something that is shared and inclusive by all citizens.”
The presentation offered ideas on how to make the outskirts of Peachtree Road more passable, such as creating a “Beltline” type multi-use path on one side to create connectivity throughout the city. Hughes also touched on the idea of adding bicycle and pedestrian lanes on Peachtree Road to shorten journeys across town.
“If we can get our local traffic to walk, cycle, do things where they don’t have to use an automobile, then we can actually get some of the traffic off the road,” Hughes said.
Residents can watch the entire presentation on the Facebook page. Brookhaven City Council will hear the final recommendations from the downtown team in a virtual meeting on January 26, according to a press release. The link will be available on This site closer to the date of the meeting.