East Clayton Street Improvements Project

East Clayton Street Improvements Project

Streetscape Completed

After several years of construction, work on the East Clayton Street Improvements Project was completed in late 2022.

Items Updated or Installed

  • Widened sidewalks with fewer pedestrian conflicts
  • Brick pavers installed
  • Granite strips for sidewalk cafes
  • New traffic signals on fewer traffic poles
  • New pedestrian light poles
  • New landscape areas and fencing
  • New irrigation systems for landscaping
  • Curb and gutter changes
  • Overhead lights along the corridor
  • Larger pedestrian gathering areas at crosswalks
  • New benches and seating area
  • Rainbow crosswalks installed
  • Angles of street parking changed for safer backing out
  • Reduction of lanes from three to two for wider lanes and safer backing out
  • Repaved and restriped streets
  • More trees installed than what were removed due to age and safety issues
  • Improved storm drainage system and slopes of sidewalks and street to remove standing water and avoid flooded areas
  • Public art installed

Areas Improved

  • East Clayton Street from North Lumpkin Street to North Thomas Street
  • Wall Street from East Clayton Street to East Broad Street
  • North Jackson Street from East Washington Street to East Broad Street

Sidewalks, streets, and access to businesses were kept open as much as possible so that businesses could remain open during the construction.

Rainbow Crosswalk

In June 2020, the Mayor and Commission approved the installation of rainbow crosswalks in support of the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. The crosswalks were placed at the College Avenue / East Clayton Street intersection in October after East Clayton received its final repaving and striping. On October 11, 2022, a dedication ceremony was held to officially open the crosswalks.

Tree Replacements

Trees were planted in planters better designed for urban spaces with special structural soil. These trees include October Glory Red Maple, Avalyn Laurel Oak, Golden Globe Gingko, European Hornbeam, Chinese Ironwood, Collynair American Hornbeam, and Biloxi Crepe Myrtle.

More trees were replanted in the area than were removed.

Many of the former trees were not designed for an urban environment and were not suited for confined spaces. The planters that encased them and the soil used was not as well-designed for this kind of environment as are the currently-designed planters and soil.

New trees better suited to an urban environment have been planted in spaces that are better designed to handle their root systems. These new trees should last for decades, if not longer, without causing the problems of these older ones.

Public Art

The artist for the Clayton Street Improvements Public Art, Eric Leshinsky, is installing his public art project - called "Frequency" - on December 6-7 and will be attending the dedication on December 8 at 11:00 AM at College Square Plaza.

The ACCGov Arts Division and the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission will host an artist talk with Leshinsky about his new public artwork on Wednesday, December 7 from 6:00-7:00 PM at the Lyndon House Arts Center.

"Frequency" is a three-dimensional, 14-piece installation running along the corridor.

Sidewalk Cafés

Sidewalk cafés are at least 36” wide on East Clayton Street, while also creating larger areas for pedestrian travel. Restaurants now have the option of using the granite pavers as the border for sidewalk cafes instead of using railings. Bars must continue to use railings.

Overhead Lighting

Low-voltage festoon lighting has been installed from pole to pole, parallel to the sidewalk and trees, along most of the corridor on East Clayton Street. Once the trees reach a large enough size, additional lighting will be added to the trees. 

Stormwater System

A water quality treatment unit will remove trash, oil, and sediment near the downstream outfall in conjunction with the existing underground facility located on East Broad Street at the Firefly Trail entrance. 

Treating this larger area will still eventually allow pressure washing of the streetscape once the project is completed. 

Phase 1 of the plan was installed as part of this project and is now complete.

Other Related Projects

Public Restroom Facility

The public restroom facility - the Portland Loo model - was approved by the Mayor and Commission on October 5, 2021. The loo was installed in November 2022 and is open for use 24/7 by the public.


The Mayor and Commission approved the designs and layouts of Eco-Stations in April 2021. Although not technically a part of this streetscape project, as they will be in areas other than East Clayton Street, they are being planned and designed while the work is in progress.
Eco-stations are enclosed areas used to gather trash and recycling from businesses and residents in order to avoid bags and recycling being placed directly on the streetscape / sidewalk. Bags left on the curbs leak, are unsightly, cause pedestrian conflicts, and can be a safety hazard.
The eco-stations in the East Clayton Street area are expected to be installed in March 2024. 

Project Activity Recap / Overview

  • 2014 - ACCGov's Public Utilities Department completed the water and sewer updates.
  • 2019 - The Mayor and Commission approved the streetscape design and the public art component
  • May 2020 - ACCGov's Transportation and Public Works Department’s Streets and Drainage Division completed the stormwater infrastructure phase of the project. 
  • Summer/Fall 2020 - Private utility companies such as Atlanta Gas Light and Georgia Power relocated and improved their systems in the area. Some additional utility work took place throughout the project.
  • September 2020 - Installation of a conduit duct bank for street lighting, downtown cameras, traffic and pedestrian signals, and other electrical needs started.
  • January 2021 - Fall 2022 - Private contractor, Astra Construction, managed streetscape work for sidewalks, curbs, and other ground-level features.
  • December 2022 - Public art was installed along the corridor and the project was dedicated.



Originally funded through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, the project originally included improvements to the area around City Hall. Phase 2 was put on hold in fall 2015 due to the sole project bid coming in at nearly twice the budgeted amount for the project after the previous bid opportunity received no responses in 2014. 

Since 2015, plans were changed to reduce costs by eliminating the City Hall area of the project, leaving only the Clayton Street area, and planning for ACC Transportation and Public Works to obtain the needed equipment and crews to undertake the stormwater and other underground infrastructure internally, thus reducing the cost and risk.

On November 7, 2017, voters in Athens-Clarke County approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) program. One of the projects in this program added funding to the original SPLOST funds for the Clayton Street area project, which has enabled the project to move forward in early 2018 into the planning stage and, beginning on June 18, 2018, the construction stage.