The Big Picure: Your Study. Your Vision. Your Plan for the City of Huntsville

East Subarea

Not unlike the East Central Subarea, this district is focused on maintaining the current high quality of life while ensuring continued access to the job centers that lie to the west, over the mountains.



  • Despite limited access across the mountains, improvements to the existing transportation network have maintained connectivity to the employment and activity centers in the core.
  • New growth and development has improved upon quality of life, as has maintained the residential desirability of the area.
  • Neighborhoods are well-connected via sidewalks and greenways.


Access to a high-quality education continues to drive residential development in the East, but as homes are added, traffic becomes more problematic.  Primary activity and employment centers are all located west, and opportunities to cross the mountain range are constrained.  Cecil B. Ashburn is scheduled for widening, but beyond improvements farther south to Hobbs Island Road, additional capacity projects are limited.  It will be important to focus on operations in the future, and might require considerations of transit.

Of similar concern is the continued development of the main corridors, particularly in terms of quality and appearance.  There is a worry on behalf of many who call the East subarea home that the predominant form of commercial development is not consistent with the character of the surrounding neighborhoods.  Part of the challenge is the fact that many parcels are not incorporated into the City, limiting the opportunities to shape their development.  A first step, however, could involve something as straight-forward as organizing the commercial property owners on the primary corridors.  A business association would be able to organize a discussion around if and how development controls might be implemented.

Related is the introduction of placemaking efforts to the East.  While the abundant recreation areas provide a great deal of desirable quality-of-life assets, there are few commercial or mixed-use areas that have been designed to make use of these assets.  Identifying an area or areas wherein mixed-use, “Providence-style” development might occur would be helpful in attracting more of the retail offerings in which East residents have expressed interest.

Last modified: April 3rd, 2019 at 2:19 pm


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    Improve connectivity within and beyond the subarea, particularly along – or complementary to – high-traffic corridors like Highway 431 and Cecil B. Ashburn Drive.

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    Conduct a design guidelines and planning exercise in cooperation with land and business owners along Highway 431 and Sutton Road.

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    Establish sidewalk plans for neighborhoods that need improved connections to parks and/or schools.

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    Prioritize greenway/bikeway development in concert with the Greenway Master Plan and city-wide Bike Plan.

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    Support and improve links to natural resources like Monte Sano State Park, Hays Nature Preserve, and other natural resources that are the hallmark of this subarea.

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    Support the creation of a business association to liaise with the City, and to help guide future development along the primary corridors.