Converting Baker Street back into two-way street reached a roadblock on Wednesday when Mayor Bottoms unexpectedly vetoed City Council’s 11-4 vote in favor of the project. The opposition for this project conflicts with Atlanta's Transportation Plan, adopted by the city in 2018, and elevates property interests over the safety of people.
Tim Keane, the Commissioner of City Planning, addressed the Atlanta City Council Transportation Committee on June 26th, reaffirming his support for the two-way conversion and urging the Councilmembers to pass the legislation to maximize our existing infrastructure for all people and not solely for people driving vehicles.
The property owner driving the lobbying efforts against the conversion also addressed the committee, reinforcing his commitment to bankrolling the pushback far beyond the $100,000+ he’s already invested in halting the conversion.
On Friday evening, Mayor Bottoms released a statement expressing why she elected to veto the Baker Street Two-Way Conversion, stating:
“...it is critical that the City of Atlanta take a more inclusive look at how major transportation investments, such as the Baker Street two-way conversion, tie together mobility, zoning conversation, preservation and affordable housing. Accordingly, and because my administration is committed to ensuring that major transportation investments are accountable, transparent, and are reached through an informed decision making process, the proposed Baker Street two-way conversion investment will be the subject of a comprehensive evaluation and a priority project of the newly created Department of Transportation.
The statement also contends that:
"Atlanta's Transportation Plan provides policy and project recommendations to create the transportation system the City of Atlanta needs for its future by focusing on reducing congestion, improving access, and supporting economic growth."
But that’s not how Atlanta’s Transportation plan describes its focus. From the plan itself,
"Atlanta's Transportation Plan is the blueprint for achieving this transportation future: a future in which everyone will enjoy better access without having to rely so heavily on automobiles; where every member of our communities will travel without risk of serious injury or death; and where transportation options are affordable and available to all residents and visitors."
The Baker Street project isn’t dead, but we need your support to elevate community and resident’s voices over the will of narrow interests.
Sign the petition and tell the city to honor its commitment to mobility, safety, and equity. It’s time to change Baker Street back into a two-way street; it’s time to advance Atlanta's Transportation Plan.