Do you remember the Peachtree Shared Space pilot? Three blocks of Downtown Peachtree Street transformed into a space for people, with two vehicular lanes instead of four, opening up space to walk, roll, bike, and even dine out at cafe tables. The tactical urbanism project, removed by the City of Atlanta after nine months in March 2022 after at least one powerful detractor’s loud opposition, is returning — in smaller scale — during the next Streets Alive on Sunday, Dec. 3.
Image: Atlanta Department of City Planning Peachtree Shared Space pilot
Propel ATL will re-create a miniature version of the shared space pilot on the block of Peachtree between Harris/Portman and Andrew Young International Blvd, with a crosswalk painted by the Georgia Chalk Artists Guild (weather permitting), planters, and cafe tables. This small re-creation isn’t about simple nostalgia, though.
Peachtree Street has always been more than a thoroughfare; it’s the heartbeat of Atlanta. Atlanta’s downtown neighbors, workers, and visitors want to see Peachtree Street transformed into a street designed for people, a symbol of Atlanta’s aspirations and potential. We stand at a critical juncture where the promise of a vibrant, accessible Peachtree Street can become a reality. Streets Alive is fun – but it also inspires us to envision an Atlanta with more public spaces that are safe and truly livable year-round – the way the Peachtree Shared Space pilot demonstrated. And there are a number of questions Atlantans are still left with about projects promised since then.
The bigger picture
In 2022, Atlanta residents supported a more vibrant Atlanta by approving $750 million in infrastructure funding, with $460 million earmarked for transportation projects. Among these is the “Peachtree Street Safe Street” project, described on the project list as “an on‐street protected bike lane and other safety improvements such as improved accessibility, safe crossings, lane narrowing, etc. This project is also envisioned as a permanent conceptual continuation of the now‐removed Peachtree Shared Space Pilot Project, and will consider additional elements of urban placemaking and space reclamation.”
Step one in building this infrastructure, known collectively as the “Moving Atlanta Forward” program, is for the Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT) to assign a project manager and create a project schedule. ATLDOT told the Atlanta City Council it would activate some 50 projects, including 20 “safe streets,” by the end of 2023. But so far, only seven have reached this milestone.
Other key projects in the first group include transforming streets into corridors safe for people outside of cars through projects including Peachtree Street as well as Lee Street, Courtland, Piedmont, Whitehall, Edgewood, MLK Jr., Euclid, Marietta, Lenox, 17th, and Browns Mill, as well as sidewalks on state routes like Memorial, Moreland, and Hollowell.
Map: Moving Atlanta Forward Transportation Projects and 2022 pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The dots represent people hit by car drivers while walking or biking in 2022, and the green lines represent Moving Atlanta Forward transportation projects.
Why it matters
These transformational projects will take years to design and implement. If easier projects are prioritized on the timeline, the Moving Atlanta Forward program may not achieve its goals of making the city safe and accessible for people to walk, bike, and catch the bus.
Atlanta is in the midst of a pedestrian death crisis. We can’t allow anything to get in the way of making our streets safer for people walking, using wheelchairs, and all modes of transportation. These projects will provide a safe way to get to and from neighborhoods and destinations throughout the city.
Call on your City officials to get moving on Moving Atlanta Forward!
- Contact the City of Atlanta Mayor’s office and let them know you support advancing the “Moving Atlanta Forward” projects.
- Safe, vibrant, livable streets need not last just one afternoon! See shared streets in action at our mini-demo at Atlanta Streets Alive on Dec. 3 between 1-5 p.m!