ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Atlanta’s most popular street could go car-free, on a weekly basis, come 2022.
The Atlanta city council is currently considering an ordinance that would shut down traffic to Peachtree Street every Sunday. Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) is a strong supporter of the legislation.
“We felt like we needed to do something dramatic and really take cars out of the equation for people, temporarily, at least, so they can understand the streets are for all forms of transportation and mobility,” said Rebecca Serna, ABC’s executive director. “They’re not just for cars.”
The nonprofit has been hosting Atlanta Streets Alive for more than a decade. A few times a year, the city agrees to shutdown a major street for pedestrian-friendly traffic, accommodating ABC’s push for more sustainable modes of transportation in the city.
“It’s really always been the dream this would happen on Peachtree and it would happen on a regular basis,” Serna said. “So, I can’t almost believe my eyes when I look at this legislation because it’s just something we’ve been hoping for so long. It’s so magical.”
If approved by city council, cars would not be allowed on Peachtree Street Sundays between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., starting September 18, 2022. The three-mile closure would be from Trinity Avenue to 17th Street.
“We’re bringing tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people to downtown, midtown Atlanta and surrounding neighborhoods,” Serna said. “It’s just a smorgasbord of one wheel and skateboards, rollerblades, and bicycles. You name it.”
Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong is one of at least seven council members sponsoring the bill. The annual cost of the project is around $2 million and would be funded by on-street parking revenue.
“The fact that some of the busiest streets in our community have all of a sudden slowed way down and we get to see the possibilities of if we just slow down, enjoy the environment around us,” Archibong said. “It’s really community building at a new level.”
While some international cities have longed opened streets once a week to pedestrian-friendly traffic, including Bogota, Colombia, Serna believes Atlanta would be the first city in the United States to do so.
“I think it puts Atlanta in a great position to say, ‘Hey we can lead things around sustainable transportation in the South,’” she said.
The last time the city shutdown Peachtree Street for Atlanta Streets Alive was in April 2019 when 120,000 people took advantage of the unique opportunity, according to Serna.
The ordinance is currently being held in the transportation committee to allow the ATL Department of Transportation more time to review weekly costs. If you support this idea, click here.