City of Atlanta sets out to reimagine the downtown stretch of Peachtree Street

ATLANTA — The street name alone almost automatically connects people to the City of Atlanta and has for generations.

Now, the city wants to “reimagine” Peachtree Street, making it a shared space for walkers and bikers while allowing the cars to move through at slower speeds.

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The city’s planning department announced Friday morning they’re starting a “Shared Space” study to see how they can enhance the street, making it part of a thriving downtown.

“Central to that is the success of Downtown Atlanta and the enormous population that it could accommodate with its density and access. Having exceptionally designed public spaces for people throughout Downtown, including Peachtree Street, will be critical to that success," said Commissioner of City Planning Tim Keane.

“The goal of this effort is to elevate Peachtree Street’s role as an active, vibrant center of urban life. The more attractive we can make Downtown as a place to live, work, and play, the more we can cut down on citywide traffic in the long term," said Doug Nagy, Deputy Commissioner of Transportation.

The planning department says the study will cover Peachtree St. from North Ave. to Marietta St. but will only cover a portion of the preferred locations. The goal is to determine how practical the proposal would be and develop two conceptual designs.

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Planners say the shared space designs often vary a bit but include several common features. No curbs, special pavement, minimal road marking and signs, pedestrian-only zones near buildings, mixed zones for modes in the center and integrated gathering spaces.

Cities around the world have adopted this kind of design to use on their own signature streets such as Exhibition Road in London and Bell Street in Seattle.

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The city has several things scheduled to help keep the community involved in the different stages of the study beginning with a community impact map that will be available through Nov. 20.

Beginning on Nov. 16, there will be a virtual discovery workshop week with several online events planned:

  • Peachtree Shared Space Community Kickoff | Monday, November 16, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Tactical Urbanism 101 | Tuesday, November 17, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Virtual Open Studio | Wednesday, November 18, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Community Pinup Session | Thursday, November 19, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Online Survey | Live the week of November 16

The city also plans to hold a second virtual design workshop the week of Dec. 14 focusing on drafting a design for the shared space.

Then in the spring of 2021, a temporary redesign of the corridor will be installed on one block of Peachtree Street to get feedback.

“We know that Peachtree Street can better serve our community,” said Monique Forte, the Department of City Planning’s project manager for this study.

The goal is to have a final report to present to the city by March of 2021.