Three years ago this month, a 10-block Midtown initiative called the Spring Street bike lane project was chronicled on these pages. At the time, the initial phase spanning from 13th Street down to 3rd Street was experiencing issues with illegally parked drivers but had succeeded in helping create a transportation alternative through some of Midtown’s most quickly developing blocks.
The good news for Atlanta bicyclists and scooter users, at the time, continued on 17th Street to the north. That’s where Midtown Alliance officials predicted bike lines would be built once the massive Midtown Union mixed-use project finished construction and removed its lane closures.
But now, as anyone traveling 17th Street between Atlantic Station and Peachtree Street can see, that biking infrastructure has yet to be installed. Despite the fact Midtown Union was declared finished by its developers a year and ½ ago.
Brian Carr, Midtown Alliance marketing and communications director, tells Urbanize Atlanta plans for 17th Street have changed and grown more complex, though potentially for the better. The ETA on improvements, however, remains up in the air.
In short, the 17th Street bike lane initiative—a link between planned biking infrastructure on both West Peachtree and Spring streets that’s eventually expected to reach Midtown’s northernmost blocks—has morphed into something more comprehensive, according to Carr.
That would be the 17th Street Corridor Enhancements project unveiled in late 2023 that includes a safer bicycling facility.
Midtown Alliance is working on a two-phase approach toward remaking the 17th Street corridor into a more inviting place where people might actually be tempted to leave vehicles behind, creating better access to the major retail hub that is Atlantic Station.
Initial efforts will focus on improving what the 17th Street corridor is today: a serpentine roadway with up to six traffic lanes and expansive sidewalks.
The street does mix multiple modes of transportation (dedicated bus, bike lanes) in places, but those could be safer, more welcoming, and more environmentally conscious, per Midtown Alliance.
More comprehensive changes could include optimizing 17th Street’s existing bus transit infrastructure, and extending and upgrading current bike lanes for more comfortable, safer rides that better connect to Atlanta’s growing network for bicyclists and micromobility users.
But for now, the project remains in the initial planning phase, and Carr says funding has yet to be identified for construction.
On the bright side, as Carr noted via email: “Midtown Alliance will implement small improvements to the 17th Street corridor in 2024, mainly to soften the corridor with greenery and art.”
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