The Atlanta City Council is considering legislation that could make one of the city’s favorite recurring traditions a weekly event.
The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on Atlanta Streets Alive for much of the past two years. But prior to that, the program had grown from a meager gathering of alternate-transportation advocates in 2010 to large-scale events that drew about 1.7 million people, collectively, to street-opening routes from Lake Claire to West End and the southern reaches of Buckhead.
Streets Alive opened up roadways for a few hours on Sundays, three or four times per year. The only consistent complaint, organizers have said, is that it didn’t happen often enough.
This week, legislation cosigned by six city councilmembers—Natalyn Archibong, Michael Julian Bond, Andre Dickens, Amir Farokhi, Jennifer Ide, and Matt Westmoreland—could change that.
The proposal calls for staging Atlanta Streets Alive along Peachtree Street every Sunday.
A Peachtree Street route, usually stretching from South Downtown to near the High Museum, was among the most attended and frequently staged of the events over the years. Crowds often topped 100,000, as estimated by volunteer counters.
In response to the legislative action, Streets Alive’s creators, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, are lobbying city residents to email elected officials and voice their support for the weekly car-free initiative.
“Why can’t we dedicate one street, one day a week, for people to move without fear down the street?” ABC executive director Rebecca Serna recently wrote. “To stop and talk with a friend they haven’t seen in a year. To sit on a curb and watch neighbors whiz by, grinning for all the world to see.”
Serna was inspired to organize Streets Alive by ciclovía events in Bogotá, Colombia and other cities. She told Urbanize Atlanta earlier this year her organization hoped to work with the Atlanta Department of Transportation to streamline the process of coordinating traffic and other facets, which had previously required between 40 and 50 partners per event.
The goal, at the time, was to host a Streets Alive once every month.
How’s opening up Atlanta’s signature street every week sound?
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