When pint-sized but beloved “Baby Kroger” closed in December as part of the grocer’s brick-and-mortar cutbacks in Atlanta, it left a troubling void in Downtown Decatur’s commercial landscape: no supermarket within reasonable walking distance for everybody.

Which means the city’s prized walkability also took a substantial hit.

To help combat that, city officials have begun a three-month experiment using electric shuttles as a means of whisking people—free of charge—from downtown to a new Publix Super Market, located about two miles east of many Downtown Decatur multifamily residences.

The City of Decatur and its Downtown Development Authority launched the 90-day pilot program last month, linking several downtown pick-up points to the Publix at Sam’s Crossing Village (2720 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue.)

The service aims to provide an easy transportation option for seniors less likely to own vehicles, but it's open to anyone.

One of the EV shuttles in action in downtown Atlanta. Courtesy of Decatur Downtown Development Authority/City of Decatur

As part of Decatur’s strategic plan, the program is being operated by Let’s Ride Atlanta and sponsored by the DDA and Publix. It’ll be available on a test basis until April 18.

Let’s Ride Atlanta is offering two EVs in Decatur that seat three to four people each, similar to a free-rides EV program the group currently offers for trips of one to three miles in the heart of Atlanta.

In Decatur, the shuttles are running continuously from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. three days per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The 720 Commerce Drive retailer is now closed, leaving a void in Downtown Decatur's commercial landscape. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Shirley Baylis, the City of Decatur’s business development manager, said in a January announcement city leaders have high hopes for the free EV initiative, in that it will “not only provide critical transportation to those who need to shop for groceries, but do so in electric vehicles that reinforce our community’s commitment to protecting the environment.”

Pick-up and drop-off locations can be found at: 254 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue; 230 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue; 130 Clairemont Avenue; at Decatur First Baptist Church, and W. Trinity Place at Commerce Drive.

For more info on the program or its route, see here, or contact Baylis at Shirley.Baylis@decaturga.com. 


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