Should plans materialize, substantial changes coming to South Downtown won’t be relegated to old buildings, new construction, and the empty pit that is the Gulch .

Efforts to remake three blocks of Peachtree Street into a multi-modal, attractive corridor that’s safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else not driving a car have taken a significant step forward this week, according to downtown boosters and a key development player.  

The Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Infrastructure Program, or TIP, is going to fund 80 percent of construction—or $3.85 million—of Peachtree streetscape upgrades between Upper Alabama Street and Trinity Avenue. Those three blocks connect MARTA stations at Five Points and Garnett Street.

Where Peachtree and Alabama streets meet. Courtesy of Atlanta Downtown Improvement District; designs, Stantec Inc.

It’s part of a larger Downtown Atlanta Master Plan that aims to cut back on auto trips while growing the subdistrict's residential population and jobs.

“The [Peachtree] project’s primary goal,” as Central Atlanta Progress reps note, “is to create a more pedestrian-and bike-oriented design, reducing vehicle speeds and prioritizing pedestrians, bikes, micro-mobility devices, and transit.”

An application for the funding was submitted in 2019 by CAP, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and developer Newport RE. So far, those groups have jointly funded preliminary engineering work required to remake Peachtree Street in the area, officials noted in an announcement today.

Potential traffic-calming measures in Peachtree lanes. Courtesy of Atlanta Downtown Improvement District; designs, Stantec Inc.

In coming months, the Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to work with design firm Stantec Inc. to finalize streetscape plans. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2022.

Sometime this summer, the project team will host an open house to share details and collect feedback from community members, officials said.

That section of Peachtree Street, where on-street parking was implemented last year, will be the focus of changes “because of its importance as a connector between transit stations and as the main pedestrian pathway between downtown’s southern and central areas,” per the announcement. Near-term alterations will see “painted creative asphalt enhancements” to areas of the street that curbside business operations, pedestrians, bike/scooter parking, and passenger drop-off or pick-ups have already reclaimed.

Eventually, plans call for wider sidewalks for improved accessibility and outdoor dining, plus new street trees, eye-catching streetlights, and better drainage.

Potential seating and street-decor options. Courtesy of Atlanta Downtown Improvement District; designs, Stantec Inc.

The news comes as several pivotal downtown developments begin to materialize or show signs of renewed momentum.

Those include CIM Group’s redevelopment of the Gulch, Centennial Yards, which celebrated a groundbreaking and brewery/distillery signing in recent weeks; the announcement of a 21-stall food hall concept for Underground Atlanta’s reimagining; and the first signs of substantial renovations for the 48 buildings and lots Newport now controls in the area.  

Recent downtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta) 

Peachtree Street study (ADID)