Midtown Alliance is cooking up ways to make the experience of traveling 17th Street near Atlantic Station by foot, bike, scooter, car, or bus less dismal.

Having identified a “surplus of pavement” along the popular link between Peachtree Street to the east and Atlantic Station to the west, the nonprofit organization of business and community leaders is working on a two-phase approach toward remaking the 17th Street corridor into a safer, more inviting place where people might actually be tempted to leave vehicles behind.

As part of a project introduction this week, Midtown Alliance officials say the first phase could be tackled in the near-term, though a timeline isn’t specified. The second, long-range phase would be more complex and expensive.  

Current 17th Street conditions heading west over the Connector into Atlantic Station. Midtown Alliance

Rendering of the 17th Street bridge heading into Atlantic Station. Midtown Alliance

Initial efforts will focus on improving what the 17th Street corridor is today: a serpentine roadway and development magnet with up to six traffic lanes and expansive, often barren sidewalks. The street does mix multiple modes of transportation (dedicated bus, bike lanes) but those could be safer, more welcoming, and more environmentally conscious, per Midtown Alliance.

The first phase could see plantings in 17th Street medians and public art installed along pathways for a greener and more visually appealing experience.

Midtown Alliance is currently in fundraising mode for the second phase, officials said this week.

Complete Street plans for 17th Street. Midtown Alliance

Tentatively speaking, that could entail more comprehensive changes such as optimizing and improving 17th Street’s existing bus transit infrastructure; extending and upgrading current bike lanes for more comfortable, safer rides that better connect to Atlanta’s growing lane and trail network for bicyclists and micromobility users; and adding more greenery and other aspects to activate the street.

Julie Harlan, Midtown Alliance transportation project manager, said the initiative’s primary goal is to boost safety by separating 17th Street users on wheels and feet from the corridor’s constant street of vehicles. “Currently bikes and scooters are in the street sandwiched between a bus and curb,” Harlan noted. “A lot of Midtown’s closest retail is in Atlantic Station, so closing this very small gap will make it more enjoyable, easier to navigate, and safer for people to go to and from [there].”  


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