While it isn’t Peachtree Street, and it’s certainly not Broadway through Times Square, one of metro Atlanta’s more popular streets for OTP dining and shopping is dipping its toes into the concept of pedestrian-only access.

Roswell city officials are planning to close/open a section of Canton Street that’s thick with restaurants and boutiques, beginning later this month on Memorial Day.

Vehicles will be barred on a trial basis from about a block of Canton Street between Elizabeth Way and Webb Street, where popular eateries 1920 Tavern, Little Alley Steak, and Salt Factory Pub are located, as WSB Radio reports.

Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson told the news station the intent is to make Canton Street friendlier toward pedestrians and families—and that the closure could become permanent. For now, the section of Canton Street is scheduled to be pedestrian-only between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year.

The mayor envisions a Barcelona-like promenade possibly running for several blocks of Canton Street one day, but business owners who WSB spoke with are already voicing concerns over parking hassles. (A large mixed-use complex with a Kimpton Hotel and public parking is under construction just off Canton Street but has yet to open.)

The section of Canton Street that will be off-limits to vehicles this summer. Google Maps; Urbanize Atlanta

Roswell’s street pedestrianization—albeit incremental and temporary, for now—is a bold move compared to what’s happened in Atlanta lately.

Georgia’s capital city in recent years has managed to remove downtown’s shared lanes on Peachtree Street following the outcry of one powerful property owner.

Meanwhile, the open-streets phenomenon that was Atlanta Streets Alive remains on a years-long hiatus. Atlanta City Council approved funding in its 2023 fiscal year budget last summer to revive Atlanta Streets Alive, making it a monthly occurrence across a long section of Peachtree Street, but no concrete plans have been announced since.

On the bright side for urban public-space advocates, intown projects such as Midtown’s art-studded Commercial Row Commons and downtown’s pedestrian mall have recently claimed former vehicle lanes.


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Roswell news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)