We’ve been redesigning a portion of Peachtree Street as a shared space that creates an exceptional public space in Downtown Atlanta by putting people first. To help us make better decisions about the design, we’re testing what’s possible with a demonstration project. Starting this summer, three blocks between Baker Street and Ellis Street are changing temporarily to make more space for people and test how this works with vehicles, helping inform the final shared space design.
Share your thoughts on the demonstration project through the community survey, check out photos of Phase 1 in the photo gallery, and learn more about the project in the FAQ section below.
Find out the latest about the Demonstration Project through the project update documents below, published to report on the first 30, 60, and 90 days of the installation.
This edition features what we've been hearing from the community recently, an update on traffic pattern monitoring, an analysis of emergency response times, next steps for the extension of Phase 1, and excerpts from letters of support by Atlanta Downtown Neighbors Association, AmericasMart, Banyan Street Capital (Peachtree Center), the Westin Hotel, and Southern Exchange (200 Peachtree).
Previous project updates are available below.
The 60-Day Update captures input received by the public through project tours and community conversations, shared a rendering of the final concept, explained recent adjustments to the design, summarized an analysis of travel patterns since the demonstration was installed, and announced the Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association's letter of support for the project, backed by a unanimous vote of support by its board.
The 30-Day edition highlights the project installation, key themes from initial observations and feedback, and next steps...
Photo Gallery: Phase 1 Demonstration Project
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS A DEMONSTRATION PROJECT?
Try it before you buy it: demonstration projects like this one help us test big changes to our streets and public spaces before paying the high costs for the final version. They can teach us a lot early on and help us change the design. While we cannot test a true, curbless shared space, there are parts we can test with removable materials in a short-term, low-cost installation on Peachtree Street. This demonstration is testing:
What would happen if we take some space on Peachtree Street away from vehicles and give it back to people?
How do we use this additional space on Peachtree Street to improve the experience of being Downtown?
How do we accommodate adjacent businesses needs and other daily uses of the street like parking and loading?
To learn more about demonstration projects, how the design for this one was developed, and what the community has had to say so far, check out two workshop week videos: Tactical Urbanism 101 and the Demonstration Project Open House.
We’ve already been doing this in other neighborhoods! You can find out more about other demonstration projects in Atlanta here or download the City’s Tactical Urbanism Guide to find out how you can propose your own demonstration project.
WHAT IS THE PROPOSED DESIGN?
The demonstration project will happen in phases, allowing us to see what works, get input from the community, and adjust the final design. We're in Phase 1 now.
To start, we’re seeing what happens if we take some space from vehicles and give it back to people. Phase 1 has one travel lane in each direction, additional space for pedestrian areas, and a new mid-block crossing at Peachtree Center. It uses simple paint striping, planters, and wheel stops to make a big difference and give us a chance to test how the new layout works. Keeping it simple for now makes it easy to make changes. This part was installed in June and will last a few months while the City observes, collects feedback, and evaluates the design. Minor adjustments to the layout will be made in November to better accommodate operations.
In the Spring, we will improve the space with features like an asphalt mural, more temporary landscaping, and outdoor furniture to activate the expanded public space. This will stay until the final design is ready to be constructed. The Phase 2 design will be informed by findings and community input during Phase 1.
Phase 3 (Final Shared Space Design)
The conceptual design for the shared space is currently being developed and will be informed by the demonstration project. A draft will be posted to this site in early fall.
WHERE IS THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT HAPPENING?
The demonstration project is happening on three blocks of Downtown Peachtree Street, between Baker Street and Ellis Street. The length of the demonstration project will be slightly shorter than the proposed shared space, which will go from West Peachtree Street near Hardy Ivy Park to Forsyth Street near Margaret Mitchell Square and the Central Library. The map below shows the blocks where the demonstration is happening.
WHEN IS THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT HAPPENING?
Phase 1 was installed the week of June 21st. It will remain for a few months over the summer and fall. During this time the project team has been monitor and evaluate how its working and determine if changes to the layout should be made prior to Phase 2. Adjustments to the current layout will be made the week of November 8th to better accommodate MARTA Mobility buses, give passengers more room to get into vehicles at the Hotel Indigo Valet area, and adjust the curb radii at Andrew Young International Boulevard to make it easier for buses and other large vehicles to turn the corner. Phase 2 will begin in Spring/Summer 2022 and will include an asphalt mural and additional outdoor seating.
WHAT IS BEING TESTED?
We are measuring several different ways, before and during the demonstration, to determine the impact this design will have on the quality of the public realm, safety for all users, how people travel through the space, and impacts to businesses and other daily users of the street. Sensors have been installed in the project area to gather measurements like motor vehicle speeds; the number of people walking, rolling, and biking; vehicle volumes; and conflict zones. We will also conduct on-site assessments of behaviors and collected community input through an online survey and on-site interactions.
Recognizing that how we all travel everyday remains unusual as a result of COVID-19, the project team is also evaluating anticipated impacts to vehicle travel patterns Downtown using a computer model based on pre-pandemic traffic data, which together with the demonstration project outcomes will help evaluate tradeoffs and make project decisions.
HOW WILL BUS BOARDING HAPPEN DURING THE DEMONSTRATION?
One of the goals of the demonstration is to test how buses will work if Peachtree Street has fewer lanes for vehicles. The Route 40 MARTA bus runs along Peachtree Street and will continue to run throughout the demonstration project. The bus will pick up and drop off passengers in marked locations. Passengers will board at street level in the outer lanes that have been repurposed as public space during the demonstration project. MARTA buses are capable of loading all passengers from street level using lifts. ADA-compliant temporary curb ramps will also be installed at the mid-block locations to ensure access to the stop locations. In Phase 2, seating will be added at bus stops to improve the rider experience. The City is coordinating with MARTA throughout Phase 1 to identify any opportunities to help its operations.
HOW WILL VEHICLE TRAFFIC BE IMPACTED?
The design for Phase 1 reduces the number of vehicle travel lanes on Peachtree Street from four lanes to two lanes between Baker Street and Ellis Street. The existing center turn lane on the block between John Portman Boulevard and Andrew Young International Boulevard will also remain. Impacts to traffic aaare being monitored during the testing period and the design and signal timing may be modified if needed. You can read summaries of these analyses in the 60-Day and 90-Day Updates.
CAN I USE THE EXPANDED PEDESTRIAN AREA FOR MY BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION?
Supporting thriving local businesses by providing an exceptional public realm is one of the goals of the shared space project. Initially, Phase 1 will not involve any outdoor dining or other furnishings while we observe new traffic patterns and behaviors. Later this summer as we approach Phase 2, there may be an opportunity for restaurants or other businesses and organizations to use some of the space. Additional street furniture and other types of activity are intended to come online with Phase 2. If you are interested, contact the project team to learn more about the permitting process for outdoor dining or other activities. City staff can help guide interested businesses through the permitting process.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Check out the Engage page to learn about upcoming community activities! You can also find information from previous events there, like a recording of the public presentation and feedback session focused on the demonstration project design that was held on Monday, May 24th from 6 to 7 pm. The meeting was be held virtually on Zoom and is available to watch here.
Spread the Word
Share this page with your neighborhood to help us get the word out! You can also download and share the demonstration project flyer.
The City is closely monitoring public health guidelines related to COVID-19 and social distancing measures, prioritizing safety above all. It has not yet been determined if community volunteers will be able to help with the installation of Phase 2. This website and the project mailing list will be updated if it is determined to be safe. For now, you can submit your comments directly and sign up for the project mailing list.
Chat with Staff
City staff will also be on site collecting community feedback during the demonstration; the date(s) for that pop-up engagement activity will depend on the permitting timeline and finalized installation date and will be announced through this website and the mailing list.