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 will change temporarily to make more space for people and test how this works with vehicles, helping inform the final shared space design.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS A DEMONSTRATION PROJECT?
Try it before you buy it: demonstration projects 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 will test:
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.
To start, we’re seeing what would happen if we take some space from vehicles and give it back to people. Phase 1 will have one travel lane in each direction, additional space for pedestrian areas, and a new mid-block crossing at Peachtree Center. This will use 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 will last a few months.
Later this summer, we will adjust the layout if needed and improve the space with features like paint, 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 and will be posted to this site over the summer.
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 summer.
WHERE WILL THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT HAPPEN?
The demonstration project will happen 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.
WHEN WILL THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT HAPPEN?
The design for Phase 1 is currently being permitted and will be installed the week of June 21st. It will remain for a few months over the summer. During this time the project team will monitor and evaluate how its working and determine if changes to the layout should be made prior to Phase 2. Phase 2 is anticipated to be installed late Summer or early Fall.
WHAT WILL BE TESTED?
We’ll measure 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 will be 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 collect 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.
HOW WILL VEHICLE TRAFFIC BE IMPACTED?
The design for Phase 1 will reduce 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 will be monitored during the testing period and the design may be modified if needed.
During the days of the installation, there will be additional lane closures to allow a safe space for construction workers. The installation will take place the week of June 21. Surrounding streets will have normal operations and serve as alternate routes on these days for people driving through the area. Limited vehicular access for properties directly on these blocks will be allowed during installation.
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.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Join us for a public presentation and feedback session focused on the demonstration project design on Monday, May 24th from 6 to 7 pm. The meeting will be held virtually on Zoom. Sign up here and bring a friend!
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 1 and/or 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.
Take the Survey
An online survey about Phase 1 will be shared with the mailing list following the installation.
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.