Public Safety Officer Chandral Pickett instructs an Uber driver where to properly drop off passengers.
Peachtree Street is the heart of Midtown Atlanta, and the 20,000 people who reside here and 70,000 people who work here depend on the corridor to run smoothly in order to get where they need to go.
But as a result of the district’s growth as a thriving business hub and preferred living destination, Peachtree also has experienced an uptick in vehicles stopping illegally at the curb. Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services use it instead of side streets to pick up passengers, commercial trucks stop to drop off goods to nearby businesses and various mail carriers impede traffic flow while they deliver packages to buildings in the area.
Midtown’s “eyes and ears,” Midtown Blue, is combating this issue with an active campaign that issues warnings to illegally parked drivers, and, if necessary, call in the Atlanta Police Department to write tickets or make arrests. In only a few months, the program has had a tremendous impact.
Cracking Down on Curb Violations
Midtown Blue, the supplemental public safety arm of Midtown Alliance, began a focused detail on illegally parked vehicles on Peachtree Street in April 2019. To date, the following actions have taken place:
- more than 1,650 warnings
- 180+ parking citations and moving violations issued
- 2 vehicles impounded
- 1 physical arrest of a delivery driver who refused to move his truck or produce his commercial driver’s license
Public safety officers have focused their efforts on commercial vehicles, which tend to stop for longer periods of time, and the campaign is paying off. During the first four weeks of the program, 80% of the illegally parked vehicles were commercial vehicles. The most recent numbers indicate that 15% of vehicles were commercial, meaning that many commercial vehicles have received and are complying with the message.
Officers also have noticed a decrease in vehicles parking in front of the Metropolis building at 933 Peachtree Street, which seems to be the epicenter for curb violations in the district. More commercial vehicles now are using the building’s two loading docks behind the building, relieving traffic backups in the area.
When Midtown Blue began the detail, the focus was on education rather than issuing citations, ensuring the commercial vehicles all knew where the loading docks were located and how to access them. During the first four weeks, public safety officers distributed index card sized maps that gave detailed instructions with visual guidance on where deliveries and pick-ups should be executed.
“Our objective was not to issue citations, but rather educate motorists so traffic could flow and not back up traffic on Peachtree Street,” said Marcus Neville, Midtown Blue’s director of public safety and operations.
A Culture Change
Neville said he believes “a culture change is happening along Peachtree”, with more drivers understanding the illegality of stopping at the curb and turning on their hazards, even if it’s just for a short time. Without Atlanta Police Department enforcement around the clock, it will never be a perfect system, but Midtown Blue will continue to educate drivers about stopping at loading docks and on side streets and have its APD partners issue citations when necessary.
Midtown Blue is working with the City of Atlanta’s Department of Transportation to install “no parking” signs from 4th Street to 14th Street on Peachtree Street. Concurrently, the district planning staff at Midtown Alliance is working with building owners and property managers at facilities offering public parking to add more uniform parking signage. The more we can continue to highlight the issue and educate the public about where and where not to park, the better the transportation network can serve those using this main thoroughfare in Midtown.
Learn more about the Midtown Blue program here.