Construction crews are currently hard at work transforming a section of Midtown’s fast-moving Spring Street to make way for a permanent new bicycle lane, with lane restriping that is scheduled to begin later this month. Work is planned to begin this fall on a similar project on West Peachtree Street, which runs parallel to Spring Street.
Both projects were announced by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office in September 2019. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ Action Plan for Safer Streets is a two-year, $5M plan to implement safety improvements on more than 20 miles of streets in Atlanta and more than triple the city’s on-street protected bike network.
The Action Plan for Safer Streets kicked off October 2019 in Midtown with the creation of a Pop-Up Bike Lane on 10th Street, between Myrtle Street and Juniper Street. See the city’s results from the pop-up here.
The West Peachtree and Spring project will improve the two corridors for people on foot, on bicycles, and other mobility devices. It also reinforces the city’s commitment to Vision Zero, a policy to eliminate traffic deaths and reduce crashes that Mayor Bottoms implemented earlier this year.
The scope of this project includes the following:
- Retain the existing one-way traffic operation
- Add a protected one-way bike lane (LIT lane) by repurposing one travel lane and several on-street parking spaces. The bike lane will be delineated with a striped buffer, plastic flexposts, and wheelstops
- Resurface Spring Street and make spot pavement repairs to West Peachtree Street
- See the project area map here.
The newly formed Atlanta Department of Transportation is overseeing the construction of the project in partnership with Midtown Alliance.
“The intent of the Safer Streets Program is to provide mobility choices through the repurposing of excess roadway capacity," said Atlanta DOT Commissioner Josh Rowan. "Spring Street is the first project to see the addition of a LIT lane through an existing resurfacing contract. As the city grows, our plan is to expand this network and to provide safe mobility options for all users.”
Reimagined Parking Spaces Could Bring New Vibrancy to Sidewalks
One of the impacts of the “quick build” design is that some on-street parking spaces will no longer be accessible to vehicles. This presents an opportunity to activate these parking spaces for pedestrians in a way that adds value to street-level businesses and vibrancy to the sidewalk.
There are many options for transforming these spaces into usable amenities for restaurants, retailers and residents in the adjacent buildings. Initial ideas include expanded space for retailers, parking for scooters, and pockets of creative green space in the form of a parklet.
“The spirit of this project is all about transforming space for cars into space for people,” said Lauren Bohn, Project Manager of Urban Design and Placemaking at Midtown Alliance. “It presents the opportunity to reimagine how parking spaces along the routes can contribute to a vibrant sidewalk. It will benefit our community by adding to a network of public open space and also provide a tool by which to support our local businesses and residents with needed services, especially during the pandemic.”
One example of this, said Bohn, is outdoor dining space outside restaurants that enables for social distancing.
Here’s a few examples of how other cities have repurposed small spaces:
“We’re looking forward to collaborating with stakeholders along the routes as well as to conducting a wider dialogue about how these spaces should be used,” Bohn said.
Stay tuned for more information about these parklets and opportunities for public feedback in the September Midtown Monthly issue. Midtown Alliance will also be providing an update on the project during our virtual district update Let’s Talk Midtown on August 25. Register for the event here.