The City of Atlanta Department of City Planning is launching the Peachtree Shared Space Study to reimagine Downtown Atlanta’s signature street as an exceptional, welcoming public space for all people. The effort to reimagine Peachtree Street stems from the Atlanta City Design, a guiding document for the City of Atlanta that outlines a vision for how Atlanta will sustainably and equitably accommodate future growth.
The goal is to turn Peachtree Street into what’s known as a “shared space,” which encourages walking, biking, and transit as the primary modes of transportation while allowing cars to drive through at slow speeds. By more seamlessly designing streets for all users, shared spaces can set the stage for more vibrant, active public life in cities.
“Central to that is the success of Downtown Atlanta and the enormous population that it could accommodate with its density and access,” said Tim Keane, the City of Atlanta’s Commissioner of City Planning. “Having exceptionally designed public spaces for people throughout Downtown, including Peachtree Street, will be critical to that success.”
The study will include Peachtree Street from North Avenue to Marietta Street, with the City selecting a portion as the preferred location for a shared space. The study will determine the feasibility of this vision and include the development of two alternative conceptual designs for the selected part of Peachtree Street. The project kicked off internally in August 2020 and the final report is expected to be complete by March 2021.
“Most days today Peachtree Street does not meet its potential as the active and inclusive public realm we aspire to,” said Josh Rowan, the City of Atlanta’s commissioner for the Deportment of Transportaiton. “A history of racism, intentional design decisions, privatization, disinvestment, the rise of car culture, a focus on hotel and office development, and shifting lifestyle preferences have all played a role in this loss of vibrancy.
“As we experience a new wave of growth, we need Peachtree Street, and all of our public spaces, to be recreated as exceptionally designed places for all people every day,” he added.
Many other global cities have implemented shared space designs for their signature streets, including Exhibition Road in London and Bell Street in Seattle.