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ATL's Anti-Vehicle Afternoon Has High Ambitions This Month

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At first blush, it could seem ironic that car-addicted Atlanta would intentionally bar vehicles from its signature street for the amusement of pedestrians, bicyclists, street mimes, bellydancers and double-dutch performers. But that's precisely what Atlanta Streets Alive has planned for May 19, continuing a periodic anti-vehicle extravaganza that's swelled in popularity since it launched on Edgewood Avenue a couple of years ago. One year ago, on Highland Avenue, an estimated 13,000 people turned out. For those in attendance, it felt like a revelation, and one official (perhaps too caught up in the moment) declared it a turning point for Atlanta. A few months later, days after the Eastside Trail's mid-October opening, officials counted more than 20,000 attendees across a huge loop that again incorporate Highland Avenue. Now Streets Alive is taking its play-in-the-road talents to the heart of the city.

A week from Sunday, Peachtree Street will be closed from 2 to 6 p.m. The 2.7-mile route will stretch from Ellis Street downtown, all the way to Spring Street on the north side of Midtown, near the bridge where Peachtree crosses the Connector. With these events, Atlanta joins 150 cities worldwide (and 70 cities stateside) in implementing a tradition of open streets that began in Bogota, Columbia.

Do you think Atlanta could, or should, host more than two of these events per year? Would this concept have worked in Atlanta, say, 10 years ago?

· Further details [Atlanta Streets Alive]