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2018’s final Atlanta Streets Alive (nearly) broke Peachtree Street attendance record

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Cyclists, rollerbladers, and pedestrians cruised from downtown to Midtown; now, organizers say a big announcement is on tap

How South Downtown came alive Sunday.
How South Downtown came alive Sunday.
Curbed Atlanta

On Sunday, a 3.1-mile stretch of Peachtree Street was temporarily closed to automobile traffic, and, even without the familiar buzz of horns blaring and engines revving, the roadway seemed more lively than ever.

That’s, of course, thanks to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Streets Alive program, an initiative “that inspires Atlantans to re-envision and reclaim our city streets as people-focused public space,” according to ABC’s community engagement director Haydée Santana.

As usual, the festival rallied droves of cyclists, rollerbladers, strollers, and pedestrians, although, this time around, well over 100,000 people showed up for the afternoon extravaganza.

The final Streets Alive scheduled for this year, Sunday’s event—packed with more than 113,000 attendees, per ABC officials—sent the flood of walkers and riders from South Downtown’s Mitchell Street north up usually car-jammed Peachtree Street to Midtown.

To tabulate attendance estimates, ABC utilizes a team of counters who take surveys of different areas along the route.

Motorists were barred from using that piece of the street from 2 until 6 p.m., while people cruised or meandered through three-plus miles of activities, including obstacle courses and meet-and-greets with local leaders.

And, although the crowd at Sunday’s event was indeed impressive, it wasn’t quite the record-breaking 134,000 attendees tallied at the Streets Alive on Peachtree Street last year, or on the Westside in June. (In April, the event drew 74,000 people to “dangerous” DeKalb Avenue, on an unseasonably freezing day.)

Nevertheless, ABC reps say, the latest adventure, like those past, offered Atlantans an opportunity to discuss how to reactivate city streets to be more welcoming to pedestrians and alternative transportation modes.

Streets Alive patrons check out the Atlanta City Studio’s shared street concept.
Steve Eberhardt, via Atlanta Bicycle Coaltion

“During Sunday’s Atlanta Streets Alive, at our Peachtree Center activity hub, participants got to interact with the Atlanta City Studio’s demonstration of the shared street concept that was proposed in the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan and adopted by city council in December 2017,” according to Santana.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s Streets Alive events, and Santana says a major announcement is coming later this month.

She adds: “A major priority for us next year is calling attention to Atlanta’s High Injury Network, where six out of 10 streets that have the highest rate of serious injuries are located in Southwest Atlanta.”

That’s a pretty big clue. Where, Atlanta, would you like to see Streets Alive happen in ’19?