On April 7, more than 120,000 people equipped with bikes, scooters, rollerblades, unicycles, skateboards, and tennis shoes crowded onto an unfamiliar-looking Peachtree Street.
Thanks to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Streets Alive program, the corridor was devoid of its usual traffic and electrified with just about every form of human-powered transportation imaginable.
And while the colossal crowd didn’t quite break attendance records, it means the last four Atlanta Streets Alive events held on Peachtree Street averaged 118,000 people, according to Ben Foster, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s policy and campaigns manager. (To tabulate attendance estimates, ABC utilizes a team of counters who take surveys of different areas along the route).
A contrasting drone shot of #StreetsAlive that really shows what can be done with non-car focused public space (even just for an afternoon).— Luke Beard (@LukesBeard) April 7, 2019
I can really appreciate the effort it must take @downtownatlanta and @MidtownATL to get this kind of event through. pic.twitter.com/VMiCOO2ZC3
That’s almost twice the seating capacity at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and nearly three times that of SunTrust Park.
The program’s mission is to enable Atlantans to envision typically traffic-congested streets as welcoming places for cyclists and pedestrians. Leaders say the patronage—at April’s event and those past—is a testament to public support for transportation infrastructure that caters to more than just automobiles.
“We want biking, walking, and taking transit to be a real and realistic option for all Atlantans getting around the city, and we believe that safe streets are the way to make this possible,” said ABC program manager Heather Luyk. (The group encourages likeminded Atlantans to sign the Safe Streets for All pledge).
The largest headcount Streets Alive organizers have ever witnessed actually occurred on two occasions: 134,000 people showed up to the Central Route ride (on Peachtree Street) in 2017, and again for the Westside ride (on Howell Mill Road) last year.
The April 7 route allowed people to flow freely along Peachtree from 17th Street in Midtown to Mitchell Street in South Downtown—a 3.1-mile leg—for four hours.
And coming up in June, the largest ever Streets Alive route is slated to take riders and walkers across the city, combining the Eastside and Westside routes of years past by activating DeKalb Avenue and Decatur Street all the way to Marietta Street and Howell Mill Road.
Even the City of Decatur is getting in on the summer action, opening up West Howard Avenue (what DeKalb Avenue becomes, east of Atlanta) for the occasion.
The June 9 event is expected to run until 8 p.m., instead of 6 p.m. That’s six hours of Streets Alive, instead of the usual four.