The latest peaceful protest of dangerous conditions for non-drivers in Atlanta could be the most visible yet.
Advocates for safer city streets have planned what they’re calling a “Human-Protected Sidewalk, Bike, & Scooter Lane Action” for Wednesday afternoon, beginning at the prominent Midtown intersection of West Peachtree and 15th streets.
That’s near the scene where an e-scooter rider, William Alexander, died last Wednesday night after being struck and crushed by a CobbLinc bus. The 37-year-old father of two was traveling from an Atlanta United match at the time, authorities said.
Wednesday’s event is intended to memorialize Alexander’s death and call attention to other recent tragedies on metro Atlanta streets.
“Sadly, William isn’t the first life our streets have claimed—and it won’t be the last,” reads a press statement distributed by organizers this afternoon. “The City of Atlanta has failed to protect people by neglecting to build safe and equitable streets.”
Attendees are asked to meet at Arts Center MARTA Station at 3:45 p.m.
Once organized, attendees will link arms to act as a human, protected lane for bicycles, pedestrians, and electric-powered devices.
The chain is expected to stand between 4 and 7 p.m. along West Peachtree Street.
Earlier this year, droves of cyclists and advocates for complete streets in Atlanta conducted two “slow roll” bicycling events during rush hours on DeKalb Avenue—a corridor that traffic data has shown is relatively dangerous.
The events share common organizers—including Niklas Vollmer, a cycling instructor and vocal complete streets advocate—but are not conducted by any official group or agency.
One goal of Wednesday’s event, per today’s announcement, is to “demand that city council and Mayor [Keisha Lance] Bottoms take immediate action to prioritize and authorize the implementation of truly complete streets” that would include protected bike lanes and speed-reduction solutions.
Leaders didn’t mince words in criticizing mobility infrastructure—or lack thereof—where Alexander’s death occurred:
“The City of Atlanta has proposed building a lane for bicycle riders and scooter riders along West Peachtree [Street] as part of the Complete Streets/TSPLOST that we voted for almost four years ago. This year, City Council voted to only fund the design portion of this RENEW ATLANTA project. The area where William was killed also had its sidewalk removed and the roadway partially blocked because of construction.”
Beyond last week’s tragedy, the Wednesday gathering is meant to honor: Eric Amis Jr., 20, who was killed e-scootering two months ago on West Lake Avenue, logging the city’s first such fatality; pedestrian David Gordon, who died attempting to cross Cascade Road; and bicycle commuter Marten Bijvank, fatality struck on Roswell Road the same day as Alexander’s death.
In the wake of Atlanta’s second e-scooter fatality last week, some city leaders vowed that safer streets will be a priority, while at least one other city councilmember went public with criticisms of e-scooter operators.
More information on Wednesday’s event in Midtown is available via the group’s Facebook page.