The final 2019 installment of Atlanta’s most significant celebration of non-vehicle transportation is less than three months away, and organizers have announced exactly where it’ll take place.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Streets Alive event is scheduled to take over Southwest Atlanta roadways on September 29, bringing bikes, scooters, skateboards, and tennis shoes to a 4.8-mile route created with the help of the community.
The upcoming extravaganza—organizers don’t like to call it a festival, since it’s more of a roving rally advocating for better transportation infrastructure—is slated to happen on Cascade Road, Cascade Avenue, and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard.
Previous Streets Alive routes have swooped from Grant Park to Westview or circled the West End, but this marks the first time the Cascade thoroughfares will be incorporated into routes in the event’s nine-year history.
The location of the Southwest Route is also significant because of how chronically dangerous some of those streets have been for non-motorists.
Cascade Road and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard are both part of Atlanta’s High-Injury Network, which includes streets that disproportionately yield accidents and sometimes fatalities.
The September event officially kicks off with a parade lineup at the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve at 1:30 p.m., and the expected droves of cyclists, pedestrians, scooter riders, and the rest will take full control of the roadways at 2 p.m.
They’ll then have four hours to share Southwest Atlanta streets with all modes of transportation except automobiles.
Streets Alive events are meant to spotlight how roads can be safely shared by more modes of transportation than cars, and that “complete street” fixes and other transportation infrastructure improvements could benefit communities.
“Despite higher rates of walking and transit usage, communities in the Southwest have some of the lowest sidewalk coverage in our city,” according to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
On that September Sunday, from noon until 7:30 p.m., motorists will need to figure out how to maneuver around the area without taking those usually traffic-heavy routes, which will be closed.
In terms of turnout, it could be tough for Streets Alive’s fall event to top the attendance record set during last month’s Cross-City Route. That lured nearly 145,000 participants to an 8.8-mile leg spanning from the City of Decatur, through downtown, and nearly to Buckhead.
Then again, the Cross-City event was haunted by looming storm clouds, and September weather could lure folks enticed by a breezy bike ride.
Inspired by the ciclovia of Bogotá, Colombia, the festive Atlanta programs have been held since May 2010’s debut on Edgewood Avenue—when a mere 5,000 attended.