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On National PARK(ing) Day, parking spaces to turn into pedestrian-friendly attractions

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Could the “holiday” help downtown Atlanta realize its vision for shared spaces?

People sit and walk through the downtown’s Broad street, which is lined with retail buildings and greenery.
Downtown’s Broad Street has become a hotbed for pedestrian activity.
Central Atlanta Progress

Downtown Atlanta is peppered with underutilized parking spaces, and a nationwide initiative will aim to change that—at least temporarily.

On Friday, September 20, downtown parking spaces will be reactivated as pedestrian-friendly public attractions, thanks to efforts by Central Atlanta Progress.

That date marks the annual PARK(ing) day, a sort of holiday that celebrates the untapped potential of paid parking spots as pocket parks.

So CAP is working in concert with developer Newport—the firm that’s in the process of revitalizing dozens of South Downtown properties—and the Atlanta City Studio to temporarily repurpose parking spaces on Broad Street, between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Mitchell Street.

Plans call for “a pop-up café seating area where you can play games, meet fellow community members, and enjoy lunch from The Mad Greek food truck,” according to a CAP blog post.

During the event, visitors will also get a change to scope fresh renderings of Newport’s plans for the area.

Newport’s properties are neighbored by the 40-acre Centennial Yards and Underground Atlanta’s pending redo—projects led by developers CIM Group and WRS, respectively.

Atlanta’s PARK(ing) Day celebration site is also within close proximity to a City of Atlanta project that could transform a half-mile of downtown’s Peachtree Street into what the Dutch call a “woonerf”—a shared space welcoming pedestrians, cyclists, and even drivers.