Atlanta boosts shared spaces

The City of Atlanta Department of City Planning is launching a demonstration project for the Peachtree Shared Space Study on June 22, 2021. The demonstration project is testing elements of a shared space design, which encourages walking, biking and transit as the primary modes of transportation, while allowing cars to drive through at slow speeds.

Phase 1 of the demonstration project will be implemented on Peachtree Street between Baker Street and Ellis Street. Additional space will be created for pedestrians by using paint striping, planters and wheel stops, as well as creating a new mid-block crossing at Peachtree Center.

“The demonstration project will allow us to give space back to people, rather than focus solely on vehicles, and fulfill a need for more public spaces in our city,” said Commissioner of City Planning Tim Keane. “As we experience a new wave of growth, we need Peachtree Street, and all of our public spaces, to be recreated as exceptionally designed places for all people every day.”

The study builds on an initial idea developed by the Atlanta City Studio in 2018. While designs for shared spaces vary, they are typically curbless and include features like special pavement, minimized road markings and signage, pedestrian-only comfort zones near buildings, mixed zones for all modes in the center and integrated gathering spaces. Many other global cities have implemented shared space designs for their signature streets, including Exhibition Road in London and Bell Street in Seattle. More information about shared spaces is available on the project website.

The phasing of the demonstration project and use of temporary materials will allow elements of the shared space design to be tested and refined before permanent changes go in place. Data will be collected before, during and after the installation of the demonstration project, and community members are encouraged to provide feedback through an online survey.

“This is just the beginning of a cultural shift of how we use public space in the city. We want to test it to make tweaks along the way, so we can create a space that embodies the culture of our city and a beautiful experience for all of the users of this space,” said Monique Forte, the Department of City Planning’s project manager for this study.

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