Atlanta gets cash for sidewalks

Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded the City of Atlanta $25,000 to fund a tactical walk lane to improve sidewalk connectivity and pedestrian safety. The grant will provide a dedicated and protected space for pedestrians accessing schools, businesses and public transportation in the Adams Park community.

“This project will focus on providing safe access to neighborhood schools, businesses and MARTA bus stops—all while improving the safety and quality of life of our communities,” said Mayor Bottoms. “We are grateful that Bloomberg Philanthropies has recognized the City’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety using innovative approaches.”

With this Bloomberg Asphalt Art Initiative grant, the Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT) will use a “tactical urbanism” concept to make quick, low-cost, and transformative changes in the Adams Park community, focusing primarily on Boulevard Granada.  A tactical walk lane featuring asphalt artwork will connect two existing sidewalks between Cascade Elementary School, local businesses and MARTA stops. 

The artwork will be installed on the pavement to increase visibility and allow for community expression. This project also proposes to install an artistic crosswalk at the busy intersection of Cascade Road (a city arterial and high injury network corridor) and Boulevard Granada.  The tactical walk lane and artwork will meet the standards outlined in the city of Atlanta’s 2020 Tactical Urbanism Guide.

“Asphalt art projects help cities reclaim public spaces, make them brighter and safer, and build community – all important goals, especially amid the continuing hardships of the pandemic,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “Cities that tap into the power of public art bring new life and energy to city streets, inspiring residents and fostering a shared spirit of neighborhood pride. There can be real civic strength in public art, and this program helps cities capitalize on it.”

Tactical Urbanism is an effective, low-cost way of demonstrating safety-related improvements to city streets, said Betty Smoot-Madison, ATLDOT Mobility Planning Director. “We are excited to create a beautiful space for Adams Park residents that will improve connectivity and access between neighborhood amenities, while also helping to calm traffic and speeding on this residential street.”

Atlanta is one of 26 U.S. cities to receive an Asphalt Art Initiative grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies.  The cities were awarded up to $25,000 to install projects in 2022-23 using art and design to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and engage residents of their communities. This program is inspired by work done to improve pedestrian safety and revitalize New York City streets during Michael R. Bloomberg’s mayoralty (2002-2013) and the work of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ pro bono consulting arm Bloomberg Associates advising cities on implementing asphalt art projects.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative responds to the growing number of cities around the world embracing art as an effective and relatively low-cost strategy to enliven and improve safety in their streets through interventions on plazas, sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections, and other transportation infrastructure.  The grant program, which also includes providing cities technical assistance by urban design firm Street Plans Collaborative, is intended to create vibrant new public spaces, build local interagency collaborations, and increase each city’s capacity to work with artists as well as community groups on projects involving transportation infrastructure.

The other cities awarded the grant include: Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; Kodiak, AK Memphis, TN; Tallahassee, FL; and Tucson, AZ.

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