Between the collapse of the I-85 bridge, the I-20 buckling, and the latest 5th street sinkhole, traffic is worse than ever (and to think that was even possible)! Sure, our commutes have gotten longer and more inconvenient but getting to and from work has never really been a party. Lucky for you, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Atlanta Streets Alive is a pedestrian’s daydream and they’re kicking off their first of three routes today.
Hear Jordyne Krumroy, the communications & outreach manager for ABC, talk about where Streets Alive is rolling out routes in 2017, why open streets are better for the community, and the few surprises they have up their sleeves. Then throw on your best tennies and head to ASA – and don’t you dare pick up your keys and drive over.
Background of Atlanta Streets Alive. What are the 2017 routes you’re rolling out; why these communities?
Atlanta Streets Alive, organized by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, is part of an international movement called, “open streets.” Atlanta Streets Alive opens streets for people by temporarily closing them to cars to create a whole new healthy, sustainable and vibrant city street experience. Our hope is that the experiences of Atlanta Streets Alive will change how we communally view and use our public streets.
We’ve been organizing Atlanta Streets Alive since 2010 and usually introduce a new route every few years. For 2017, we are excited to announce a new route on the Westside, which will run along Howell Mill and Marietta Street. For several years, residents of the Westside have been requesting Atlanta Streets Alive in their neighborhood. After compiling testimonies and researching the local infrastructure (with lacking active transportation options), we agreed that this location would further our emphasis on equitable transportation options, living streets, health, and civic pride. Since the city has allocated funding to make Howell Mill a “complete street” (aka, a street that is viable for people on foot, bike, wheelchair, car, stroller, etc), Atlanta Streets Alive will allow neighbors to witness livable streets so they can better influence the implementation of the complete streets project.
To read about why we are not returning to Highland & Boulevard, click here.
Besides the fact that it’s refreshing to clear the Atlanta streets constantly congested w/ cars honking at one another as they sit bumper to bumper in traffic, why is ASA so important for the community?
Atlanta Streets Alive creates opportunity for community. It allows people to re-imagine what their streets could look like. It gets us active, it inspires community action, and it connects neighborhoods that have often been disconnected. In a city where neighborhoods are split by racial and economic lines, it’s so important that we learn to play, explore, and travel together. Simply put, Atlanta Streets Alive opens the opportunity for residents to connect in new, active ways and we hope those ways change the way we move.
The first open streets initiative was Ciclovía in Spain which now hosts 1.5M people annually. Can you talk about Atlanta Streets Alive impact? How do you want to grow?
In 2016, over 376,122 people participated in Atlanta Streets Alive. That’s pretty amazing when we remember that Atlanta Streets Alive is just one program that our staff of seven makes happen! Our hope is that Atlanta Streets Alive will continue to create “ah ha” moments where people recognize that infrastructure is built for people and that we can define what we value.
What can cyclers and walkers anticipate this year? Any surprises or fun initiatives we can expect?
We’ve got two new features up our sleeves this year! First, we’re launching #ASARadio! DJ Mike Zarin of Zegi, is a sponsor of Atlanta Streets Alive and we are mutual fans. Not only will he be living spinning in the Westside, but he’ll be streaming his music which can be heard at speakers along the route, as well as on personal devices (day of only) by clicking this link.
Secondly, we’re offering a kid zone on Ralph David Abernathy between Hank Aaron & Pollard. This section will be concentrated with kid-friendly activities, and volunteers helping participants safely navigate intersections. Whether you have kids to bring or are just a kid at heart, there’s something for everyone!
How can the community support ABC and Streets Alive?
Photos are property of Atlanta Streets Alive.