By Dan Hourigan, Director of Transportation and Sustainability, Midtown Alliance
It’s unanimous! Everyone is dissatisfied (for differing reasons) with what is happening at Atlanta’s curbs. Drivers are frustrated when the delivery truck is blocking a travel lane; people on bikes fume about the frequency of vehicles parked in bike lanes; and the lack of consistent enforcement has everyone exasperated. The term “wild west” has frequently been used to describe Atlanta’s curbside situation.
These issues are a byproduct of a number of things – the massive growth in online purchasing of goods; Uber and Lyft, the addition of new bike lanes; gaps in policy; and me-first decision-making just to name a few. In a rapidly densifying mixed-use environment like Midtown, the demand on the curb is constant. Over the years, curbside activity has expanded and accelerated along our City’s busiest corridors. Keeping pace with Atlanta’s growth will require a block by block look at how we can make the best use of our curbsides.
That is why Midtown Alliance has partnered with Central Atlanta Progress and the City of Atlanta to develop the Atlanta Curbside Management Action Plan. This plan, shaped by public feedback over the next few months and implemented starting later this year, will identify a set of strategies and policies that align with the City’s larger goals around equity, mobility, and economic development.
The Atlanta Curbside Management Action Plan will address all activities at the curb, including:
- Commercial Loading
- Taxi, Uber, Lyft, and Food Delivery Use
- Transit Access
- Bike Activity
- Micromobility Activity (E-scooters and more)
- Pedestrian Access and adherence to ADA regulations
- Valet operations
Taking a holistic and proactive approach to curb management can help promote safety, improve transit reliability and disabled access, reduce congestion, and support small business. Not every curb can serve every need, but a plan developed with stakeholders at the table and with flexibility in mind can create a much more accessible and user-friendly city.
A steering committee made up of stakeholders from the City of Atlanta, Downtown, Midtown, transit agencies, delivery companies, micromobility companies and neighborhood organizations will help inform and guide the Curbside Management Action Plan.
We also invite everyone who spends time in Downtown and Midtown Atlanta to take part in our workshops to help identify our curbside issues and opportunities. During our first workshop on February 2021 attendees shared their biggest frustrations with the city’s current curbs, including lack of enforcement, unsafe conditions and conflicts with loading vehicles. They also ranked their top priorities for how curbs should be used, with walking, ADA access and transit ranking near the top and parking ranking at the very bottom. Hearing this feedback will ultimately help planners balance the city’s various demands for the curb, from public transit and cyclists to delivery drop-offs and parking.
At our second workshop, happening this spring, we’ll share some initial recommendations for the area’s curb spaces and seek more feedback from attendees. Our goal is to test and evaluate a handful of strategies later this year in Midtown and Downtown and finalize the plan in late Fall. The outcomes from this plan have the potential to improve the curb for everyone and elevate the city as an example that other cities can follow.
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