Midtown’s Future Public Spaces, Hidden in Plain Sight
BY Julie Harlan, Midtown Alliance Transportation Project Manager
Coming soon: another community gathering spot on Peachtree Street in the form of a parklet.
What is a “parklet,” you ask? A parklet is a sidewalk extension created by repurposing parking spaces to provide more space and amenities for people using the street. In response to a severe lack of public gathering spaces in Midtown (just 1.2 acres of publicly owned parks and plazas in the 770 acres of the Midtown core) and strong community demand for these kinds of spaces, Midtown Alliance has begun building out several small public spaces. These include wood-decked parklets on Spring Street and a more permanent version at Commercial Row Commons.
Now we’ve set our sights on creating a parklet at the corner of 11th and Peachtree Streets out of space that is hidden in plain sight. We believe this location has big parklet potential. This section of 11th Street is excessively wide for the number of vehicles that travel on it. By repurposing some of this space as a parklet, we can enhance existing business and pedestrian activity in the area, as well as slow down cars to make the street safer for everyone.
The plan is to deck over three on-street parking spaces, similar to the parklets installed in 2022 at Spring and Peachtree Place. The parklet will take advantage of the existing, mature tree canopy and create a space that is a welcoming refuge for those who want to meet a friend, enjoy a bite to eat, or experience the pulse of the city.
The parklet will include an ADA-accessible ramp, a bike and scooter corral, and welcoming lighting. A variety of seating options will be provided as well as lots of planters and greenery.
The 11th Street parklet fits nicely into the context of Midtown Alliance’s new “public life action plan,” previewed at our 2023 Annual Meeting.
This action plan was developed in partnership with urban design consulting firm Gehl Studio, which defines “public life” as the street-level experiences people create together when we’re not at home, at our workplace or in the car. The plan emphasizes the importance of access to thriving public spaces in Atlanta’s post-pandemic future as a key driver of community transformation, value creation and resiliency.
To that end, we’ll be working with partners such as property owners and the City of Atlanta to identify potential future public spaces and make them a reality.
What’s exciting about this space in the public right-of-way is that it is truly for everyone – residents, patrons of surrounding restaurants and businesses, office workers and other visitors. Midtown Alliance has submitted our final construction plans for the parklet to the City, and once we establish a memorandum of understanding to maintain the park and are able to hire a contractor, we look forward to beginning construction this year. Stay tuned!
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