Why Peachtree?

ABC's Connecting the City campaign focuses on bikeways for three important cross-town corridors: Peachtree Street, DeKalb Avenue, and Lee Street. Most people would agree that Atlanta needs safe, convenient, and continuous bikeways to make getting across town by bike possible for more people.

But some are asking - why Peachtree Street? Aren't there bike facilitiies in place or planned for parallel one-way streets? Good question. Here's our thinking... [or visit Change.org to skip all that and sign the petition!]

1. Opportunity for continuous bike connection

Peachtree Center Avenue is getting a two-way protected bike lane aka cycletrack, and Peachtree Street from Peachtree Center Avenue to Pine Street is slated for bike lanes. Peachtree Road over the connector is being proposed for bike lanes through Brookwood. By filling in the gap in the middle - through the heart of Midtown - we can create over 4 miles of safe and welcoming bikeways. 

2. Topography, topography, topography (it's flat)

Peachtree Street was built along the ridgeline, so it's much flatter than the one-way pairs flanking it. Atlanta was once called the "city of 100 hills," which makes biking to get places a challenge. Any time we have the opportunity to open up biking to a larger percentage of the population by adding bikeways to flatter streets, we should take it. 

3. Plenty of other options for through traffic - including transit

Parallel one-way streets including Spring Street, West Peachtree, Juniper/Courtland, and Piedmont are all high capacity and carry heavy through traffic. If you want to get somewhere quickly by car, these are better bets than Peachtree Street, which is used by tourists visiting our city and people seeking local destinations.

Adapting the one-way streets for biking would take more lanes from more streets than simply designating Peachtree as our bikeable street. The one-ways have traditionally been used for carrying more and faster traffic, for example GRTA buses on West Peachtree. 

The Juniper Street project - a one way cycletrack (protected bike lane with planter separating from traffic) - will provide a higher level of service for people biking through or connecting with Ponce, but those traveling to a destination on Peachtree would still benefit from the bike lanes. 

Peachtree also has ample MARTA access, with no fewer than six MARTA stations from Midtown to Downtown, as well as local bus service. [To the question of - what if the streetcar is extended north on Peachtree - there are no imminent plans, and bike lanes being added now would not prevent the city from moving in another direction further into the future if the funding / desire for more streetcars is found.]

4. Destinations

Peachtree Street has more destinations than the adjacent one-way pairs. Even if we add bikeways to those streets, cyclists will continue to bike on Peachtree if that's where they're going, and it often is.

5. Safety

Now that Ponce de Leon is becoming safer with a complete streets conversion, Peachtree has more bike crashes than almost any other Atlanta street. Many of Atlanta's current cyclists bike Peachtree already. Adding bike lanes would make those people safer, and help new people bike Peachtree.

Studies show that for every doubling of the number of people biking, the safety of each is tripled. Getting people on bikes off the sidewalks will also make it safer for people walking. 

6. Symbolism

Peachtree Street is the spine of Atlanta. Not only is it our most iconic street, it is home to major landmarks like the Fox Theatre, the High Museum of Art, Bank of America Tower, and Margaret Mitchell House, and traverses the three largest business districts (Midtown, Downtown, and Buckhead). Peachtree serves as the dividing line between East and West, provides the city’s best access to MARTA heavy rail service, and is home central for tourists and business visitors exploring the city. Creating bikeways on Peachtree Street would send a signal that our city is serious about becoming a place where people bikes are not just tolerated, but welcomed.

Conclusion

Peachtree could could be a major bike corridor - it's flat, connects destinations with neighborhoods, and offers ample MARTA access. We need safe, convenient, and continuous bikeways to make getting across town by bike possible for more people. Our focus is on three major corridors build along the flattest parts of the city - ridgelines and rail lines. These three key streets - Peachtree Street, Lee Street, and DeKalb Avenue – will become 13 miles of bicycle broadways that connect the city and people love to ride.