This Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Atlanta Streets Alive will shut down a 2.7 mile section of Peachtree Street for people to use for whatever they want - including but not limited to biking, skating, break dancing, rapping, and pushing cats in strollers. The only stipulation is that people can't operate anything other than human-powered forms of transportation. (Sorry, Segway enthusiasts.) The route runs from Ellis Street, past Ponce de Leon Avenue, and ends at Spring Street.
The idea for closing public roads originated in Bogotá, Colombia, where, today, 70 miles of roads are designated car-free for several hours every Sunday. In the mid-1980's, the idea spread to North America, where several cities take part in the tradition.
The event is organized by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and includes the city among its sponsors. Public roads are designated for many uses other than driving, and the event seeks to promote healthier alternatives rather than relying on a 2,000-pound, gas-burning machine to take you to your destination.
"Streets are publicly owned assets but on most days are used mainly by cars," event organizers say. "On this day, people can regain ownership of the streets they pay taxes to build and maintain - and transform them into crazy fun healthy, living streets for all to enjoy."
Atlanta Streets Alive has previously taken place on Highland Avenue around Virginia-Highland and Old Fourth Ward. Last October, the event drew 20,000 attendees.
Even Mayor Kasim Reed has gotten in on the trend. Last February, after the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition presented Reed with the "Most Bike-Friendly Elected Official" award, he announced a $50,000 donation to help expand the auto-free street festival.
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