Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

Atlanta is Blowing Safety Money on a Flashy Ped Bridge

2:18 PM PDT on July 30, 2019

Rendering: CPL

A pedestrian bridge rising over the Atlanta Falcons' stadium site is becoming a symbol of the city's misplaced priorities.

Pedestrian advocates say the city has about $1 billion in needed sidewalk and curb-ramp repair work. But such necessary safety investments are being shortchanged in favor of a $33 million pedestrian bridge over Northside Drive, between the Mercedes Benz Stadium and a MARTA station.

The costs of the bridge have climbed almost $10 million since the project's genesis, bringing Atlanta's contribution to $27 million, the urbanist site ThreadATL reports.

Worse, thanks to lack of funds, the city is putting on hold other complete-streets projects that would offer real safety benefits to a greater number of pedestrians than does a bridge catering only to a select number of stadium goers. City leaders recently cut such projects off the city's "Renew Atlanta" bond list for lack of funding. Meanwhile, the pedestrian bridge ate up $19 million in "Renew Atlanta" bond funding — when it wasn't among projects voters approved for such funds in the first place.

Darin Givens, a local walkability advocate, says it would have been much smarter to design a street-level safe crossing at Northside Drive. In fact, that's what the neighborhood -- Vine City -- called for in its master plan.

"It’s an amazing sum for a pedestrian bridge that basically serves the needs to people who are driving to the parking lots of Northside Drive so they can walk in the pedestrian bridge to the stadium," he told Streetsblog. "It basically gets pedestrians off the street so they don’t get slowed down."

"It’s completely antithetical to what we should be doing," he said. "We should be promoting more transit use."

The pedestrian bridge, however, was supported by Atlanta's previous mayor, Kasim Reed. ThreadATL's Lauren Welsh said the mayor wanted "something fancy for Super Bowl 2019."

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Friday Bikeways Update: Beach Bike Path Damage, 7th Street, and More

Updates on: beach bike path in Pacific Palisades, Michigan Greenway in Santa Monica, Parthenia Place in North Hills, 7th Street Streetscape in DTLA, and Imperial Highway near LAX

March 1, 2024

Measure HLA Fact Check: Sidewalk Costs

The city says $200 million worth of annual ADA work is "included in the cost" of Measure HLA, but the city is already on the hook for that ADA work anyway, so none of it should be included as HLA costs

March 1, 2024

Supervisor Hahn Calls for No Residential Demolitions in Metro’s 710 Freeway Corridor Project

"[For 710 Freeway expansion] Metro needs to commit itself to zero residential property takes. [Metro] should have as one its top priorities ensuring that our projects do not result in kicking people out of their homes."

February 29, 2024
See all posts