A Dedicated Street Racing Space Might Be Coming to Atlanta

Where car culture meets civic planning

Honda Civic
Living your life a quarter mile at a time...in Atlanta.
Alexander Migl/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / May 18, 2020 6:00 am

As people stay indoors in cities to avoid potentially contracting COVID-19, certain city governments have been experimenting with alternate functions for public streets. In some cases, this has involved closing them off to cars, so that locals can walk or bike around and get some exercise without having to dodge other pedestrians.

But there’s also been another surprising uptick since cities have been relatively dormant, and at least one city is considering doing something about that as well. The increase in question has to do with street racing, which a rising number of people have been engaging in as of late.

As Max Finkel reports at Jalopnik, Atlanta’s government is considering creating a dedicated space for street racing to take place.

… the plan, which remains loosely defined but essentially amounts to closing streets for races and donuts, was first recommended to Mayor Kiesha Lance Bottoms by her eighteen-year-old son. Mayor Bottoms then approached consultants from Bloomberg Associates working for the city to explore the feasibility of such a solution, where public roads would be blocked off to segregate drag racing and side-shows from regular traffic.

There’s been some pushback from within the city government about this — and questions of driver safety remain unanswered. (This is still, as Finkel notes, very early in the planning stages.) It does seem notable to see a city sanctioning behavior that might have been frowned upon a few months earlier.

As with many measures taken by municipal governments during this time of crisis, there’s a balance to be struck between overall safety and keeping people from feeling cabin fever. It’s not yet clear if this project is viable, but the fact that the questions are being asked at all is significant.

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