Aug 28, 2023 - News

Beltline parking minimum ordinance hits roadblock

Illustration of a pencil eraser erasing the lines in a parking lot.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

New drive-thrus and gas stations within a half-mile of the Beltline might soon be a thing of the past. The battle against parking spots near the popular trail and park loop continues, however.

Driving the news: Last week, the Atlanta City Council passed two ordinances aimed at reducing vehicle traffic near the Beltline, a nearly $5 billion public investment designed to make Atlanta easier to access without a car.

  • Sponsored by Council member Jason Dozier, the approved law prohibits suburban-style drive-thrus and drive-ups and gas pumps near the Beltline.

Yes, but: Dozier's legislation to lift the requirement that developments and businesses provide a minimum number of parking spots within one-half mile of the Beltline was whacked back to the review process, frustrating mobility and urbanism advocates.

  • One of the main reasons: The city and some neighborhoods have used so-called "parking minimums" policies to push back against problem bars and other nightlife businesses.

What they're saying: "Eliminating parking minimums is a progressive policy happening in cities all over the nation," Darin Givens of urbanism advocacy group Thread ATL wrote.

  • "This reasoning for keeping them near the Beltline is very suburban in nature. These are the concerns of people who want to keep Atlanta suburban, even near its hallmark urban path/transit project."

Details: The legislation wouldn't prohibit parking near the fast-growing Beltline; it'd tell developers they didn't have to build it.

  • The goal: reduce the use of cars near the growing project, spark more walkable streets, and support bicycling, pedestrian and public transit efforts.

The other side: Some Council members, including Antonio Lewis, who represents southeast Atlanta, said communities should have tools to help shape or fight developments, the AJC reports.

Zoom in: Drive-thrus and gas stations are already prohibited along some parts of Ponce de Leon and North avenues.

What's next: The legislation goes back to the Zoning Review Board for study.

  • Dozier told Axios he wants the initiative to be top on the agenda for discussion.

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