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Atlanta Mayor Puts Brakes On Baker Street Two-Way Conversion

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she needs more time before she can sign off on a plan to turn a half-mile stretch of Baker Street downtown from one-way to two-way. 
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she needs more time before she can sign off on a plan to turn a half-mile stretch of Baker Street downtown from one-way to two-way. 
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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Updated Thursday at 4:44 p.m.

More time.

That’s what Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says is needed before she can sign off on a plan to turn a half-mile stretch of Baker Street downtown from one-way to two-way.

“We are continuing to get concerns from the business community and our residents,” said Bottoms. “I thought it was really an opportunity for us to take a step back and make sure that we’ve done our due diligence”

Bottoms cited safety as one of her top concerns.

The City Planning Commission had studied the change for months and held public input sessions. The ordinance was approved by City Council on all 11-4 vote, but on Tuesday, Bottoms vetoed the measure.

The part of Baker Street that was slated for conversion is between Piedmont Ave. and Centennial Olympic Park Dr. It was supposed to be the first downtown street converted from one-way to two-way.

Tim Keane, Atlanta’s city planning commissioner told WABE’s Closer Look last month he’s considering converting all one-way streets downtown into two-way streets in an effort to make downtown businesses more accessible and its streets more pedestrian friendly.

The reason Keane gave for choosing Baker Street first was that it would have been, in his words, the easiest.

“Tim is a seasoned professional so I trust his judgement,” said Bottoms.  “But we are all on the same page that…just so that we can give the reassurances we need to our business community and our residents, that we just probably need to take a step back.”

Bottoms on Thursday morning, along with other officials, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Phase II of the Belt Line’s Eastside Trail, linking Memorial Drive to Midtown.

Bottoms also sent a letter to City Council President Felicia Moore on Thursday afternoon explaining her veto saying in part “because my administration is committed to ensuring that major transportation investments are accountable, transparent, and are reached through an informed decision-making process, the proposed Baker Street two-way conversion investment will be the subject of a comprehensive evaluation and a priority project of the newly created Department of Transportation.”