Atlanta is planning for some big events in the coming years: college football championships in 2018, the Super Bowl in 2019, and the NCAA Final Four in 2020.
Ahead of the sporting events that are expected to bring millions into downtown Atlanta, the city is trying to create a "bright lights district" reminiscent of New York City's Times Square and London's Piccadilly Circus. Currently the city is hoping to expand the limits of signage size to allow larger billboards and LED boards for video ads.
Jennifer Ball, CAP's VP for Planning and Economic Development says the larger goal is to get more people downtown on foot.
Atlanta is known for its incredible sprawl, with its more walkable neighborhoods scattered throughout the city and thus only easily accessed via automobile. The city is aiming to make itself denser and more pedestrian-friendly, and the district is, according to Ball, “a piece of the puzzle.” To further that goal, the bright lights district would also include more housing and ground-level retail outlets and restaurants. “Atlanta wants to have a strong core that is walkable and bikeable and has the level of density to support a lifestyle where you don’t have to be in your car all the time,” Ball says.