ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Atlanta City Council recently voted to close Edgewood Avenue between Jackson Street and Boulevard NE during weekends this summer to create a pedestrian-friendly area for businesses.

Nighttime traffic, street racing and other concerns have long plagued the stretch of road, where Brandon Ley and Johnny Martinez operate their two jointly-owned restaurants, Georgia Beer Garden and Joystick Gamebar. “Although this street is incredibly busy and very popular, it’s not as busy until later in the evening,” said Martinez. The evening is when it becomes a safety hazard for pedestrians.

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“It was my honor to introduce legislation reflecting the will of the community to close off those streets,” said Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong (Dist. 5). She co-sponsored the legislation with Councilman Amir Farokhi (Dist. 2) to barricade the block from June through Labor Day Weekend. It’s a pilot program for the summer that, if successful, could permanently take hold at this location and in other neighborhoods. “The neighbors and the business owners have been working together with the police for years trying to mitigate and to get in front of what they know is an annual event,” Archibong said, adding officials can move the blockades when needed to allow for emergency vehicles.

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Martinez says he and other business owners are excited, but he says there’s still one hurdle. “Our main concern with the road closure is the time of day that it starts. That makes it more difficult for these businesses to get their customers in,” he said. Drivers will see the barricades starting at 10 a.m. on Fridays until 10 a.m. on Mondays. “We would prefer that the shut down take place at 5 p.m. on Fridays and end by 9 a.m. on Mondays. If we can do that, I think you’re gonna see a lot more neighborhoods that want this,” said Martinez.

Archibong says the Atlanta Department of Transportation told them the later in the day the city puts barricades up, the heavier the traffic, creating a safety issue for workers. “Safety is our top priority,” she said. “Having a vibrant and thriving business community is important as well.”

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She says council will continue monitoring the situation to see if ADOT is willing to make any changes.