Long before any sneakers hit the pavement for Atlanta’s signature summer event, the city’s police and fire departments are working to ensure the safety of the thousands of participants and spectators expected to join in the sweaty fun of the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4.
There’s a likelihood for even bigger crowds than usual this year because the race will be the 50th run through downtown. But Atlanta police and firefighters say they have been planning for months and are ready for their roles in making the event a success.
“Even though we’ve done this over and over and over, we never take anything for granted,” Atlanta police Capt. Rodney Woody told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
All Atlanta police officers will be working, including Chief Erika Shields, and other state and federal law enforcement agencies will also assist for the race, Woody said. A joint operations center — similar to the one staffed a few months ago during the Super Bowl — will open at 4 a.m. the day of the race at Atlanta Police Department headquarters.
“For us, it’s all hands on deck,” Woody said. “Any event like this is a collaborative effort.”
APD strengthened relationships with other law enforcement agencies during the 10 days of Super Bowl events leading up to the big game on Feb. 3, Woody said. Keeping the Peachtree safe will again be a team effort.
“We want people to come out and have a good time,” Woody said. “We don’t anticipate any issues at all.”
Atlanta’s firefighters and paramedics are also gearing up for their role in the race: keeping everyone healthy on what promises to be a steamy day. Expect a hot, muggy Independence Day with a chance for scattered storms, according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz. The average high temperature for July 4 in Atlanta is 89 degrees, he said.
“It’s a race in the summer,” Atlanta Fire Department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said. “At some point, people will have some trouble.”
Two years ago, paramedics treated approximately 60 people for heat exhaustion, Stafford said.
Paramedics will patrol the race route on bikes and small all-terrain vehicles, and a larger command vehicle will also be nearby, Stafford said. The race course is from Lenox Square to 10th Street to just outside Piedmont Park.
Water stations are set up for runners throughout the race. But anyone who needs additional help or sees someone in distress should find the nearest police officer or firefighter. Paramedics will be prepared to transport anyone needing emergency care to a hospital, Stafford said.
“If something happens, we’ll be available,” he said.
Participants and spectators can help make the Peachtree enjoyable by planning ahead, police and fire officials said. Arrive early, even if just planning to watch the race, and consider taking MARTA, Woody said. Remember that many roads will be blocked as early as 5 a.m., and finding parking could be a challenge, he said.
What about Atlanta residents who prefer to avoid the race altogether? Police and firefighters will be ready to keep them safe, too.
“Just because the Peachtree Road Race is going on doesn’t mean the city stops,” Stafford said. “We still have to protect the rest of the city.”
Listing of Road Closures
Thursday, July 4 at 3:00 a.m.
• Peachtree Road between Lenox Road around Lenox Pkwy
Thursday, July 4 at 4:30 a.m.
• Peachtree Road from Lenox Road to Peachtree Dunwoody Road
• Around Lenox Road from Peachtree Road to Lenox Road
• Lenox Road from Peachtree Road to Ferncliff Road
• Buckhead Loop from Peachtree Road to GA 400
• Phipps Boulevard from Buckhead Loop to Wieuca Road
• Wieuca Road from Old Ivy Road to Roxboro Road
• Roxboro Road from Kingsboro Road to Peachtree Dunwoody Road
• Pritchard Road from Roxboro Road to Oak Valley Road
• Lakeside Road from Pritchard Road to Kingsboro Road
• Kingsboro Road from Roxboro Road to Lenox Road
• Oak Valley Road from Peachtree Road to E. Paces Ferry Road
Thursday, July 4 at 5:30 a.m.
Entire course will close at 5:30 a.m. Only official vehicle traffic will be permitted along the course. City of Atlanta Police officers and volunteers will assist pedestrians crossing the course but once the main start occurs at 7 a.m. this will be difficult.
Tuesday, July 2 – Thursday, July 4
• 10th Street from Charles Allen to Monroe Dr.
• Closed - July 2 ‐ 9:30 a.m. ‐ 3:00 p.m.
o Re‐opens - July 2 ‐ 3:00 p.m. ‐ 7:00 p.m.
• Closed July 2 ‐ 7:00 p.m. ‐ July 4 ‐ 3:00 p.m.
o Re-opens - July 4 3:00 p.m.
• 10th Street will close from Myrtle to Charles Allen on July 4 at 3:00 a.m.
• Monroe Drive will close between Virginia Ave. and Kanuga St. at 6:00 a.m. on July 4 and will remain closed until noon.
• Peachtree Place will be closed from Peachtree St. to West Peachtree St. at 8:00 a.m. on July 4 and remain closed until noon.
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