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Adopt the Street Design Policy drafted by the Department of City Planning

In November 2016, voters approved a referendum authorizing the City of Atlanta T-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation) that will generate approximately $300 million over a five-year period to fund transportation projects citywide, including $75 million for 15 Complete Streets projects.

The lack of a Street Design Policy leaves a void in our current policy structure. The Atlanta City Code and the City of Atlanta Public Right-of-Way Manual provide general information regarding permitted constructions and activities conducted under a permit, franchise agreement, or special agreement within the City’s right-of-way. However, these statutes do not provide legal standards for designing streets in the City. Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Design Policy Manual (DPM) only has limited application - to projects along state highways, state bikeways,and projects funded by GDOT. The absence of a legal guide to local street design can prompt liability concerns among traffic engineers, and can build roadblocks to creating good street designs.

 

 

Image Credit: National Association of City Transportation Officials

The City of Atlanta Department of City Planning (DCP) has responded to the demands for street design policy by devising the “Move Atlanta: A Design Guide for Active, Balanced, & Complete Streets.” The process of drafting this manual started in 2012. Adapted from the Los Angeles County Model Design Manual for Living Streets, Move Atlanta provides guidelines for Complete Streets designs --- ranging from project development, roadway designs, intersection designs, sidewalk designs, pedestrian crossings, bikeway designs, transit accommodations, traffic calming, and green infrastructure. Though the adoption of a Complete Streets design manual is influential in determining how safe a city is to transit and active transportation users, the City of Atlanta has not approved ordinance 15-O-1343 to formally adopt the Move Atlanta. Two years have passed since its first introduction to the City Council, but still, as of June 2017, the status of this ordinance is returned as held to the Community Development/Human Services committee.

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition recommends that elected officials:

  1. Institute performance measure metric in “Move Atlanta" to evaluate how well the streets are serving users of all ages and abilities.

  2. Ensure that “Move Atlanta” is well-aligned to the engineering component of the ATL Vision Zero — a comprehensive strategy of achieving a city goal of zero traffic deaths.


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