Cascade Road, Cascade Avenue, and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard are three sections of one critical corridor that serves dozens of Southwest Atlanta neighborhoods.
Two of the three sections, Cascade Road and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, are part of the High-Injury Network and ranked among the most dangerous roads in the city of Atlanta. The third section -- connecting these two High Injury streets -- is Cascade Avenue.
On January 19, 2019, David Gordon, a 52-year-old beloved longtime resident of Cascade Ave, was struck and killed by a driver while crossing Cascade Ave. He was in a crosswalk. The collision happened less than a quarter-mile mile from where the street name changes to Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard.
Thanks to the persistent work of community leaders and local advocates, in March 2019, Cascade Road in District 11 received funding to become a Complete Street. Complete Streets are roads with safe spaces for people in all modes of transportation, whether they are walking, biking or scooting, and driving. The Cascade Road project will improve access to the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve and create safer streets for biking, walking, and driving. A section of Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard in Westview was funded as well and completed in 2018.
The Cascade Avenue section of the corridor received design-only funding for the Complete Street and a budget to resurface the road. Resurfacing this section of Cascade Avenue allows for some minimal safety improvements, such as narrowing lanes and repainting existing crosswalks. What it doesn’t pay for are things like Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (a red light to protect people using crosswalks; see figure below), medians, and sidewalks.
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon protects pedestrians crossing Buford Highway.
(Source: U.S. Department of Highway Safety)
Join communities along Cascade Ave in calling on the City of Atlanta to create a safer Cascade through the funded resurfacing project.306 signatures
On the crash heat map below, the intersection of Cascade Avenue and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard is marked by glowing red and yellow embers, meaning many people walking have been hit by cars at this crossing.
Update: the Howell Mill complete street project made it onto the City Council approved list for Renew/TSPLOST funding! We'll celebrate at the kickoff to Atlanta Streets Alive Cross-City on Sunday, June 9th.
Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street are the primary roadways for what was once a heavy industrial meat-packing district on the Westside. Now, development, density, and desirable destinations have exploded in the area and exposed the need for a safer and more accessible way to connect this critical north-south corridor to the rest of the city. The combination of new bike lanes on Marietta Street, and Luckie/PATH Parkway have made it much safer getting to the Westside from Downtown, but there is an urgent need for safer routes throughout the district, starting with Howell Mill Road.
Howell Mill Road is a key north-south corridor that connects the Upper Westside, Georgia Tech and Downtown Atlanta. Howell Mill Road, between Collier Road and W. Marietta Street, is set to become a Complete Street through the Renew Atlanta bond, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2015.
Unfortunately, the Howell Mill Road suffered the same frustrating delays as many other Complete Street projects proposed in the Renew Atlanta and T-SPLOST programs, after the City had to go through a painful reprioritization process to pare down the project list. The good news is that Howell Mill Road is still on the list and is moving forward.
The Upper Westside Community Improvement District (CID) has been a staunch advocate for this project and others to improve bike and scooter access and safety. You can see a map with their priority projects on their website.
They offered the following update for December 2019:
The Howell Mill Complete Street Project has been working through the intricacies of the raised bike lane design and right-of-way (ROW) needs but reached 90% Plans in Q4 of 2019. The Renew Atlanta team and the POND/Jacobs design teams are addressing comments received by each City department on this plan set. Renew is also coordinating with utility companies about the necessary relocations. ROW acquisition has not started yet but the approximately 18-month long process is expected to begin early 2020.
Map showing Cycle Atlanta Alignments for a complete and connected network of high-quality bicycle facilities in the core of the city.
Another important project for cyclists and other non-motorized users is the Brady Avenue bike lane, which was part of the Cycle Atlanta Plan Phase 1.0 for the area. It has a new life as part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Safer Streets. Local partners have pledged to fund the project, and outreach has begun with property owners. The Brady Avenue bike lane is a small project, but it will help connect users from the PATH Parkway to more parts of the district as we wait for Howell Mill to go to construction.
Obviously, we would love to see both projects move as quickly as possible to make this part of the City more accessible for all users.
DeKalb Avenue is fast, dangerous, and out of control. In 2015, Atlanta voters overwhelming approved the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond to update and improve our streets, including a Complete Street for DeKalb Avenue.
Yet in 2019, after three years of public meetings, funding for the Complete Street on DeKalb Avenue was cut, leaving only resurfacing and replacing the reversible lane with a center turn lane and design for a future Complete Street in the budget. It's not clear where funding would come from to actually build it.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, along with community members and neighborhoods along DeKalb, is continuing the fight for a DeKalb that serves more than high-speed traffic speeding through our communities. DeKalb Ave connects 11 neighborhoods -- all but 1 wrote letters of support for a Complete Street.
We are calling for any project, including repaving, that affects this key, flat corridor to make the road safer -- for everyone. The resurfacing project should include a buffer between people walking on the sidewalk and cars, and a place for people to bike.
The City of Atlanta retained Arcadis as the design firm for the striping design for the first phase of resurfacing on this project. They are pursuing short-term safety improvements that can be accomplished within the resurfacing project, with an eye toward long-term improvements that can be built in a future second phase.
The design team intends to begin meeting again with various local stakeholders in January and February 2020 to be followed by a public meeting. It's not yet clear when the design will be finalized and when the resurfacing project will go to construction.
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition remains an advocate for both long and short term solution to the dangerous conditions on DeKalb Avenue. The improvements should address the glaring gap in bike facilities stretching from the Stone Mountain PATH trail to the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA station.170 signatures
Click here for more background on our campaign for a safe and complete DeKalb Ave.