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The City of Atlanta faces major challenges in the realm of transportation, mobility, affordable housing, equity, climate change, and traffic safety.
In 2018 alone, the City will adopt an ambitious Comprehensive Transportation Plan, manage the rise of micro-mobility (scooters and dockless electric bikes), create affordable housing strategies around access to reliable transportation, deal with a backlog of Complete Streets projects under the Renew Atlanta program, meet the goals of Bloomberg's American Cities Climate Challenge, and, finally, confront the reality that the high concentration of crashes on Atlanta's High-Injury Network are preventable.
Is our current transportation structure up to the task?
In 2017, Councilmember At-Large Andre Dickens commissioned a study to find out. The feasibility study was an exhaustive independent review of our current transportation structure. Relying on dozens of stakeholder interviews with transportation professionals both in and outside Atlanta along with a comparative analysis of 11 peer cities across the U.S., the report found alarming deficiencies in our current structure. It proposed that the City "set a goal of consolidating all transportation functions in the City into a stand-alone transportation-focused department, led by a new Commissioner [and] name the agency the 'Atlanta Department of Mobility and Streets (ADMS).'"
Creating an Atlanta Department of Transportation would restructure our current transportation, public works, and planning tools in order to better leverage resources and streamline project delivery. It would be more efficient and better able to implement a strong vision for our city's equitable future.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition supports a stand-alone department dedicated to streets and mobility. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Councilmember At-Large Andre Dickens, and Councilmembers and City Leaders across Atlanta agree that the time is now.
What do we want?
After reviewing the feasibility study, our preferred option is for the Mayor to appoint an “Interim Director of Transportation” to establish the department with minimal political pressure.
After 9 months, the mayor would then appoint a permanent Director of Transportation to implement the strategic plan, facilitate communication within existing departments, and engage employees and stakeholders in the process of governance restructuring.
The Director of Transportation will report to the Mayor and Chief of Staff and will lead both the reorganization process and the newly created department.
How can you help?
There are two things you can do right now.
1. Sign the petition. That way we can communicate any urgent developments around this issue.
Cascade Road/Avenue is a critical corridor that serves dozens of Southwest Atlanta neighborhoods -- and it's one of the City's most dangerous streets on High-Injury Network.
The Renew Atlanta Bond approved by voters in 2015 was supposed to address this unsafe corridor by making it 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.
Thanks to the persistent work of community leaders and local advocates, in March 2019 Cascade Road in District 11 was funded to become a Complete Street. This project will improve access to the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve and create safer streets for biking, walking and driving.
But the Complete Street for Cascade Avenue east of Avon, near Kroger Citi Center and the BeltLine, was not funded. Cascade Ave was funded for resurfacing project, however. Failing to fund the entire complete street project perpetuates the concentration of unsafe streets in Southwest Atlanta and inequitable outcomes in our transportation network. Repaving will speed up traffic on an already dangerous corridor.
We are calling for the City of Atlanta to create a safer Cascade through the resurfacing project, by
- reducing the number of lanes (also known as a road diet) and lane widths -- both are proven ways to reduce motor vehicle speeds
- installing safer crossings, including a safer crosswalk near the crosswalk where David Gordon was killed, to ensure drivers see people crossing and stop in time
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.