We're celebrating a success for this campaign! Safe Routes to School is funded in the City of Atlanta's FY '22 budget.
It was once the norm for kids to bike around their neighborhoods and to school. Biking provided independence for growing kids while giving them physical activity and access to social networks. In 1969, 50% of kids walked or biked to school. But by 2009, just 13% did.
That’s why one of our City of Atlanta Policy Agenda recommendations is for the Atlanta Department of Transportation to create a Safe Routes to School program, prioritizing safety for schools near the High-Injury Network. Atlanta’s students deserve reliable City funding that supports their success by establishing safe transportation options that make communities more livable and prevent displacement.
All children benefit from increased physical activity — having safe ways to walk, bike, scoot, or skate to school makes it easier to incorporate exercise into their daily routines. According to the September 2017 Active Transportation Policy Brief for Atlanta Public Schools:
Regular physical activity and higher levels of physical fitness are linked to improved cognitive development, academic performance, and brain function — including attention and memory, plus fewer health related absences.
In the City of Atlanta between 2012-2015, 44 percent of bicycle crashes and 53 percent of pedestrian crashes occurred within a half-mile of an Atlanta school. Programs supporting safe active transportation to and from school improve safety through measures like traffic calming, student education, and infrastructure improvements.
When students start biking or walking to school, it positively affects the whole community. For example, we've discovered that parents also become interested in how they can improve the safety of streets in their communities. It also affords more exercise opportunities for the whole family, and children begin healthy, sustainable habits that can inform their transportation choices later in life.
Leading up to the City of Atlanta’s budget hearings, we’ve spoken with City officials about solidifying funding for a Safe Routes to School program. We’re pleased to report the Atlanta Department of Transportation and the Mayor’s Office have been very receptive — we’re told funding to hire a Safe Routes to School program staffer is slated for Atlanta Department of Transportation’s FY 2022 budget.33 signatures
Help make sure this key program makes it through budget hearings and potential cuts — sign this petition and let your city councilmember and the mayor know Safe Routes to School is critical to happy, healthy, successful students and their families.
The goal of this state road project is to make Moreland Avenue safer for people on foot and on bike, between Mansfield and Austin Aves. (Several years ago, a person riding a bike was killed in this section as they pulled out onto Moreland.)
The state DOT's concept report states "studies show that an increase in pedestrian, cycling and vehicular volumes has taken place along the corridor. Crash data from 2008-2013 indicates that approximately 252 crashes occurred along SR 42/Moreland Ave from Dekalb Ave to McClendon Ave. Of these crashes, six were pedestrian injuries and one was a bike fatality."
Neighborhood bike advocates and the City of Atlanta Planning Office have been involved in the design, and did not settle for painted bike lanes. Instead, the current design includes a raised bike lane, as well as wider sidewalks and safe crossings. While barrier-separated, protected bike lanes on busy roads are always the safest option, they may not be possible on Moreland because NACTO guidelines recommend a minimum of 3' to add a raised barrier.
Here’s what was presented at the public meeting June 7, 2017:
Bike lanes raised 3” above the street level and 3” below the sidewalk level.
Bike lanes would be 7’ wide - including a 2’ painted buffer.
Timeline - During Summer 2017, they will stripe standard bike lanes for a quick safety improvement and reduce lane widths on general lanes to reduce speeds. In 2019, bicycle lanes upgraded to raised.
Here's what we told GDOT - feel free to include this in your comment supporting the project:
- We support high quality, raised bike lanes and pedestrian crossings for SR 42/Moreland Avenue from Dekalb Avenue to Mansfield Avenue.
To make the project even better, find a way to add a barrier between the raised bike lane and the general travel lane, so that people on bikes are separated from all those trucks. While the idea of separating people on foot from those on bikes is a good one, it's all relative. Trucks have the potential to do more damage to a person biking in a crash, so we think it's more important to separate those two modes from each other.
Add a crossing near the DeKalb Avenue interchange, and make the exit ramp from DeKalb form a "T" intersection, to encourage drivers entering Moreland to make a full stop first.
- We like the diagonal crossing at Euclid as a way to make that crossing safer and easier for people on bikes, and it helps make up for the lack of bike lanes north of Euclid.
Read GDOT's Response to Public Comment Here: GDOT's Response to 6/7/17 Open House Comments