In February 2021, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and PEDS announced that our two organizations were considering plans to merge. We are thrilled to share that in May both boards voted unanimously to move forward with the merger, and as of June 17, 2021 the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and PEDS have officially merged.
We are excited to join forces with PEDS’ leadership and community to strengthen our advocacy for an Atlanta where everyone moves safely, easily, and sustainably. As we move forward with the process, we will share relevant updates on the merger — including the timeline, process, and frequently asked questions — on this page.
February 2021: Announcement that the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and PEDS are in talks to consider merging
May 2021: Both Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and PEDS' boards vote to move forward with merger
June 2021: Complete legal requirements and announce the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and PEDS have formally merged
June 2021 - August 2021: Transfer PEDS’ assets to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition
2022: Unveil organization’s new name in alignment with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s new strategic direction
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the nature of this merger? Is a completely new organization being formed?
A: This merger is being completed as an asset transfer — PEDS will transfer its assets to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. After the merger is complete, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will remain an active nonprofit organization, and PEDS will be dissolved as a standalone organization.
Q: Will the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s name change and if so, when?
We put plans to change our name on hold to advance the merger, and in 2022, we will resume the process of changing our name to reflect our strategic plan adopted in 2019. That plan expanded our advocacy beyond bikes to include all forms of sustainable transportation — walking, using wheelchairs, riding transit, biking, scooting, and skating.
Q: Will Atlanta Bicycle Coalition take on new staff from PEDS after the merger is complete?
A: No, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s staff is not changing.
Q: I am a current PEDS donor and/or member. What does the merger mean for me?
A: PEDS’ 25 years of accomplishments are in good hands. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is a trusted, high-performing nonprofit organization. Founded 30 years ago by dedicated volunteers, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has earned a 100/100 rating from Charity Navigator and the Guidestar Gold Transparency level for its responsible stewardship of donor funds and programmatic achievements. We are committed to building on PEDS’ history and continuing to expand our capacity to advocate for pedestrian issues. One tangible step taken during the merger process was to dedicate a staffer’s time to participate in the Georgia Walking College. With grant funding, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will incorporate the PEDS Community Walking Champions program into its Community Advocates for Safe Streets initiative.
Q: I am a current Atlanta Bicycle Coalition donor and/or member. What does the merger mean for me?
A: In 2019, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition updated its mission and strategic plan to include all modes and users of sustainable transportation, including people who bike but adding in other groups such as transit riders, pedestrians, people who use wheelchairs, and people who scoot or skate. Therefore, this merger with PEDS will not change the mission, vision, or goals of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. We look forward to building on PEDS’ knowledge and expertise on pedestrian issues to continue to grow our advocacy and impact to cover more people and individuals who use active, sustainable transportation methods.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition remains a trusted, high-performing nonprofit organization whose success is made possible by donors. Merging our two organizations will allow us to operate even more efficiently, ensuring that donors’ resources have the maximum impact possible on making Atlanta a city in which everyone can move safely, easily, and sustainably.
Q: Since Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s advocacy covers the City of Atlanta and PEDS’ advocacy covers the Atlanta region and statewide work, what area will the organization’s advocacy cover post-merger?
A: The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has always engaged at the regional level, including decades of service on various Atlanta Regional Commission committees and stakeholder groups, such as the Regional Safety Task Force. While the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s primary focus is the City of Atlanta, our current strategic plan includes a commitment to transit advocacy and Families for Safe Streets, and with them, greater regional involvement. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has partnered closely with Georgia Bikes on state work, including bicycle and pedestrian legislation and working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to improve safety on state routes. In the future, our goal is to become effective advocates for safe streets and access to transit at both the local and regional levels.
Q: Will any of the current PEDS board of directors join Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s governing board?
A: PEDS has designated several of its current board members to join the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s board of directors. Those members who agree to join the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition board will be included on the board slate presented at the June 17 Blinkie Awards. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will also invite other past and current members of PEDS’ board to join Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s advisory council.
Q: What will happen to PEDS statewide Georgia Walks Summit?
A: The 2021 Georgia Walks Summit will be a combined event with Georgia Bikes. The Georgia Bike/Walk Summit will take place virtually October 20-23, 2021. Look out for more information from Georgia Bikes coming soon!
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.25 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.
On September 6, 2019, 14-year-old Jermaine “J.J.” Wallace, Jr. was killed by a speeding driver as he waited for the school bus on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.
“His mother rushed to the scene to find her son in critical condition laying in the street. Paramedics rushed the Douglas High freshman to Grady Memorial Hospital, but he did not survive. Dorothy Porter, who is a mother of four, fought back tears as she talked to FOX 5 Aungelique Proctor about the unexpected loss. ‘My son was the life of this house. My son was everywhere. Everybody loved Jermaine Jr. Everybody. My son was an honor roll student. He never missed school,’ Ms. Porter recalled."
In Atlanta, some 8% of Atlanta’s streets account for 88% of fatalities and 52% of severe injuries, and just 10 streets account for one-third of traffic fatalities. Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, named after the prominent Atlanta civil rights attorney, is among the ten most dangerous corridors forming Atlanta’s High-Injury Network.
High-Injury Network streets are not evenly distributed across the city — in fact, roughly two-thirds of the network is located west of Northside Drive or south of I-20. On the whole, neighborhoods with more miles of the High-Injury Network had lower median incomes, a larger share of Black residents, higher rates of walking, biking, and taking transit to work, and lower rates of vehicle ownership.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Pedestrian Safety Action Plan says Donald Lee Hollowell is one of the “top corridors in Georgia with clear patterns of pedestrian crashes that resulted in serious or fatal injuries,” and in 2019 its Atlanta Intown Multimodal Safety Analysis Study found that Hollowell was among the corridors with high rates of people being hit by speeding drivers.
For decades, residents have decried the lives lost and advocated for safety improvements for Donald Lee Hollowell. Tragically, their efforts were ignored — until recently.
In 2018, the City of Atlanta asked the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to make a section of Hollowell near the Bankhead MARTA station safer with a lane reduction to reduce speed. GDOT’s District 7 denied the request at the time, but the pressure to prioritize safety over speed on state routes continued to grow. Community activism combined with attention from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, PEDS, other organizations, elected officials, and City staff, along with GDOT’s own safety goals finally led to concrete results.
In 2019, following J.J.’s death, neighborhood leaders and elected officials organized a series of town hall meetings called “One Corridor.” Alongside public agencies and state elected officials, community members discussed the challenges facing people trying to use or cross Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.
Around this time, GDOT initiated an analysis of state routes in Atlanta. The study, released in 2020, found that redesigning the most dangerous corridors could save lives through safer street designs (find out why some roads are more dangerous than others).
One year after J.J.’s passing, in 2020, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) responded to community calls for safety with the announcement that it would install three signalized crossings on the corridor. GDOT installed one pedestrian crossing, outside the Johnnie B. Moore Towers senior center, in January 2021. As of May 7, 2021, the power company had not turned on electricity to the signal. The timeline for the remaining two signalized crosswalks, planned for Woods Drive and Eugenia Place, remained to be determined.
But better news was on the horizon.
In the summer of 2020, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition gathered community members to form the Donald Lee Hollowell Safe Streets Committee with support from the Energy Foundation. Following six weeks of training on the basics of safe street design and advocacy, the committee got to work.
Now, there's a major milestone for a safer Hollowell — the announcement that GDOT will convert 2.8 miles of the corridor to three lanes with a center turn lane. The safety project is intended to meet community demands to reduce the dangerous speeds, add a buffer between the roadway and the sidewalk, and make crossing the street on foot, bike/scooter, or wheelchair safer and easier.
This safety project, shown here on GDOT’s website, "proposes a 4-to-3-lane road diet between SR 280 / Hamilton E. Holmes Dr / James Jackson Pkwy and Stiff St. The project would reduce total crashes by as much 47% and create space within existing right-of-way to install short strategic medians for pedestrian refuge/prohibiting unsafe conflict points, turn lanes, and pedestrian crossings along the corridor."
At one end of this project, the intersection with Hamilton E. Holmes Drive / James Jackson Parkway, Hollowell transitions to two lanes. At the other end is Stiff Street, just past the Bankhead MARTA station. At this intersection, Hollowell has been widened to fluctuate between four and five lanes with a median.
A representative of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stated that her support for reducing the number of lanes on Hollowell, saying “she has made it clear that the safety improvements on Donald Lee Hollowell are a priority.”
The Donald Lee Hollowell Safe Streets Committee noted,
“We are honored to advocate for a corridor with such an inspirational namesake. Donald Lee Hollowell’s work should be further honored by improving the street to prioritize safety and inclusion.”
- High-Injury Network
- Georgia Department of Transportation Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
- Georgia Department of Transportation Board member Stacey Key celebrating the long road to a safer Donald Lee Hollowell in the AJC
- GDOT Project Information: 0017926 SR 8/US 278 FROM SR 280 TO CS 6701/STIFF STREET
Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in the news
- "Microsoft's planned Grove Park campus, other projects, spur urgency for pedestrian safety" (Atlanta Business Chronicle, July 2021)
- "Opinion: Improving safety on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway Corridor" (AJC, April 2021)
- "False text message enraged Atlanta residents over road project" (AJC, Feb 2021)
- "Atlanta council may override of mayor's veto on road deal" (AJC, Feb 2021)
- "'Relief' comes to Hollowell Parkway as crosswalk installed on deadly stretch of road" (AJC, Jan 2021)
- "Pedestrian unfriendly: after deaths on Hollowell Parkway, residents await fixes" (AJC, Oct 2020)
- "Police say pedestrian killed by hit-and-run driver" (AJC, Sep 2020)
- "GDOT to add crosswalk where 14-year-old was hit, killed while waiting for school bus" (AJC, Jan 2020)
- "Mother of teen killed in hit and run speaks" (Fox 5 Atlanta, Sep 2019)
- "Teen hit by car walking to school remembered for his kindness: He was a 'one-of-a-kind child'" (King5, Sep 2019)
Support the Donald Lee Hollowell Safe Streets Committee to make Hollowell safe for people by signing this petition to build the safety project, shown here on GDOT’s website. The project would include a "4-to-3-lane road diet between SR 280 / Hamilton E. Holmes Dr / James Jackson Pkwy and Stiff St. The project would reduce total crashes by as much 47% and create space within existing right-of-way to install short strategic medians for pedestrian refuge/prohibiting unsafe conflict points, turn lanes, and pedestrian crossings along the corridor." You'll also receive updates on opportunities to get involved as the project advances.
Margaret Mullins published Creating a More Equitable City through Mobility Policy Agenda: Atlanta Board of Education Recommendations in Sign our 2021 Policy Agenda 2021-03-26 11:55:17 -0400
Atlanta Board of Education Policy Agenda: Make it possible for kids to travel safely and sustainably to school
Create Safe Routes to School Plans
Atlanta Public Schools works with Atlanta and Georgia Departments of Transportation to create a Safe Routes travel plan for each school.
Improve Street Safety for Students
Atlanta Public Schools works with Atlanta Department of Transportation on street safety improvements for students who don’t receive bus service because they live inside the “walk zone.”
Implement Sustainable Education Curriculum
Atlanta Public Schools adds sustainable transportation education to the curriculum for all students.
Schools Set Multimodal Parking Standards
Atlanta Public Schools empowers local school leadership to set their own parking standards for cars, bikes, skateboards, and scooters.
Speed Camera Program Transparency
Atlanta Public Schools shares data from its speed camera program transparently, in order to provide accountability, prevent racial profiling associated with police enforcement, and inform street design.
Advocate for MARTA Youth Fares
Atlanta Board of Education members advocate for an equitable MARTA fare structure that makes transit affordable for families and free for young people.
In 1969, almost half of all students ages 5-14 walked or biked to school. By 2013, that figure dropped to 17.4 percent. Sedentary lifestyles have led to an epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. Overweight and obese children face an increased risk of health problems and are more likely to miss school and struggle academically. The pandemic has made us even more aware of the health benefits of exercise in maintaining strong respiratory and cardiology systems.
Atlanta Public Schools has the responsibility to help all children become more physically active by implementing proven strategies that promote walking, biking, and rolling to and from school. Physical education classes, recess, and after-school programs currently support students’ opportunities for physical activity, but more can be done. Measures like traffic calming, transportation safety education, and infrastructure improvements will further enhance students’ overall health and personal development through opportunities to increase physical activity, engage with their communities, and form life-long healthy transportation habits. This responsibility requires action, with a deliberate focus on children in school communities where negative health indicators are highly correlated with one’s zip code.
Education is fundamental to building future travelers who get around in ways that build community, save money, improve health, and conserve space. How kids get places today can be a good indicator of how they will move throughout the city tomorrow.
Public transportation, or transit, benefits everyone — even people who don’t use it. Transit cuts down on traffic, helps students and employees get to work on time, and is safer than other modes of travel.
Margaret Mullins published Creating a More Equitable City through Mobility Policy Agenda: City of Atlanta Transit & Affordability Recommendations in Sign our 2021 Policy Agenda 2021-03-26 11:55:06 -0400
City of Atlanta Policy Agenda: Transit & Affordability Recommendations
Atlanta City Council holds MARTA accountable to adopt an equitable transit fare structure and ensure stations are accessible to people using wheelchairs, walking, and biking.
City of Atlanta unbundles parking from rents — requiring that parking be charged separately — and eliminates minimum parking requirements for developments throughout the city, not just Downtown or Midtown.
Prioritize Equitable Transit-Oriented Development
City of Atlanta Department of Planning prioritizes Equitable Transit-Oriented Development in its Comprehensive Development Plan.
Invest Atlanta Utilizes Equity Evaluator
City of Atlanta requires Invest Atlanta to use the Equity Evaluator Tool developed by TransFormation Alliance when allocating public funds for developments.
City of Atlanta updates its zoning code to allow for more flexibility in what kinds of housing gets built, to allow more people to live near transit and to fix exclusionary zoning policies.
Bike Share Access
Atlanta Department of Transportation relaunches city bike share program to provide affordable first- and last-mile access to transit, especially in communities with low rates of car ownership.
Prioritize Affordable Housing Near Transit
City increases available funding for affordable housing, especially near transit, and MARTA increases quantity and affordability of housing required for Transit-Oriented Developments.
Public transportation, or transit, is a public good — it benefits everyone, even people who don’t use it. Transit cuts down on traffic, helps employees get to work on time, and uses less space than parking in cities where land use is at a premium. For those who rely on it or use it occasionally, public transportation is less expensive than car ownership, provides more chances for social interaction than sitting in traffic, and is the safest way to travel. Atlanta’s severe lack of solid transit options is a major barrier to economic and cultural development. It also hinders our ability to become more resilient in the age of climate change.
Sustainable transportation modes — biking, walking, riding transit, running, or using wheelchairs, strollers, skateboards, or scooters — are less expensive than owning a car. Yet the cost of driving is often built into other goods and services. Because Atlanta’s housing sector continues to grow more expensive and more burdensome on people’s budgets, we are looking for ways transportation policy can lower the cost of housing. When people are less burdened by housing costs, they are able to dedicate more resources to invest in their community's ability to thrive, whether that's supporting local businesses or freeing up more time to participate in community engagement processes.
Margaret Mullins published Creating a More Equitable City through Mobility Policy Agenda: City of Atlanta Funding Recommendations in Sign our 2021 Policy Agenda 2021-03-26 11:54:55 -0400
City of Atlanta Policy Agenda: Funding Recommendations
One major barrier to building an inclusive transportation network is the lack of money available to build projects. These recommendations intend to provide more resources for sustainable transportation projects. We define sustainable transportation as relatively green ways of getting around that are low-emission and reduce the negative impacts of transportation on the climate and environment.
TSPLOST Addresses Sidewalks & Street Safety
Following the construction of Complete Streets projects, City of Atlanta asks voters to approve a new TSPLOST*. In order to address the city’s 45% sidewalk coverage and sidewalk funding gap of close to $1 billion dollars, 50% of TSPLOST funding is dedicated to sidewalk construction and repairs and 50% to street safety improvements (including lane conversions, protected pedestrian crossings, LIT/bike lanes, traffic calming, and street lighting). The project list should prioritize equity and safe access to transit, starting with High-Injury Network communities, with progress consistently and transparently reported to the public.
Fund Public Infrastructure Account
City of Atlanta fulfills its obligation to set aside 3.5% of the general budget fund, representing ~$25 Million, to the Public Infrastructure Maintenance and Improvement account (per City ordinance 14-O-1513), to address critical needs such as damaged sidewalks.
Fund Safe Routes to School
Atlanta Department of Transportation creates a Safe Routes to School program that prioritizes safety improvements for schools on or near the High-Injury Network and finds new, innovative revenue sources to provide safe transportation options that support more livable communities while preventing displacement.
Expand Participatory Budgeting
City of Atlanta expands participatory budgeting pilots, engaging residents throughout the city in deciding how public funds are spent on transportation projects.
Maintain Sustainable Infrastructure Through Workforce Program
Atlanta Department of Transportation, with WorkSource Atlanta, develops a City workforce program that creates green, livable wage jobs installing and maintaining sidewalks and other sustainable infrastructure.
GDOT Includes Sidewalks in Roadway Maintenance
Georgia General Assembly updates Georgia law (state code 32-2-2) to include sidewalk repairs and ADA ramps in the definition of roadway maintenance, so that the Georgia Department of Transportation can routinely make sidewalk repairs during roadway resurfacing projects.
*A TSPLOST, or sales tax for transportation projects, was approved by voters in 2016 along with the More MARTA sales tax for transit. This TSPLOST, estimated to generate $260M over five years, was combined with the $250 Million Renew Atlanta Bond for transportation maintenance projects from 2015.
At the time, Atlanta did not have a Department of Transportation, so projects were managed by a newly-created office reporting to the Mayor and staffed largely by consultants, creating a high overhead cost and slow project implementation. Six years later, most of the Complete Streets projects haven’t been completed, and two key projects — Cascade and DeKalb — are being rebid.
However, we are recommending the City seek to extend the TSPLOST because Atlantans desperately need better mobility options. Eliminating one of the few local transportation funds is not the answer. In addition, the City of Atlanta needs funding sources in order to pay the local match required to tap into federal funding.
Margaret Mullins published Creating a More Equitable City through Mobility Policy Agenda: City of Atlanta Safety Recommendations in Sign our 2021 Policy Agenda 2021-03-26 11:54:43 -0400
City of Atlanta Policy Agenda: Safety Recommendations
Vision Zero, Racial Equity, & Engineering Over Enforcement
Atlanta Department of Transportation, the Atlanta region, and Georgia Department of Transportation make ambitious plans to rapidly reduce traffic fatalities to zero (Vision Zero) that prioritize racial equity and focus on engineering instead of enforcement.
Atlanta Department of Transportation prevents speeding, including street racing, through street improvements, traffic calming projects that support community use of streets, and expanding the types of streets that qualify for traffic calming and tactical urbanism.
Stop Over-policing People Using the Street
Atlanta City Council and Georgia General Assembly remove laws that allow for over-policing of walking, biking, and riding transit, including crossing a street outside of a crosswalk — in many places, the nearest crosswalk is over a half-mile away.
Prohibit Racial Profiling
City and state prohibit racial profiling in all traffic stops.
Expand Default 25mph Speed Limit
Atlanta City Council expands the default speed limit of 25 mph to cover 90% of City of Atlanta streets and works with the Georgia Department of Transportation to lower speed limits on state routes. Atlanta Department of Transportation works with communities most affected by traffic violence and most burdened by fees to develop a speed camera program instead of armed police enforcement.
Construction Zone Safety
Georgia Department of Transportation adopts and enforces a policy to require temporary safe spaces be installed when sidewalks or bike lanes are closed for construction; Atlanta Department of Transportation enforces its policy regarding construction zones and adopts requirements for special event closures.
Prevent Police Pursuits
Atlanta Police Department prevents police pursuits and prohibits other agencies from giving chase within Atlanta City limits.
Nationally, the number of people killed while walking in the U.S. increased 54% between 2009 and 2018. This followed a three-decade drop in pedestrian fatalities. Fatalities increased fastest among Black men and people over 60. In the city of Atlanta, fewer people died on our roadways in 2020 than the year before, yet the loss of even one person in traffic is unacceptable when we could have prevented it. Too many of our streets are not safe in any mode of travel, but especially not for people walking, biking, running, waiting for the bus, or using wheelchairs, scooters, or strollers.
What’s more, the most dangerous roads — Atlanta’s “High-Injury Network” — are concentrated on the south and west sides of the city, in neighborhoods where most residents are Black and where incomes are below the city’s median income due to systemic racism. Unsafe streets in systematically marginalized communities also lead to more interactions with the police. We need leaders who understand the need for an equitable approach to safety. Equity is a just outcome that allows everyone to thrive and share in a prosperous, inclusive society. Equity puts into practice, through policies and allocation of resources, principles that intentionally dismantle generational power structures and other disparities that continue privilege.
Regardless of where you live or who you are, it’s time for the era when a simple trip to the store could turn deadly to come to an end. We have to make a decision: prioritize safety or accept the status quo?
In 2020, the City of Atlanta committed to Vision Zero — a safe systems approach that strives to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Achieving that level of safety in our streets will require the City to fund and build streets safe for people to bike and walk, to install curb ramps so people using wheelchairs can get to sidewalks, and to deliver transit service that doesn’t punish riders with long wait times and bus stops without shelters or benches.
When combined with infrastructure projects that prioritize safety for people using all modes of transportation, the policy recommendations can create an Atlanta where no one dies in traffic, people can use streets without fear of biased enforcement, and vehicles travel at safe, predictable speeds throughout the city.
It's time for Atlanta's leaders to elevate safe, equitable, sustainable mobility solutions to the top of the agenda.
Join the movement by signing on to our policy agenda today.
Thank you to our partner organizations who have signed our 2021 Policy Agenda!200 signatures
Explore our 2021 Policy Agenda Recommendations for City of Atlanta and Atlanta Board of Education:
City of Atlanta: Safety
Make streets measurably safer for people biking, walking, and using scooters or wheelchairs.
City of Atlanta: Transit & Affordability
Increase access to transit and affordability of housing.
City of Atlanta: Funding
Comprehensively fund Atlanta's sustainable transportation infrastructure.
Atlanta Board of Education
Make it possible for kids to safely get to and from school on foot, bike, transit, and other modes.
We urgently need Atlanta's leaders to adopt and implement equitable mobility recommendations.
Transportation is an essential part of everyone’s life. When it doesn’t work well, we miss out on job opportunities, have limited access to housing options, are exposed to unsafe streets or polluted air, or have our freedom of movement restricted due to the lack of reasonable options. When transportation is good, it is essential — even enjoyable, because it just works. We might notice kids biking to school, experience the ease of crossing the street safely, or relax while listening to music as we look out the window from a bus in a dedicated lane.
Yet as the pandemic continues, people face greater risks and barriers while in transit. Despite fewer miles driven, more people died on Georgia roads in 2020, likely due to an increase in speeding. And, people riding public transportation experienced dramatic cutbacks to bus routes, leading to longer walks to the nearest bus stop, often on streets that lack sidewalks.
This policy agenda is about creating viable transportation options that are safe, easy, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone.
Equitable transportation policies and projects provide physical and social mobility, as well as access to living-wage jobs, affordable housing, healthcare, and quality education. Affordable mobility options give people economic and social opportunities, especially in communities racially profiled for disinvestment that continue to suffer disproportionately from traffic fatalities. Green options reduce the transportation sector’s impact on climate change, an existential threat to communities.
Working with our partners and stakeholders, we created three policy recommendation categories: Safety, Transit and Affordability, and Funding. In addition, we have a policy agenda for the Atlanta Board of Education. Please join us in sharing these recommendations with our leaders as we work to create a more equitable city through mobility.
Margaret Mullins published 2018 - 2019 Impact Report in Impact, Strategy, and Finance 2021-01-11 23:09:30 -0500
Community Organizations Urge CDC to Prioritize and Protect Transit As Safe, Equitable Public Good
As our society starts to re-open in ways that keep people safe, the undersigned organizations believe we should focus on supporting those disproportionately impacted by both COVID-19 infections and the economic harm inflicted by the pandemic, which have hit communities of color hardest. Yet the CDC’s “COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings” released last week include a disturbing willingness to give up on ensuring transit is safe for riders and operators, the majority of whom are people of color.
The CDC guidance from May 28th recommended: “for employees who commute to work using public transportation or ride sharing, consider offering the following support: offer employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others, such as offering reimbursement for parking for commuting to work alone or single-occupancy rides.
By June 1, the CDC had added “biking and walking” to “driving or riding by car either alone or with household members” and removed the reference to reimbursing parking. They also added a link on “how to protect yourself when using transportation” with more neutral guidance on all kinds of transportation.
Any guidance from the CDC that tells people to stay away from public transportation is not the answer. What’s more, it’s irrelevant to the lives of the many who rely on transit. Transit is a public good. Our society should focus on protecting it, not telling people to avoid it.
It is imperative that we invest in making transit safe for riders and operators. Anything less undermines the dignity of the essential workers who use transit and who operate transit. Many people don't have another option. Sixteen percent of Atlanta households don’t have access to a motor vehicle. The families residing in these households include our frontline and essential workers.
What’s more, by riding transit people contribute to a social benefit --- better air quality. COVID-19, a respiratory pandemic, is made even more deadly by a reliance on driving alone. Particulate matter in the air kills, and it kills people in low-income communities of color at higher rates.
For the CDC
- CDC’s guidance on protecting yourself when using transportation includes all modes: “Public transit, rideshares and taxis, micro-mobility devices, and personal vehicles.” Their guidance to employers reopening office buildings should do the same. Transit is not inherently unsafe.
- If office buildings can be made safe enough for employees to return, transit must be given the same or greater consideration. In other cities around the world, densely-packed transit systems have continued to operate without increasing the number of cases, seemingly due to widespread adoption of face masks.
For transit agencies, including MARTA
- MARTA recently cited concerns about enforcement and political debates among reasons not to require riders wear masks, but masks should be encouraged and even provided. Transit agencies should ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is widely available to transit riders and operators: for example, through mask and glove dispensers and hand sanitizing stations at all entrances and exits and on platforms. They should launch public awareness campaigns to encourage mask wearing. Emerging research is showing that awareness and changing expectations to normalize mask use have the benefit of being more effective than enforcement.
- They should provide operators and other personnel access to sick leave and policies that encourage them to stay home if they feel sick and make sure those who keep the system clean have plentiful cleaning supplies and equipment. Transit agencies can also take the lead in creating an innovation market for sanitation and cleanliness.
- When too many buses come in a row or are too far apart, it becomes harder to social distance on transit. Cities should invest in bus lanes to keep buses moving, as well as other transportation infrastructure that prioritizes essential workers.
- Companies and large employers should use their influence and connections to support the necessary investments to make transit safe for everyone.
- They should also adopt policies that actively foster sustainable transportation options, including biking, walking, and riding transit, for their employees and commit to making sustainable transportation the first choice in commuting for their companies.
About the Partners
- TransFormation Alliance, a broad partnership of organizations from the private, public and nonprofit sectors dedicated to creating thriving, mixed-income communities anchored by transit and linked to all the opportunities and amenities that make Atlanta great.
- Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, an advocacy organization dedicated to creating an Atlanta where everyone moves safely, easily, and sustainably throughout the city.
- MARTA Army, an independent grassroots action group, committed to enhancing the ridership experience on public transit here in Metro Atlanta.
- Central Atlanta Progress, a private nonprofit community development organization providing leadership, programs and services to preserve and strengthen the economic vitality of Downtown Atlanta.
- Thread ATL, a non-profit that aims to influence Atlanta’s planning and design decisions toward a greater focus on good urbanism
- PEDS, dedicated to making streets and communities in Georgia, safe, inviting, and accessible to all pedestrians.
- Generator, bringing people together to generate ideas that shape the future of cities.
Join us in urging the CDC to include all modes of transportation in their guidance to employers reopening office buildings.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the critical importance for people working essential jobs and getting to essential services to have safe, convenient, and affordable transportation options. Yet cuts to transit service mean options are even more limited than before the pandemic.
More and more Atlantans are turning to biking and walking to get where they need to go. Unfortunately, our city lacks a safe and connected network of spaces for these essential forms of transportation.
In May and June of 2020, you joined us in calling on the City of Atlanta to fully fund and rapidly build already-planned projects with community support and to prioritize first- and last-mile connections for those who continue to rely on transit, especially frontline and essential workers, who are disproportionately people of color and women. Atlanta’s April 2020 adoption of Vision Zero shows the City is committed to getting to the goal of zero traffic deaths--these investments would be a strong immediate step in that direction.
Read more for initial results from this campaign.12 signatures
1. We called on the City to quickly install 80-100 miles of infrastructure for light individual transportation (LIT: includes scooters and bikes) from pre-existing plans already vetted through community engagement, such as the Quick-Build projects of 2017, the Action Plan for Safer Streets, Cycle Atlanta 1.0 & 2.0, Renew Atlanta, TSPLOST, etc. We said this would mean ensuring that the new Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATL DOT) has sufficient funding through the FY2021 budget to do this work in-house using City of Atlanta staff, not expensive contractors, using methods and materials that are fast and cost-effective.
- Accelerate timeline of Mayor’s Action Plan for Safer Streets: the official announcement from 2019 stated projects would be complete by the end of 2021, yet the ATL DOT budget narrative says three years from now--2023.
- Fund 80-100 miles of LIT lanes and sidewalk repairs to meet the needs of essential workers and trips and provide a timeline.
Address where the 3.5% of the General Fund set aside for infrastructure maintenance per ordinance 14-O-1513 appears. Designate those funds for safe space for walking & wheelchair use.
- Designate Tuskegee Airmen Academy (TAG) as the City’s pilot Safe Routes to School program and allocate $450,000 for safety improvements to facilitate safe walking and biking to school
- Spend the remaining Council District Renew Atlanta funds on tactical sidewalks.
Results so far: Several projects from the Action Plan for Safer Streets are in final design stages. The new Atlanta Department of Transportation draft budget is listed as $44 million (650-page City of Atlanta draft budget is here). We believe the initial budget outlay was increased to $48 Million but are still waiting on the final budget book. For comparison, the Office of Transportation formerly housed in the Public Works Dept. had an FY2018 budget of $46 million according to the ATL DOT Feasibility Study. That office is just one of three units being combined into the ATL DOT, the others being the Office of Mobility Planning and Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST.
2. We called on the City to provide urgently-needed safe spaces for people walking or using wheelchairs, starting with any gaps in the sidewalk network along remaining MARTA bus routes and on streets accessing those bus routes, and Safe Routes to School so children can walk and bike safely when schools do reopen. Since it can take years to get sidewalks built, consider "tactical sidewalks" using less expensive materials to provide some protection now.
Results so far: Mayor Bottoms directed the Chief Operating Officer to work with the Atlanta Department of Transportation to "develop a plan for Atlanta’s streets. This plan recognizes the role of the City in the economic recovery of local businesses and the ability to use public space to support quality of life during the reopening." The plan was to include creating “tactical sidewalks” to improve mobility in communities to essential services. In addition, sidewalk improvements seem to be gaining prominence within the new ATL DOT, which often posts about sidewalk projects on #SidewalkWednesdays.
3. We called on the City to empower communities to creatively improve safety on their streets through their own interim projects by establishing a city approval process, or tactical urbanism permit. Additionally, create a small grants fund so under-resourced neighborhoods have equitable access to the process.
Results so far: The City has a tactical urbanism permit in draft stage; expected by October 2020
There are communities in the city of Atlanta with almost no sidewalks at all. Often, these are the same neighborhoods that have been most harmed by transportation projects such as highways splitting their neighborhoods in half. This is partly due to redlining policies that imposed structural racism on neighborhood development. Communities with lower sidewalk coverage also have higher rates of walking and riding transit, are disproportionately located within the High Injury Network, and have a larger share of Black residents. These neighborhoods are also home to many people with essential jobs who rely on transit.
Picture it: you rely on transit, the bus route that is three blocks from your house is cut, you are now walking further to catch the bus, maybe carrying groceries or with your young child or both.. As you are walking, the sidewalk suddenly ends. You are now in the street, sharing the road with vehicles that were not anticipating you being there. Your essential trip to the grocery store or work has become more dangerous than fellow Atlantans who can count on sidewalks to reach their destinations.
Safe Streets for All means all types of safety for all types of users in all of Atlanta. The built environment can reinforce a sense of belonging and provide a way to protect vulnerable road users. Yes, protect those who walk, bike, or use a wheelchair. But also protect Black and Brown people, women, and transgender residents that face varying safety concerns while walking and biking that are not a reality for others. Having neighborhood sidewalks as an Atlanta resident should not be among their concerns. Let’s build sidewalks that will create neighborhoods that can sustain growth, development, aging in place, and the inclusion of many different types of users.
As we have said before, the time is overdue to prioritize safety and ease of movement for our community members who have been denied safe and complete streets for decades.
AARP Georgia, Helping Georgians aged 50 and above live their best lives.
American Heart Association of Metro Atlanta, a relentless force for longer, healthier lives in our community.
PEDS, dedicated to making streets and communities in Georgia, safe, inviting, and accessible to all pedestrians.
Georgia STAND-UP, a Think and ACT Tank for Working Communities, organizes and educates communities about issues related to labor unions, transit equity, affordable housing, & economic development.
TransFormation Alliance, a broad partnership of organizations from the private, public and nonprofit sectors dedicated to creating thriving, mixed-income communities anchored by transit and linked to all the opportunities and amenities that make Atlanta great.
ThreadATL, a non-profit that aims to influence Atlanta’s planning and design decisions toward a greater focus on good urbanism
How to stay involved
Sign up for updates so we can call on you to support the campaign’s next steps--because this is just the beginning!
The City has an opportunity to show its commitment to #VisionZero by accelerating safety projects, so no one dies trying to get somewhere. Help us hold the City of Atlanta accountable for following through on its plans. #EssentialTransportation
Margaret Mullins donated 2020-02-13 16:35:28 -0500