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.
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 equity & mobility policy agenda today.
Thank you to the partner organizations who helped develop and support this agenda!331 signatures
Explore our 2021-2025 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.
Stephen Spring published GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AWARDS GRANT TO ATLANTA BICYCLE COALITION in gohs2020-21 2020-11-11 12:35:46 -0500
(ATLANTA) The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is pleased to announce it has received a $68,576.59 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). The grant, which will continue through September of 2021, will support efforts to reduce bicycle crashes and injuries.
“Thanks to GOHS, we are able to provide quality bike safety and skills training to hundreds of Atlantans. Our goal is to support more people biking while reducing bike crashes to zero in Fulton and DeKalb counties” said Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Education & Outreach Program Manager Stephen Spring.
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
With warm weather, kids are itching to get outside. Many of them are venturing further down the street or out and about the neighborhood - on bikes!!
Our 45-minute virtual classes are engaging and visually entertaining classes for adults to pick up skills and resources to transfer to children.
You will learn:
- Basic rules of the road/sidewalk
- How to do a quick ABC (air, brakes, chain) safety check on a bike
- Ways to asses a street for ride-ability
- What to wear when biking and how to fit a helmet
- How following the CDC guidelines help keep children safe while biking
Open classes will be listed below for you to RSVP. When you RSVP, you will be sent a Zoom meeting link.See all events
Our lives are being challenged in many ways -- businesses are being closed and workers are left without income; transportation decisions and options become dilemmas; spaces to practice safe, healthful activities are being reshaped.
At the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, we’re doing what we can to lessen the impact of these challenges. This week, we worked with local bike shop owners, city council members, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and ATL DOT Commissioner Josh Rowan to establish bike shops as essential businesses under the Mayor’s shelter-in-place executive order. In our outreach to bike shop owners on Tuesday, we learned that some bike shops were closed and many were seeking clarification on the city’s stance.
Today, we are pleased to relay this message from Peter Kadushin, the Director of Communications for the mayor.Read more
Stephen Spring published GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AWARDS GRANT TO ATLANTA BICYCLE COALITION in gohs2020-21 2020-03-09 15:52:24 -0400
(ATLANTA) The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is pleased to announce it has received a $62,883.66 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). The grant, which will continue through September of 2020, will provide bicycle safety education, with the goal of reducing bicycle crashes and injuries.
“Thanks to the GOHS, we are able to provide quality bike safety and skills training to hundreds of Atlanteans. Our goal is to increase the density of people biking with zero bicycle crashes in Fulton and Dekalb counties.“ said Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Education & Outreach Program Manager Stephen Spring.
The GOHS-funded education program will include 44 bike classes for a range of people, from true beginners to bike commuters, with the goal of reaching 500 Atlantans with the trainings. Class types include City Cycling rides, Hack Your Commute, College & Community Bike Safety, and a ticket diversion program for those who receive tickets for bicycle traffic violations. The ticket diversion program aims to reduce the burden of fines on low-income residents, and increase awareness of bicycle safety.
Atlanta is the 20th safest large city for biking in the U.S., as measured by bicycle fatalities per 10,000 reported bicycle commuters. In the City of Atlanta, in 2016, there were 152 crashes involving people on bikes and 116 injuries as a result. In the state of Georgia, Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties have among the highest total number of bicycle crashes, along with the highest rates of cycling in the state. By providing bike safety education, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition aims to reduce bicycle crashes and create safer streets for everyone.
Founded in 1991, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is a membership-based nonprofit. Our work includes advocacy for a safe and connected network of bikeways and better conditions for bicycling, education for bicyclists and drivers on safety, resources to overcome barriers to biking, and opportunities to experience biking in a safe setting during Atlanta Streets Alive.
For more information on the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s award, contact Kathryn Curtis at 404.657.9079 or [email protected] For more information on GOHS and its safety programs visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AWARDS GRANT TO ATLANTA BICYCLE COALITION
Posted by Stephen Spring · October 07, 2020 12:35 PM
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AWARDS GRANT TO ATLANTA BICYCLE COALITIONSee all posts
Posted by Stephen Spring · December 06, 2019 3:52 PM
Celebrating a win! In April 2020, the City of Atlanta approved Safe Speeds & Vision Zero legislation. Read more.
What's next for the goal of setting safe speeds?
- Because the legislation adopted does not cover all streets, we are seeking expansion to cover collector streets (e.g. Atlanta Student Movement Blvd) and minor arterials (e.g., Cascade Road).
- Legislation passed by Atlanta City Council in May 2020 reduced the speed limit on Hosea Williams Dr (a collector) from 35 to 25 mph. This originated with a neighborhood transportation committee request in fall 2019 so neighborhood advocates, let us know if you'd like help reducing the limit on a street in your community!
It’s a constant complaint in every neighborhood meeting: Drivers are going too fast. For some Atlantans, it’s just a nuisance or a fact of life in a city. For people who use our streets outside of vehicles (that’s everyone at some point), even a small increase in driving speed becomes a matter of life or death in a collision.
In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians and 857 cyclists were killed in the U.S. That means a pedestrian or cyclist was killed somewhere in the U.S. every 73 minutes. That number is the highest it has been in 30 years, even though overall traffic fatalities went down slightly last year. This doesn’t include an unknown number of scooter-related fatalities since they rolled out nationwide since 2018.
On top of that, children, older adults, and people of color face a disproportionate risk of injury and death walking on our streets. This is a serious issue in Georgia. Our state moved from #10 to #6 in a national ranking of pedestrian danger based on fatalities from 2008 to 2017.
Atlanta stands out when it comes to deaths in pedestrian crashes by population. In 2017, Atlanta ranked 23rd out of the 175 largest cities in the nation for our pedestrian fatality rate: that’s how many pedestrians were killed as a percentage of total traffic fatalities. What that number tells us is that pedestrians are especially vulnerable in our city.
Slower streets are safer and better for people.
It’s simple: The faster a driver is going in a collision, the more likely a pedestrian will be killed or seriously injured. That seems obvious, but it’s important to understand that a small change in speed can have a significant difference in the outcome. From a driver’s perspective, the difference between 15 mph and 30 mph is a light tap on the gas pedal. For a person walking across the street, a small change in speed can be the difference between a bad day and a life-changing injury or death.
Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that the risk of severe injury or death of a pedestrian quickly increases with speed.
The risk for children and elderly pedestrians is even greater at lower speeds. The animated graphic below was created by ProPublica from the same AAA data:
On top of that, the popularity of SUVs brings a higher risk of injury and death when compared to conventional cars, in part because it’s more likely that pedestrians will be run over rather than roll up onto the hood. We’ll save the topic of distracted driving for another day (it’s not good).
It’s not only the force at which a driver strikes a pedestrian that is important. Higher speeds reduce the sight distance and reaction time a driver needs to avoid a collision in the first place. The images below show a driver’s field of vision at different speeds. When speed goes up, it’s more difficult for drivers to see and respond to objects and people outside that view.
(Source: NACTO Urban Street Design Guide)
Reducing speed limits is an effective way to reduce speed.
Cities across the United States and the world are reducing speed limits as one way to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. Vision Zero is an international movement that Atlanta must join if we are going to truly realize our commitments to equity, mobility, and sustainability. That’s why speed limits and Vision Zero are important parts of Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s policy platform.
By reducing the speed limit, top outlier speeds are reduced. In Boston, default speed limits on most local streets were set at 25 mph. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found the odds of drivers exceeding 35 mph fell by almost 30%. In Seattle, the city has established 25mph speed limits on all its arterial streets and 20 mph on all its local streets. In a pilot study in Springfield, Missouri, reducing the speed limit in some neighborhoods from 30 mph to 25 mph had a proven effect of slightly slowing down all driver speeds, even with no other street changes.
Citywide speed limits are still a relatively new trend in the United States and it will take more time to see data on their benefits. There is a large body of evidence in other countries showing the safety benefits of reduced speed limits. In Bristol, UK, researchers found a 63% reduction in fatal injuries since a city-wide 20 mph (30 kph) speed limit was enacted.
Lower speeds don’t necessarily mean it will take longer to get where you’re going in a city. During the times of day when traffic in Atlanta is the most congested, speeds on many streets average less than 25 mph. What's more, 25 mph allows vehicles to travel a more consistent pace with fewer stops and starts, smoothing traffic flow. In fact, in congested conditions, traffic can flow better at lower speeds. Often in Atlanta, drivers are only driving at high speeds between traffic lights, which is both unsafe and inefficient.
Redesigning streets takes a lot of time and money. We will continue to advocate aggressively for engineering solutions to make our streets safer, including protected lanes, crosswalks, traffic calming, signal phasing, and much more. Lower speed limits won’t solve everything, but lower speed limits will help save lives right now while we continue investing in the future.
It's time to adopt safe speed limits in Atlanta.
The following neighborhoods and NPUs have approved this campaign by a vote of their members:
87 supportsAdd SUPPORT
- Capitol View Neighborhood Association
- Center Hill Neighborhood Association
- Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association
- Chosewood Park Neighborhood Association
- Grant Park Neighborhood Association
- Midtown Neighbors' Association
- Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League
- NPU I
- NPU J
- NPU W
To help promote understanding and awareness of the proper use of bicycle routes, bicycle lanes, multi-use trails, and learn how vehicles share public space within the City of Atlanta, the City Solicitor’s Office, in collaboration with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, developed a Diversion Program to provide education on bicycle safety and traffic laws for both drivers and bicyclists.
The first class was launched in November, 2019. Contact the Office of the City Solicitor at (404) 658-6163 if you have questions about your citation or the diversion process.See all events
[This page has been updated with information about changes to the project that resulted from advocacy campaigns. For status updates on the Cascade project, visit the Renew Atlanta / TSPLOST webpage. Construction was initially scheduled to start in December 2020 but as of January 2021, it has been postponed to summer 2021.]
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.
A “Complete Street” project was proposed in 2016 to address the hazardous conditions on Cascade Avenue, where David lost his life, but the construction funding was cut due to budget shortfalls. At the same time, 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.) A section of Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard in Westview was funded as well and completed in 2018.
Following a community-led #RespectCascade action to highlight the urgent need for safety improvements on Cascade Avenue, the City of Atlanta revised the Cascade Complete Street project to include some safety improvements that could be added during the street resurfacing. Elements include bus stop enhancements, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian safety improvements.
We will continue to support communities along Cascade Ave in calling on the City of Atlanta to keep the vision of a safer, more accessible Cascade corridor alive.308 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.