The COVID-19 pandemic has 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.
Join 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 recent 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.11 signatures
This campaign calls for the City of Atlanta 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.
- 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.
- 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.
We urge the Mayor and Atlanta City Council to ensure 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.
Paying for it
The new Atlanta Department of Transportation draft budget is listed as $44 million (650-page City of Atlanta draft budget is here). By way of 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.
The ATL DOT’s strategic plan released in fall 2019 prioritizes safety, equity, and mobility for all Atlantans--FY2021 will be year one of implementation.
Changes we want in the FY2021 budget
- 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
- Add tactical urbanism permit to “Proposed Program Highlights” and add small grants fund
- Show the remaining Council District pots of Renew Atlanta funding and spend it on tactical sidewalks
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.
How to share this campaign on social media
We need your help to amplify this call for the City of Atlanta to prioritize safe, convenient, and affordable transportation for essential workers and trips.
- Use #EssentialTransportation and share this campaign on your social media platforms.
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.
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
Mayor Bottoms' announcement that Atlanta has entered "phase 2" of reopening notes she 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 is slated to include several items from our list above, including:
the evaluation and the development of administrative actions to create “tactical sidewalks” to improve mobility in communities to essential services;
the evaluation and development of recommendations concerning the potential creation of a safe community streets permitting process which would support traffic calming in neighborhood streets;
It also includes "the evaluation of potential temporary road or lane closures to create more pedestrian and cyclist space for improved safety and access...the development of a street closure plan to create more public space in support of Atlanta's communities which are practicing social distancing."
We don't view street closures as the right move during a pandemic or even particularly effective, but lane conversions to create safe space for people on foot, bike, scooter and wheelchair have long been a big part of our work, so we see lots of opportunities here for a productive discussion!
How to stay involved
- Learn more about the City’s priorities by attending the Live Public Hearing & Virtual Town Hall Meeting on June 2nd at 6:15 pm.
- Sign up for updates below so we can call on you to support the campaign’s next steps--because this is just the beginning!
School's out and kids are getting more restless than ever. Many of them are venturing further down the street or out and about the neighborhood - on bikes!!
Our 45-minute virtual classes will run every Tuesday afternoon from 3:00-4:15 p.m. beginning May 19th until June 16th. These engaging and visually entertaining classes are designed 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
Our Tuesday afternoon classes are 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on GOHS and its safety programs visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AWARDS GRANT TO ATLANTA BICYCLE COALITIONSee all posts
Posted by Stephen Spring · December 06, 2019 3:52 PM
This campaign is celebrating a win with the April 2020 approval of Safe Speeds & Vision Zero legislation. Read more.
What's next for the safe speeds campaign?
- 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:
83 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
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.