Yesterday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Josh Rowan, General Manager of Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST, will become the City's first Transportation Commissioner charged with bringing three existing City agencies together under one leader. We applaud the mayor on her selection and the comprehensive and progressive strategic plan announced alongside the Commissioner.
Last month, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a plan to build a safer and more equitable transportation network for people who walk, bike, and use other human-powered or light individual transportation (LIT) devices. To kick off this project, the City’s Office of Mobility Planning and Midtown Alliance used temporary materials and volunteers to build a “pop-up” protected bike lane on 10th Street in Midtown. The temporary lane connected the existing cycle track from Piedmont Park at Myrtle Street two additional blocks up to Juniper Street.
It’s frustrating when there are years of statistical data proving that specific streets are more dangerous than others.
It’s even more disturbing that people living in communities surrounded by dangerous streets have memories of severe and fatal traffic collisions etched in their minds. This “High-Injury Network” was researched by Georgia Tech graduate student John Saxton.Read more
Today, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the details of the “plan to change our streets by creating safer, dedicated spaces for cyclists and scooter riders.” The promise of an “accelerated” plan came packaged with the announcement of a temporary night-time ban (9 p.m. to 4 a.m.) on permitted e-bikes & e-scooters following the deaths of three scooter riders struck by cars and killed while riding e-scooters in the city of Atlanta and our advocacy calling for a rapid response from the City.Read more
Last year's Music Midtown brought heartburn to Atlantans who use bikes and scooters for transportation. The bike lanes on 10th Street were inaccessible for two-weeks during the previous year's festival even though they are the most heavily-used bike lanes in the city. This year, to create a safer environment for mobility, the City of Atlanta and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition worked with Music Midtown to address concerns and forge a better path forward.Read more
There’s no time like back to school to get the whole family actively riding in Atlanta’s neighborhoods and along bike paths. We honor this exciting time with some information about our bike safety education programs, tips on riding safety, and a request for support of our expanding Shifting Gears program.Read more
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.
Center Hill Neighborhood Association
|East Atlanta Community Association|
The City of Atlanta announced a temporary nighttime ban on permitted e-bikes & e-scooters as of Friday, August 9th. A citywide No Ride Zone will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily, in response to the recent fatal scooter/motor vehicle crashes. The announcement noted that all four crashes occurred "after sunset."
But the sun doesn't set on people's mobility needs, and last-mile connectivity isn't limited to daytime hours.Read more
We are experiencing a breaking point in Atlanta’s mobility landscape. With the rise of shared mobility devices including e-bikes and scooters, almost weekly we are reminded that streets built to prioritize cars aren’t sufficient for present-day Atlanta. People are dying. The narrative of putting the onus on the victims or people that choose to use these devices for last-mile connectivity—or even for fun—unfairly removes the responsibility from the people with the power to enact immediate solutions.Read more
On Wednesday, May 8th, approximately 50 community members and supporters, including parents and students from Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy Elementary School (TAG), turned frustration into action, calling on the City to #RespectCascade . “Walk a Mile in Cascade’s Shoes” served as a day of action to generate attention about the prevalence of injuries on Cascade Road and to honor victims like 52-year-old David Gordon who lost his life crossing the street in a low-visibility crosswalk earlier this year.Read more