Help Slow in Coming for Atlanta's Pedestrians

With pedestrian deaths on the rise in Georgia, despite falling automotive fatalities, Andria Simmons and Jeremiah McWilliams look at what is being done to make the Atlanta region's streets safer for those on foot and in wheelchairs.
August 20, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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2012 is on pace to be another deadly year for pedestrians in Georgia. With the total number of fatalities on the state's roads having dropped by 27 percent in recent years, pedestrian deaths are making up a growing share of the state's traffic fatalities, report Simmons and McWilliams.

"Not enough is being done to accommodate pedestrians who have to deal with high-speed automotive traffic, said David Goldberg of the Washington-based advocacy group Transportation for America."

"'You're lucky to get a sidewalk, you very infrequently see well-marked crosswalks, and you have very long blocks,' said Goldberg, a Decatur resident from 1995 to 2011. 'Motorists have gotten accustomed to thinking the roadway belongs to them. That width [of road] sends a signal to the motorist that you're supposed to drive at interstate speeds.'"

Although some counties in the Atlanta region are allocating funds to improve sidewalk conditions and safety, the amount falls short of what is necessary. Unfortunately for the region's pedestrians, "much of the hoped-for money for sidewalk repairs, refuge islands and HAWK crossings was tied up in the T-SPLOST project list," which was voted down last month. 


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Published on Friday, August 17, 2012 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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