By Maria Saporta
Pedestrians and transit are interdependent modes of transportation.
That point hit home Wednesday evening during PEDS 11th annual Golden Shoe Awards.
PEDS, the group that advocates for pedestrians in metro Atlanta, highlighted the relationship between pedestrians and transit in several of its awards presented in the Dahlberg Alumni Hall at Georgia State University.
The Atlanta Regional Commission won two Golden Shoe awards for “pedestrian-friendly research.” One survey, conducted by Claudette Dillard, showed how most transit riders begin and end their trips on foot.
And the second study, conducted by Talya Trudell, found the strong connection between pedestrian crashes and transit stops. In other words, a large proportion of pedestrians tend to get hurt on their way to and from bus and rail stops.
Sally Flocks, founder and president of PEDS, also presented two “Pedestrian-friendly Journalism” awards.
The first one went to WXIA-TV’s Commuter Dude John Gerard, who often shines a light on how our cities streets and sidewalks can be fixed and improved for pedestrians.
The second journalism award went to PBS Blueprint America, which is exposed the issues of improving pedestrian safety on dangerous roads, such as metro Atlanta’s Buford Highway. Nancy Zintak of Georgia Public Broadcasting accepted the award on behalf of PBS.
Georgia State University also won two awards. The university’s police, accepted by
Sergeant Kevin Potter, received the award for educating enforcement officers and drivers about pedestrian safety.
Also, Georgia State University received the “Pedestrian-friendly Road Diet” for reallocating a lane of traffic on Decatur Street to widen sidewalks and make the area safer for GSU students. Ramesh Vakamudi, who worked on ths project for years and years, accepted the award.
Lastly, the “Pedestrian-friendly Traffic Operations” award when to DeKalb County for installing new signals on the busy Buford Highway and Candler Road. Dekalb Commissioner Kathie Gannon said she became committed to making Buford Highway safer for pedestrians after learning that it is led the nation in pedestrian fatalities.
One reason for those accidents goes back to transit. Several people cross the multiple lanes of Buford Highway in order to catch a bus. But there are not nearly as many crosswalks as there should be alongt the busy road.
Thankfully, the PEDS Golden Shoes awards give us an opportunity to reward great projects throughout the region. And it is always a great reminder that funding for pedestrians projects complements our investment in transit and vice versa.