By David Pendered
The look on the face of a pedestrian in Midtown late Tuesday afternoon speaks directly to Finding No. 3 of the new survey of transportation priorities conducted by Midtown Atlanta.
The pedestrian wanted to cross 8th Street at its intersection with Peachtree Street.
The fellow had a green traffic light. Evidently, he also has had enough close calls to know that he needed to be super vigilant to ensure he wasn’t struck by a vehicle as he hurried over the crosswalk.
This is Finding No. 3 in the draft version of the survey:
- “Ensuring safe conditions is critical by eliminating pedestrian, vehicular and cycling conflicts.”
The finding is one of three that emerged from Midtown Atlanta’s website survey. The other two findings are:
- “People who spend time in Midtown want multiple and high-quality transportation choices.
- “The capacity to explore Midtown on foot remains vital to the urban experience.”
In addition, a consulting team working on the Midtown Transportation Plan provided information on the number of crashes in the core of Midtown. They observed that the crash rate was higher than they’d expected.
Consultants reviewed reported crashes and determined there were 8,800 between 2000 and 2014. Of these crashes, 1,000 resulted in injuries, and five deaths were reported.
More than 1,000 comments were posted on the website between Jan. 1 and March 31. Some 58 percent of responses related directly to safety concerns, according to Midtown Alliance.
In all, four out of every five comments offered on pedestrian and bicycle issues related to safety. Many of the comments emphasized fixing or completing sidewalks, adding more crosswalks, completing a protected bicycle network and improving safety by reducing vehicle speeds along major corridors,” according to Midtown Alliance’s statement.
All this information gathering is part of Midtown Alliance’s effort to develop a transportation plan. Midtown Alliance intends to create a 10-year plan that will guide transportation policies and projects.
According to the website, Midtown Alliance will develop a list of priorities to improve mobility and access in Midtown.
This is the stated challenge:
“Over 14,000 people call Midtown home and over 60,000 people work here. Midtown is home to two universities and numerous cultural destinations and attracts over 6 million visitors annually. Shifting travel preferences and new development are likely to reshape Midtown’s transportation network in the coming years.”
Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates is leading the consultant team. The company guided GRTA’s ongoing efforts to devise and implement the most sweeping service revisions in a decade.
The project goals of Midtown Atlanta aim to:
- Enhance multi-modal choices;
- Maximize operational efficiency;
- Improve safety and enhance access;
- Improve walkability;
- Take an integrated approach to land use, economic development, and environmental impacts;
- Consider how technology will change travel choices and how Midtown can be a leader in this realm.
Now that the draft survey is complete, Midtown Alliance intends to continue refining the information and release a draft plan later in the spring. The work is to continue into the summer.