Safety improvements: whose responsibility?December 12, 2012 at 11:01am by Sally Flocks · 4 comments
Andy McBurney, PEDS’ Safe Routes to Transit Project Manager, and I met with Georgia Department of Transportation engineers and planners yesterday to discuss funding for low-cost pedestrian safety improvements. The meeting confirmed that federal transportation dollars are rarely appropriate for low-cost transportation projects.
Implementing essential pedestrian safety improvements will require local governments to accept their responsibility for funding them. Median refuge islands and Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons are both low-cost safety devices. Why, then, does the City of Atlanta fail to budget for these?
The City of Atlanta’s sidewalk crisis is another example. The Atlanta City Council’s Sidewalk Task Force, which met for the first time in September, is exploring policy changes and funding options. At the January 2013 meeting, I will ask Councilmembers Natalyn Archibong and Carla Smith to confirm a timeline for the task force.
Rather than studying the issue to death, Councilmembers need to make decisions. Will Atlanta continue to put itself at risk of high payouts to pedestrians who fall on broken sidewalks? Or will the City Council approve a referendum that allows residents to decide whether they are willing to fund sidewalk repairs?