There’s been some brouhaha in the city of Brookhaven lately. Certainly the city is at a crossroads with how much power it ought to possess, but there’s something a bit less controversial happening these days. Many city police officers have been issuing citations to drivers not providing pedestrians the right of way. Citing drivers for not following state law may seem like a trivial matter to the casual observer, but it’s far from trivial.
Let’s face: the Atlanta metro area has never earned high marks for being kind to pedestrians and while we’re at, cyclists. The city of Brookhaven is doing something about it in the form of its Pedestrian Safety Operation. The danger to pedestrians is rife throughout this rather new city, but it is concentrated near a busy intersection near a MARTA rail stop. The corner of Peachtree Road and Dresden Drive is beyond challenging for pedestrians coming and going from the station.
This Brookhaven Police Department effort is in partnership with PEDS (Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety). According to PEDS, every day four pedestrians are hit by drivers in metro Atlanta. Georgia law requires drivers to stop (not just yield) for pedestrians in crosswalks, even when the pedestrian is in another lane. PEDS goes onto write that, “Lower speeds greatly reduce the risk that a pedestrian crash will be fatal.” PEDS also partners with the Governor’s Office on Highway Safety who produced an educational flyer containing good illustrations and information.
The corner of Peachtree and Dresden is not the only concentrated problem area in Brookhaven. The Brookhaven Village, which is meant to be pedestrian-friendly, is also dicey to navigate on foot. This issue could be extended to all communities throughout the Atlanta metro region. From Marietta to Sandy Springs and back over to another young city, Peachtree Corners. Getting around this city is also quite challenging, especially during weekday late afternoon/early evening rush hours. The intersection of Peachtree Corners Circle and Peachtree Parkway is far from being pedestrian-friendly or for that matter bike and even car-friendly. A new crosswalk with its own signals needs to be installed in front of the Chase bank. Additionally, a traffic light along with crosswalks ought to be installed at The Forum’s entrance on Peachtree Corners Circle. This high-volume area needs more safeguards not just those traveling on foot, but for cyclists and even vehicles themselves. There have been some nasty accidents in this area including the entrance to the QT station and The Forum’s entrance.
While Peachtree Corners does not have a police department to enforce pedestrian state laws, there needs to be awareness for walkers/runners/cyclists and safeguards put into place to make this young city more like a community instead of a car-centric area. Providing courtesy to one another on these roads is vital for a good quality of life.