December 2017
In This Issue
Sidewalks on state roads: Whose responsibility?
Jan 23 Golden Shoe Awards
Renew Atlanta program diverts maintenance funding to pet projects
Sidewalks on state roads: Whose responsibility?
When GDOT resurfaced Peachtree Road earlier this fall, it left a 1" gap between the travel lane and the bottom of the curb ramp at the intersection in front of the Shepherd Center.

Shepherd is the nation's top spinal cord rehab hospital, and if you wanted to pick the worst place possible for a barrier to people with disabilities, this would be it.

A big thank you to GDOT, which addressed the problem immediately  after hearing from us.

But the battle for accessible sidewalks on Peachtree is far from over.  Patients and others at Shepherd have been trying for months to get repairs. 

The City of Atlanta and GDOT each claim that sidewalk maintenance on Peachtree Road is the other's responsibility. When gray areas exist, no one does anything. And doing nothing is not a solution.
GDOT's District 7 engineer Kathy Zahul told us that Georgia Code 32-2-2 covers city sidewalk maintenance. The statute is open to interpretation, especially this clause:

Word cloud_ interpretation
"On those portions of the state highway system lying within the corporate limits of any municipality, the department shall be required to provide only substantial maintenance activities and operations, including but not limited to reconstruction and major resurfacing, reconstruction of bridges, erection and maintenance of official department signs, painting of striping and pavement delineators, furnishing of guardrails and bridge rails, and other major maintenance activities."
How a court would interpret this depends on whether a judge or jury considers repairing or replacing sidewalks to be "substantial maintenance."
Next step: meeting with the State Transportation Engineer, District 7 Engineer, a member of GDOT's legal department and others. Stay tuned.
Jan 23 Golden Shoe Awards and Annual Meeting
2018 Golden Shoe Awards banner
The Golden Shoe Awards are coming soon.  We've received terrific nominations - and the event is your opportunity to celebrate progress and thank the advocates, developers, and government officials who are doing things right.

Golden Shoe Awards are just one part of our annual Members Party. We'll also share  upcoming opportunities and challenges -- and ways you can get involved in making walk-friendly change happen.

Tuesday, Jan 23, 6 - 8 PM
5 Church at Colony Square
1197 Peachtree St, #528, Atlanta

Enjoy delicious appetizers, drinks and great walking music.

Atlanta officials divert maintenance funds to pet projects
In the City of Atlanta, transparency is not a strong point. Especially when it comes to money. 

When Atlanta voters approved Renew Atlanta bonds in 2015, we were told the City would use the money to address Atlanta's enormous backlog of broken infrastructure. 

Sally Flocks, President & CEO of PEDS, serves on the city's Infrastructure Stakeholder Committee. And from what she's heard at committee meetings, that's how most of the money is being used.

Yet to our dismay, Mayor Reed's administration is also treating Renew Atlanta bonds as a slush fund. Proposed projects that would be partly or fully funded by Renew Atlanta bonds include: 
Rendering of proposed Northside Dr bridge
Northside Drive Bridge rendering _ photo credit_ City of Atlanta
  • An estimated $2 million of the proposed $24 million pedestrian bridge over Northside Drive, an extravagant 700 foot long structure that few, if any, people will use to cross a 70 foot wide road. 
  • A $2 million pedestrian bridge connecting  the Municipal Court building and its parking garage, which Mayor Reed wants as a "marquee project."

Neither bridge has been publicly vetted. And both conflict with the city's transportation plan and the Downtown Master Plan.

Meanwhile, city officials reneged on their promise to repair sidewalks on all streets that are resurfaced as part of the Renew Atlanta program. They also placed several Complete Street projects on the back burner. 

By diverting Renew Atlanta funds to new projects,  city officials make it less likely that funds will be available to implement these and other much-needed maintenance projects.

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Make our streets and communities great places to walk!