March 2021
Fatalities soar. Advocates roar

During the last decade, pedestrian fatalities jumped an alarming 45 percent.
Dangerous by Design, a report released this week by Smart Growth America, found that year after year from 2010 through 2019 nearly every state in the U.S. grew more dangerous for people on foot.

“Our current approach to addressing the rising number of people struck and killed while walking has been a total failure,” says the report, as engineers and planners favored vehicle speed and traffic flow over the lives of people on foot.

The report calls on policymakers to prioritize the safety of people who are not behind the wheel of a car.
Fatalities in Georgia are even worse.

The report identifies Georgia as the nation’s ninth most dangerous state for people walking. It also ranks the Atlanta region as one of the 20 most dangerous metro areas in the country.

Some 283 people lost their lives while walking in Georgia last year, the highest in recorded history.
This is unacceptable, and advocates are pushing back.

2021 is an election year, and PEDS is collaborating with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and other partners to recommend policy changes to City of Atlanta leaders and candidates.

Developed by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, the draft 2021 City of Atlanta and Board of Education Policy Agenda, focuses on safety, funding, access to transit, affordability, and education.

Together with partners nationwide, we can reverse the alarming trend of rising fatalities and create safe streets for all.
Sidewalks on state roads: Whose responsibility?
Wheelchair user navigating broken sidewalks on Peachtree Rd
Good question. The City of Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Transportation each claim that sidewalk maintenance is the other’s responsibility. When gray areas exist, no one does anything.

The Official Code of Georgia §32-2-2, which establishes the powers and duties of GDOT, is subject to interpretation.
"However, 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."
At issue is the definition of other major maintenance activities.

PEDS is collaborating with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to promote an amendment to §32-2-2. Specifying “sidewalks” in the list of major maintenance responsibilities will eliminate the confusion that has contributed to the poor condition of many sidewalks on state roads in Georgia.

Sally Flocks, PEDS’ founder and former CEO, remains active as a volunteer and has shared information and provided strategy recommendations to leaders of each organization.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Legislators call for change
Will Sunday be the last time we have to change our clocks?

Possibly. Last week the Georgia House approved a bill that would keep the state on daylight saving time permanently.

From the perspective of people who walk, this is huge. Year after year, the change back to standard time makes evenings suddenly darker and results in a big increase in pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

Yet the loss of standard time does have a downside. If the bill passes, children who walk to school will be doing so before sunrise on more days of the year. 

Current federal law prohibits states from observing daylight saving time year-round. So if the Georgia Senate passes the bill and it becomes state law, it would still require an act of Congress for this to become a reality.
We’re optimistic. Fifteen states have passed similar bills, and dozens of others are looking into doing the same. And on Tuesday, the bipartisan “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” was introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, Spring Forward and enjoy the sunshine!
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