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Atlanta Bicycle Coalition fights to keep ‘complete streets’ in Renew Atlanta plans

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Advocates stress that many proposals are slated for roads in the city’s “High Injury Network”

A rendering of the complete street transformation on Juniper Street in Midtown. Advocates are pushing for similar alterations of Piedmont Avenue via the Renew Atlanta Bond Program.
Midtown Alliance

When news broke last week that a major “complete streets” initiative might not be funded by the $250 million Renew Atlanta bond program, questions began to swirl about the rest of the project list.

The project in question would upgrade a section of Howell Mill Road to make it safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and other modes of transportation. But that work is reportedly at risk of being underfunded or even cut from the program entirely.

Renew Atlanta officials have claimed that updating traffic lights on the corridor so they’d all be in sync should take top priority.

Not so, says the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

“Traffic signal updates should be part of building complete streets not replace them,” the group wrote in a call to action to protect parts of the Renew Atlanta blueprints. “Synchronizing the lights rather than building safer streets for everyone essentially puts car [travel] above the safety of people biking and walking.”

Back in March 2015, nearly 90 percent of local voters elected to adopt the Renew Atlanta program, which contained plans to help repair and replace roads, bridges, and other transportation and municipal infrastructure.

But “after three years of public meetings and bold promises,” as the bicycle coalition puts it, many projects are falling far behind schedule.

Exactly which projects are in jeopardy—or just lagging behind initial construction projections—is yet unclear.

Curbed Atlanta has repeatedly asked Renew Atlanta representatives for a revised list of project updates. Expect another post if the information comes.

The Coalition announced recently that members and advocates will be speaking out in support of complete streets projects during Wednesday’s city council transportation committee meeting.

Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST spokeswoman Amy Ellison said there won’t be any new information about the programs at the meeting.

Nonetheless, it seems that complete streets advocates aren’t going to wait around for a status report; there’s a sense of urgency for them.

About half of the streets on Renew Atlanta’s Complete Streets project list “are also on Atlanta’s High Injury Network, a collection of streets responsible for most of the city’s traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” according to the coalition.

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition policy and campaigns manager Ben Foster wrote in an email blast that he worries Renew Atlanta will “postpone the Complete Streets projects indefinitely.”

He added: “Don’t let this happen.”


Complete streets specifics

Below is the list of complete streets projects the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition wants Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST to prioritize, alongside the Atlanta City Council districts where they’re located:

  • Campbellton Road Smart Transit Corridor—High Injury Network; TSPLOST—District 4, 11, 12
  • Cascade Road/Avenue Corridor, Phase 1 and 2—High Injury Network—District 4, 10, 11
  • DeKalb Avenue Complete Street Project—District 2, 5
  • East Paces Ferry Road Complete Street Project—District 7
  • Fairburn Road Complete Street Project—District 10
  • Forsyth Street Complete Street Project—District 2, 4
  • Howell Mill Road Complete Street Project—District 3, 8, 9
  • Joseph E. Boone Boulevard Complete Street Project—High Injury Network—District 3
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Complete Street Project—High Injury Network—District 1, 3, 4, 5, 10
  • Monroe Drive/Boulevard Complete Street Project—High Injury Network—District 2, 5, 6
  • Piedmont Avenue Complete Street—District 2, 6
  • Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard Complete Street Project—High Injury Network—District 4, 10
  • University Avenue Complete Street Project—District 1, 12