Something I noticed about Atlanta guys after moving here: if it doesn't come in wrinkled khaki or polo, forget about it. Gross.
If you think about more historically pedestrian-friendly areas, it becomes very obvious that there are a couple of big factors at play:
1. The greater quantity of pedestrians in pedestrian-friendly areas often makes them more easily seen. I can think of multiple instances when I lived in D.C. in which cars that were dumb enough to stop in the middle of the crosswalk (a common occurrence in Atlanta) were completely engulfed by a sea of pedestrians. Um, awkward.
2. The design of Georgia's streets themselves makes watching for/interacting with pedestrians incredibly difficult. The speed limits on inner-city roads are too high, the size/width of the crosswalks themselves are laughably minuscule, and many crossings occur (as previously noted) in unsignaled locations. Additionally, traffic lanes that immediately hug the curb of a sidewalk make a pedestrian's intent to cross almost imperceptible. Think about how many times you've driven by a group of people near a crosswalk sign and wondered if they were just standing there chatting or too terrified to step out into the street. Also, crosswalks should occur in line with the intersections themselves to aid visibility, but the majority in Atlanta are set far back from the actual box of the intersection. Case in point: 17th & Peachtree St. Almost been struck here by cars making turns on multiple occasions.
So, pedestrian education is a big part of the solution, but getting GDOT to design streets that don't look like they were engineered by a 4th grader is also a bigger part.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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