Thursday, September 5, 2013

North Decatur Rd. Safety Audit: notes from Sept. 5 meeting

Road Safety Audit focus: North Decatur Road (purple) and Clifton Road (blue). Orange bursts highlight problematic intersections (Clairmont, Wendan, Scott/Medlock). Click to enlarge.
For those who could not make this afternoon's meeting, the September 26 meeting will also cover the audit's recommendations. The audit is an incremental process where new comments and concerns are added to the study as more community members chime in. The September 26 meeting will also include comments from representatives from involved municipalities (DeKalb Co., City of Decatur).

Many thanks to Leah Ingve (Emory School of Public Health) and Rebecca Serna (Atlanta Bicycle Coalition) for leading this audit and today's presentation. The meeting was well attended and there is great energy to work together and start the process that will improve safety and quality of life in this high-traffic corridor.

A few highlights from the meeting:

Previous traffic counts estimated ~19K cars/day for the North Decatur Rd. area between the Scott Blvd and Clairmont intersections. The presenters update these counts as follows:
~17K at Suburban Plaza (North Decatur Rd / Scott Blvd. / Medlock intersection)
~23K at Wendan and North Decatur Rd
~16K at Emory Village

The unexpectedly high count at Wendan (which also shows highest travel speeds) may make a road diet less effective. The emphasis on improving traffic flow relates to lowering risk at intersections (where most accidents happen) and making roads safer so that cyclists use the road rather than take to the sidewalk, where their presence increases pedestrian accidents.

Unsurprisingly, the Medlock/Scott/North Decatur Rd intersection was perceived to "not work on foot or bike." At the very least, there is a need to complete striping on crossroads, improve pedestrian signals, and make sure the light timing is long enough to allow a pedestrian or cyclist to cross. Ramps are also needed. The intersection requires further study. As we have heard many times, this is the busiest intersection in the County. GDOT does not want to implement changes that interfere with vehicular flow, and that is the very thing that is necessary to ensure safe passage for pedestrians  and cyclists.

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will post an updated version of the slides used in today's presentation, which will include details on recommendations by area (Clifton Rd., North Decatur Rd at Wendan, Clairmont and Scott Blvd.).