(Scroll to the bottom for our Call to Action)
This is a saying we are all familiar with. Be safe. Don’t slip. Unplug the curlers. Whatever. Whether it be on a work site, our schools or at home. And while driving, too. But what about persons walking on foot? How about the residents & children that live along our streets? “Look both ways before crossing”. “Stop, look & listen” are what we were taught. These are actions we take as individuals walking around. But what about the conditions & the environment around us? How are our streets engineered and designed? Who are they designed for? By default, can people simply and safely cross our streets? Can children play out in our neighborhood streets where it’s posted at 25 miles per hour? Time & time again on a daily basis in Dunwoody, we see unsafe conditions and actions of motor vehicle operators that need to change. Why? There’s many causes, but a huge one is engineering and the current built environment.
We ask that the Dunwoody City Council reflect our community value of “Safety First” and take immediate actions to reduce the likelihood of a crashes that can cause injuries or fatalities of our citizens and guests. Put Safety First as the number one criteria in our budgeting formula for fixing and maintaining our streets.
Our Dunwoody streets need paving. We all acknowledge this and we transfer nearly ten percent of our city’s budget into these efforts each year. But there needs to be a priority of funding for SAFETY above all else.
$250,000 for Safety
During the March 14th city council meeting, there is a proposal to allocate an additional $250,000 from the 2016 General Fund to paving. We have already budgeted $2,300,000 for paving in 2016. As a 13-square mile city, we spend more on paving than the entirety of Carroll county, which has 500 square miles. We ask that these precious funds be directed into safety projects to protect our most vulnerable users.
To accomplish this, please remove the “Resolution to Amend the 2016 Operating and Capital Budgets” from the Consent Agenda and open it up to discussion and a separate vote. (See footnotes for background info on how Consent Agendas work.)
To download the Council Agenda item click HERE
Our public thoroughfares need to be re-engineered to a human-scale. Today, they are built so that cars can drive as fast & efficiently as possible through our city. Look at North Peachtree in the Kingsley neighborhood. Look at Stonington and their long-term and ongoing efforts of the residents in their attempt for traffic calming measures. Look at the new pedestrian crossing with flashing beacon lights on Mt. Vernon & Stratham. Each day, cars zoom by as people on foot press the crosswalk button. The lights flash while families anxiously wait to cross and walk to school or meet their neighbors. Evidence as posted to the NEXTDOOR website. We have dozens of other examples. A white painted crosswalk marking, or even flashing beacon lights only do so much.
Safety must be the number one priority of how we spend our Public Works dollars. We’ll all eventually have smooth, paved roads.
We are sending out a plea out to our city council to focus on funding for the SAFETY of our public on our streets, instead of accelerating the scheduled paving plan. Adopt a “Vision Zero” policy so that we re-engineer our streets with the goal of ZERO injuries or fatalities of pedestrians, visually impaired (could you imagine a BLIND person attempting to walk across any of our streets today??), persons in wheelchairs, on bicycles, disabled, or people in motor vehicles.
No loss of life is acceptable. The Vision Zero approach has proven highly successful in other cities and in countries around the world. It is based on the simple fact that we are human and make mistakes. The road system needs to keep us moving. But it must also be designed to protect us at every turn. We’re also naturally prone to be distracted and have our attention diverted by music, phone calls, smoking, passengers, insects, or events outside the car. On top of this, we just make silly mistakes. The human factor is always present – 365 days a year. An effective road safety system needs to take human fallibility into account. (Reference click here)
For example, care to know some of the tools to design a safe crosswalk? Look to the original proposed design on Mt. Vernon & Forest Springs Drive that was presented to city council last August. It included a raised crosswalk with ramps, marking, signage and vehicle travel lane reconfiguration to “funnel” cars and SLOW them down. There’s LOTS of tools in the toolbox that need to be used to make our city streets safer.
Our city council did not choose that design and instead opted for a light that flashes when a pedestrian pushes the cross button. With that design, when the light flashes cars most times do NOT stop. Plus, without the island refuge in the middle, a person has to cross two full lanes of traffic — HOPING that cars in both directions stop – another rare occurrence. In not choosing the recommended design, we’ve heard that some on our council expressed “concern” in that it would be inconvenient to drivers. Details on the original Mt. Vernon crossing are posted here.
Let’s put public safety first and reflect that in our budget. Let’s put that extra $250,000 into re-engineering our streets so that they are safer for everyone.
Call to Action
If you support funding greater safety measures for the citizens of Dunwoody on our streets, please help us by taking action on the following items.
- Sign this on-line petition: Click HERE
- Attend the City Council meeting on March 14th. Arrive by 5:40 pm. Signup for Public Comments and sound your voice for funding SAFE STREETS for ALL PEOPLE over additional paving. Fill out a 3×5 Public Comment card & hand it in to the Clerk BEFORE the meeting starts at 6 pm. Address: 41 Perimeter Center East. Ground Floor.
Facebook Event posted HERE
- Call, email and ask to meet in person with our Mayor, Denis Shortal and ask for his financial commitment to allocating any additional funding into making our streets SAFER.
Mayor Denis Shortal: [email protected]
City Hall Phone: 678-382-6700 (Call & leave a message)
- Contact our City Council members in separate emails and ask for their commitment as well. This can be in a phone call, or email. Better yet? Meet in person for coffee, lunch, beer, etc.
Pam Talmadge: [email protected]
Jim Riticher: [email protected]
Doug Thompson: [email protected]
Terry Nall: [email protected]
Lynn Deutsch: [email protected]
John Heneghan: [email protected]
- Ask your friends & neighbors to do the same
- Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, neighborhood email.
- Write a Letter to the Editor of The Crier, Dunwoody Neighbor, etc.
March 14, 2016 City Council Agenda is posted HERE
Under the Consent Agenda*, see the item listed as: “Resolution to Amend the 2016 Operating and Capital Budgets”
|Resolution to Amend the 2016 Operating and Capital Budgets. (RESOLUTION 2016-XX-XX) (Chris Pike)
Submitted as evidence
Videos to show the failure of cars to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
* Consent Agenda Definition:
Several voting items are put under one administrative “bucket”. This is an “all or nothing” situation. Where the Council votes yes or no to the entirety of the items listed. Usually, Consent Agenda items are housekeeping ad administrative in nature. There is no Council discussion of any of the items. The only way a separate item can be voted upon — and individually discussed — is if a Council Member at the beginning of the meeting makes a motion to remove an item from the Consent Agenda and be placed as an individual item. Then they get a second and then a majority votes to put it as a separate item for discussion and vote. This happens quite often. For example, the February 22nd meeting Mayor Shortal moved to take two items out of the Consent Agenda, and was successful.