Here in Atlanta, we're often called out for our transportation challenges. Transit service, though increasing, remains anemic. Where traffic isn't congested, speeding is rampant, and many people feel they lack safe alternatives to driving. It comes as no surprise to newcomers to learn we don't have a city department that is focused solely on transportation. The idea of creating a city department to plan, fund, deliver, and manage transportation projects and services is not a new one, but it seems to have gained new life.
Last year the Atlanta City Council commissioned a feasibility study, released this March, titled “Delivering Mobility: An Assessment of a Stand-Alone Atlanta Atlanta Transportation Department.”
Now the Atlanta City Council Transportation Committee has scheduled a work session to discuss the findings, scheduled for Wednesday April 18 from 11 am - 1 pm at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Ave SW, in Council Chambers (please note location has changed from Committee Room 1).
Your Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will participate, and the public is invited to attend. You can also watch the session on Channel 26.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition supports creating a standalone department dedicated to streets and mobility - in fact, it's our 2nd highest priority to champion for 2018. To learn more, check out our 2018 ATL DOT policy paper.
Whether it's called the ATL DOT or the Department of Streets & Mobility, creating this department would restructure our current transportation, public works, and planning tools in order to better leverage resources and streamline project delivery. It would be better able to implement a strong vision based on equitable transportation for our city's future.
By having one department govern the full lifecycle of transportation projects — from planning, project identification, project funding, and project design, to implementation and maintenance — the City of Atlanta would be best positioned to build a balanced transportation network that prioritizes safe mobility for all.
After reviewing the feasibility study, our preferred option is for the Mayor to appoint an “Interim Director of Transportation” to establish the department with minimal political pressure. After 9 months, the mayor would then appoint a permanent Director of Transportation to implement the strategic plan, facilitate communication within existing departments, and engage employees and stakeholders in the process of governance restructuring. The Director of Transportation will report to the Mayor and Chief of Staff and will lead both the reorganization process and the newly created department.