A Safer Memorial Drive

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Will you sign the petition for a safer Memorial Drive?

 

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The Issue

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Solutions

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In The News

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More safety improvements are in the works on Memorial Drive from Candler Road in East Lake to Grant Street in Grant Park! Georgia Department of Transportation's plans include a complete street between Pearl Street and Grant Street with a bike lane, mid-block pedestrian crossings, and improved medians. More info: GDOT notification letter

Take Action

Let’s rally in support of these improvements – and advocate to make them even better! 

  • For community members: Sign the petition on this page to show your support for a safer Memorial Drive with protected bike lanes! 
  • Neighborhoods, businesses, and organizations: Send your letter of support to GDOT. You're welcome to use language from our letter.
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The Issue

Memorial Drive is a key east-west corridor in the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County. It’s home to six different neighborhoods with thousands of residents and workers, five schools, not to mention daily destinations such as grocery stores, parks, jobs, as well as a high-ridership MARTA bus route (#21). With so many kids and adults alike walking and biking to schools, work, and recreational destinations, continuous sidewalks and high-quality crossings are essential for community safety.

Memorial Drive is especially important to us because it’s on what’s known as the “High-Injury Network” – those relatively few streets that account for the majority of serious injury and fatal traffic crashes. One of our core goals is to save lives by abolishing the High-Injury Network.

Important but Incomplete Fixes

In 2019, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) gave Memorial Drive between Candler Road and Pearl Street a safety facelift. The project replaced the dangerous reversible lane with a center turn lane and added two pedestrian crossings and striped medians, immediately making the road safer and reducing crashes significantly. However, it didn’t go beyond Pearl Street in Cabbagetown, where Memorial Drive widens suddenly to five lanes of traffic and is missing sections of sidewalks, nor did it add any bike lanes. 

 

Community-Based Solutions

Following the 2019 project, Propel ATL heard from residents and neighborhoods along Memorial Drive wanting to extend the 3-lane configuration, make Memorial Drive safer to cross, and add infrastructure for people biking. As a result, we asked GDOT to explore continuing the safer road design west of Pearl Street.

On August 3, 2023, GDOT sent notification letters to residents along the corridor from East Lake to Grant Park regarding a second phase of the 2019 facelift. Plans include adding a bike lane, reconfiguring the lanes between Pearl Street and Grant Street, adding mid-block pedestrian crossings, and placing restrictions on left turns at various locations.  

 

From letter mailed to residents along the corridor on August 3, 2023, re P.I. # 0019558

 

(There's another GDOT project – PI# 0012597) – on Memorial Drive that was originally intended for sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. We hope to have updates on this project soon.)

These projects have the potential to replicate the safety successes of the 2019 project, with a few changes. 

We are requesting the following changes:

1. PI 0019558

  • Add physical protection to the bike lane on Memorial Drive between Grant Street and Pearl Street. Ideally, this would be a raised curb, with flexposts and green paint to maximize the safety benefits of this bike facility. 
  • Install a mid-block pedestrian crossing at one of the unsignalized intersections between Pearl Street and Boulevard SE, where many people currently cross the street to get to local businesses or residences.
  • Replace the flexible medians throughout the corridor with concrete. 
  • Install a pedestrian scramble at Eva Davis Way / East Lake Terrace and Memorial Drive to make the crossing safe for children on their way to school and the YMCA.
  • Assess the right-turn only lane on eastbound Memorial Drive at 2nd Ave for opportunities to make the intersection safer to cross on foot (large vehicles often mount the curb onto the sidewalk when making a right turn).

2. PI 0012597

  • Repair broken sidewalks, replace missing sidewalk sections, and ensure ADA compliance by installing ramps where needed throughout the project.
  • Allocate space for street trees along the corridor where right-of-way allows, in partnership with the City of Atlanta.
  • Widen the sidewalk and install a pedestrian scramble at Eva Davis Way to protect pedestrians crossing Memorial Drive.

3. New project

  • Extend the 3-lane configuration and bike lane west from Grant Street to connect with bike lanes on Memorial Drive in Downtown Atlanta. 

In The News / Resources

GDOT to strip part of Memorial Drive of its ‘suicide lanes’Curbed Atlanta 

Restriping and Lane Changes to Start on Memorial DriveCabbagetown, Atlanta

Before/after: Memorial Drive's unreal transformation in recent years | Urbanize Atlanta 

Imagine Memorial Drive without all the speeding | Propel ATL 

IMAGINE MEMORIAL LIVABLE CENTERS INITIATIVE | Lord Aeck Sargent 

 

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