Between Your Bus Stop and Your Job — A Deadly Road

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If you don’t have access to a car, it can be hard to get to work in sprawled out America. The wait for the bus might be long, and you might have to transfer at least once, and then there’s often a final cruel barrier: a dangerous road between your bus stop and your job.

Romana Devore, 54, was on her way to work at a Verizon office outside Atlanta last week, walking across North Point Parkway — a seven-lane speedway in Alpharetta — when she was struck and killed. Rote coverage of the crash made no mention of the dangerous street design that cost Devore her life and puts other bus riders at risk.

Darin Givens at ThreadATL says Devore’s death could have been prevented if the street had been designed with pedestrian safety in mind. But there was simply no safe place for her to cross:

See the above image for a look at where the Verizon office sits. Notice what’s missing between this MARTA bus stop and this office building: anything that would allow a person to walk safely across this sea of car lanes. No traffic light, no crosswalk.

There’s a traffic signal with a crosswalk about 466 feet away, well out of view of anyone standing at this bus stop. Many people will blame the pedestrian saying that “she should have walked up ahead until she found a crosswalk.”

But it isn’t that simple. Look at the design of those turning lanes at the intersection of North Point Pkwy and Kimball Bridge Rd — their curves beckon drivers to maintain movement rather than to stop and look for pedestrians. There is in fact a “Keep Moving” sign at the intersection (pictured below), so even when pedestrians have a crossing signal, cars are basically ordered to move forward into the crosswalks.

Photo: Darin Givens
Photo: Darin Givens

The fault doesn’t lie with the transit agency, Givens says. MARTA can’t put the bus stop in a turn lane, and it’s not the agency responsible for street design. The Atlanta region is full of bus stops just like the one where Devore was killed, he says:

Research by the Atlanta Regional Commission in 2010 showed that 21 percent of vehicle-pedestrian crashes in metro Atlanta occurred within 100 feet of a transit stop. Nearly half occurred within 300 feet of a transit stop.

That info comes from the Safe Routes to Transit report from PEDS, a group that advocates for pedestrian safety in the Atlanta region.

Local governments and Georgia DOT will have to work together to make streets safer near bus stops.

More recommended reading today: Do Lee at Intersectional Riding picks apart Bill de Blasio’s cruel crackdown on immigrant delivery cyclists who use e-bikes. And Stop and Move reviews Fresno’s new bus rapid transit route.