By Brent Huff, Mike Gardner, and Karlyn Beer
Moreland Avenue is one of the busiest streets in Atlanta carrying almost 30,000 vehicles per day. It is both a federal and a state highway, divides Fulton and DeKalb counties, and was originally known as County Line Road. It touches multiple neighborhood planning units, city council districts, and many neighborhoods.
The South Moreland Avenue Working Group (SMAWG) was established in 2019 as a multi-neighborhood collaboration to make Moreland Avenue a safer corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists from I-20 to I-285. SMAWG’s aim is to cultivate a consistent, long-term collaboration with local and state partners to improve safety on Moreland Avenue.
Moreland Avenue efficiently moves tens of thousands of vehicles within Atlanta every day, but this comes at a human cost. Moreland Avenue ranks #1 on the list of Atlanta’s High Injury Road Network. A recent Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)-led Road Safety Audit (RSA) found that from 2015 to 2019, there were 686 reported crashes on Moreland from Glenwood Avenue to Skyhaven Road. This included nine pedestrian crashes and four fatalities.
Speeding is persistent, curbs have been overtopped by repaving, crosswalks are few and far between, and bike lanes are nonexistent. Poorly maintained and unsafe sidewalks were a top deficiency identified in the RSA. While there is broad support for making Moreland a safer road, improving it is complex due to the number of stakeholders involved and lack of alignment between GDOT and the City of Atlanta over jurisdiction and responsibility.
Monthly SMAWG meetings have included the GDOT, AtlDOT (Atlanta Department of Transportation), Atlanta Bicycle Coalition/PEDS, and elected officials from both the city and state. A key focus has been to provide input ahead of GDOT’s scheduled projects including repaving and other improvements on Moreland Avenue later this year.
SMAWG has consistently advocated that these projects must include safety improvements. Members participated in a review of the RSA, providing recommendations including pedestrian hybrid beacons, crosswalks, sidewalk and curb replacement, planted medians, speed feedback signs, and eliminating dangerous two-way turn lanes. SMAWG will continue to advocate for a safer Moreland Avenue. SMAWG can be reached at email@example.com.