ATL DOT officials unveil safety improvement plan for Midtown, West End corridors

After reporting 100 traffic fatalities on Atlanta city streets just three years ago, Atlanta Department of Transportation officials are taking steps to reduce those numbers as part of a citywide initiative to eliminate traffic deaths. 

That plan includes $8 million worth of safety improvements along a 14-block stretch of Juniper Street in Midtown.  

"The ‘Vision Zero Action Plan’ will serve as a roadway for reducing traffic fatalities to zero," Atlanta Department of Transportation Commissioner Solomon Caviness told reporters. 

ATL DOT traffic studies identified Juniper Street and Lee Street as two of Atlanta’s most dangerous corridors. 

"Lee Street, like Juniper, is one of the streets on our high injury network it’s the 10 percent of city streets that account for 73 percent of fatalities and severe injuries," John Saxton with ATL DOT’s mobility planning division explained. 

"Six hundred twenty crashes between the beginning of 2018 and the middle of 2022…that’s a little over one every 3 days," Midtown Alliance CEO Kevin Green said of Juniper Street. 

Caviness said lowering the speed limit and installing LED streetlights has helped reduce fatalities by 23 percent but that still isn’t enough.  

"Vulnerable road users, scooter riders, bicyclists, pedestrians all peaked at 38 fatalities in 2022," he said. 

Improvements on Juniper Street will include widened sidewalks, safer pedestrian crossings, better traffic signals and a dedicated bike lane with a physical barrier. The bike lane will replace a traffic lane. 

On Lee Street, officials said existing barriers near the west end MARTA station will also be replaced with that project expected to begin in 2026. 

Akeem Williams told FOX 5 he rides his scooter down Lee Street frequently; he is looking forward to seeing those changes. 

"Sometimes it’s a little scary…I’m on this little scooter and I’m riding by these big buses," he said. 

City leaders said the effort to make Atlanta city streets safer is personal for DOT employees. 

"Our first ‘Vision Zero’ manager Kimberly Sergeant in 2021…we lost her tragically to a similar incident that we’re trying to prevent," Betty Smoot-Madison said. 

Construction of bike lanes on Juniper Street should be complete by December 2024.