Pedestrian Safety Review Board
Creating a Walkable Macon-Bibb
Keeping the community safe!
Responding to concerns about pedestrian safety, the Macon-Bibb County Commission approved an ordinance sponsored by District 3 Commissioner Elaine Lucas that created the Pedestrian Safety Review Board(Board). It is charged by the Commission with finding ways to make all of the county’s roads, streets, and alleys safe for pedestrians.
Governor’s Office of Highway Safety films pedestrian safety video in Macon-Bibb County featuring Captain Brad Wolfe from the Bibb Sheriff’s Office.
The Board is Not Alone!
Meeting each month, the Board establishes a forum for the sheriff’s department, health department, county schools, traffic engineers, facilities management, planning and zoning, elected officials, AARP, and concerned citizens to develop strategies for creating a safer environment for pedestrians. There are also several local and state organizations working to create safer, more active streets and roads in Macon-Bibb County. Some of their 2016 initiatives are included in the toggle below:
- Road Safety Audits of Eisenhower Parkway and Emery Highway conducted by GDOT and county staff in January and June.
- Open Streets Macon, which closed College Street to cars and opened it to people to play, walk, bike, breathe, and make their own for one afternoon. Held in April and planned for November (organized by the Urban Development Authority and Bike Macon).
- The Bibb County Board of Health endorsed Vision Zero as a strategy for creating safer streets in April.
- The Macon-Bibb County Commission endorsed and supported Vision Zero as a strategy for creating safer streets in May.
- Presentations by internationally renowned active communities advocate Gil Penalosa of 8-80 Cities. Organized by the Urban Development Authority, NewTown Macon, 8-80 Cities, and others, the forums in June inspired community leaders and shared strategies used by cities around the world to create active communities.
- The Georgia Walks Summit this June was the first statewide conference dedicated to creating more walkable communities. The Summit brought over 100 traffic engineers, planners, public health and pedestrian advocates from around the state to Macon to share ideas for improving pedestrian safety (organized by GDOT and PEDS).
- Macon-Bibb County Pedestrian Summit, planned for August 16, the summit is dedicated to defining the county’s pedestrian safety concerns and laying out strategies for making our community safer (organized by the Pedestrian Fatality Review Board and the County Department of Health).
- Complete Streets training organized by Middle Georgia Regional Commission and Georgia Bikes this training will introduce road design concepts that can help Macon-Bibb County create an equitable, safe, and efficient multi-modal transportation network.
- Macon Connects this two day event in September, organized by NewTown Macon and 8-80 Cities, will provide a temporary pedestrian and bicycling grid fully connecting downtown Macon and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail.
Building on Community Successes
While the Board is working to become an organizing focal point for many pedestrian improvement efforts, it is not starting from scratch in its efforts to make walking the safest, most accessible, and most healthful form of transportation in the county. Community master plans like the Macon Action Plan and the College Hill Corridor Master Plan are helping the community envision more pedestrian and bicycle friendly development in downtown and have helped guide substantial pedestrian improvements in and around Tattnall Square Park and Mercer Village. The downtown’s newest gateway project, the Second Street Corridor, includes sidewalks and an 8-foot multi-use path and is now graced by a new pedestrian bridge at Stadium Drive. And, new speed humps and flashing lights have been added on Ingleside Avenue to help protect pedestrians.
The first Pedestrian Safety Summit was held in Government Center on August 16, and the community was invited to learn about the creation and goals of the Committee, hear about the current issues with pedestrian safety based on real data, get a roads assessment by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and learn about some of the solutions being discussed and implemented.
Presentations were given from a variety of organizations on the need for and solutions to improving Macon-Bibb’s roadways, and those can be seen to the right.
Core Principles of Vision Zero
The Vision Zero concept was created in Sweden in 1997 and is widely credited with a significant reduction in fatal and serious crashes on Sweden’s roads since that time.
Cities across the United States are adopting bold Vision Zero initiatives that share common principles:
- Traffic deaths are preventable and unacceptable.
- Human life takes priority over mobility and other objectives of the road system. The street system should be safe for all users, for all modes of transportation, in all communities, and for people of all ages and abilities.
- Human error is inevitable and unpredictable; the transportation system should be designed to anticipate error so the consequence is not severe injury or death. Advancements in vehicle design and technology are necessary to avoid the safety impacts of human errors and poor behaviors.
- People are inherently vulnerable and speed is a fundamental predictor of crash survival. The transportation system should be designed for speeds that protect human life.
- Safe human behaviors, education, and enforcement are essential contributors to a safe system.
- Policies at all levels of government need to align with making safety the highest priority for roadways.
Who is on the Board?
Members of the Macon-Bibb County Pedestrian Safety Review Board include:
- Michael Ryan, Chair
- Chris Tsavatewa, Vice-Chair
- Commissioner Elaine Lucas
- Violet Poe
- Nigel Floyd, County Traffic Engineer
- Lt. Brad Wolfe, Bibb County Sheriff Department
- Rob Ryals, Director of Facilities Management
- Tom Ellington
- Capt. Eric Walker, Bibb County Sheriff
- Sam Henderson, Mayor’s Office
In just over a year, the Board has:
- Started an education campaign to help encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks;
- Hired a consultant to help the county consider Vision Zero strategies to reduce traffic fatalities;
- Planned the first Macon-Bibb County Pedestrian Safety Summit for August 16, 2016;
- Developed a list of potential SPLOST projects that provide sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian safety improvements at high risk locations; and,
- Begun improving data collection and mapping of high collision and dangerous roadways and intersections.