Alpharetta is working to become a more walkable community and now has a roadmap for making the city a safer place for pedestrians and bicyclists. On May 6 the Alpharetta City Council adopted the recommendations of a study completed by an engineering firm that provides the city with a tool to guide future development and capital projects related to pedestrian activity and safety.
“While the study was focused on Downtown Alpharetta, its guiding principles and strategies can be applied throughout the community; especially within key activity centers,” explained Eric Graves, a senior transportation engineer in the City’s Community Development Department. “The main strategy is to implement traffic calming measures and streetscape improvements that implicitly signal to drivers that they have arrived in a place where they should expect pedestrian activity. Downtown Alpharetta and our other activity centers are places to drive to, not places to drive through.”
Consultants grouped their recommendations into four categories; maintenance items, quick response countermeasures, near-term projects, and long-term projects. Maintenance items include actions such as pruning vegetation, repairing sidewalks, and replacing faded crosswalk markings. Quick response countermeasures are strategies like prohibiting right turn on red movements at key intersections and eliminating on-street parking within 25 feet of crosswalks.
“Many of those actions can be undertaken quickly and will have an immediate, positive impact on walkability and improve safety,” said Pete Sewczwicz, Alpharetta’s Director of Public Works. The department he leads drove the study and will be responsible for executing the strategies outlined in the first two groups.
The near-term and long-term projects will require varying levels of investment by the City and the private sector and will be pursued by the Public Works and Community Development Departments over a period of years. These measures run a gambit from constructing raised crosswalks, to the installation of roundabouts, to connecting activity centers with dedicated pedestrian-only corridors.
“The City will have to determine which of the larger projects identified by our consultants are appropriate, effective, and financially justifiable,” stated Sewczwicz. “It will make sense for some to be undertaken by the private sector as it develops adjacent properties. Others may look good when considered in isolation but not be effective when viewed in the context of overall mobility, moving people effectively regardless of if they are in cars, walking, riding a bike, or using other forms of transportation.”