Doraville, GA, October 14, 2016 – by Renee Turner, Staff Writer – In the wake of the recent deadly hit-and-run where a female pedestrian was killed on Buford Highway around 5:30 AM Thursday morning in Doraville, there are continued concerns regarding vehicular traffic, speeding, and pedestrian safety along the long stretch of Buford Highway. Police are still looking for the driver.
The fatality happened near English Oak Drive in Doraville. Around 9:00 AM, the scene was cleared and traffic had returned to the normal Buford Highway traffic, when The Post caught up with two Oakcliff residents who were talking about the fatality and about the dangers of Buford Highway.
Rick Maldonado and Dara Vrooman shared strong concerns about safety on the highway and told The Post something has to be done on a number of issues. “They [the drivers] can’t see,” Rick said as he pointed to the area going southbound of the hit-and-run across the street. “And it was dark when it happened”, Dara said.
Both were concerned about the dangers of the highway, vehicular traffic, visibility, speeding cars, and more. Another concern they had was that this happened on the Doraville/Gwinnett border and jurisdiction is a major issue in terms of 911 response. Rick cited that what was done in Brookhaven, a fairly new city, should be done in Doraville with regards to pedestrian safety.
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is holding a Public Information Open House Meeting on SR13/Buford Highway Pedestrian Improvements at Plaza Fiesta Mall on Sunday, October 23rd from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Signs announcing the open house were posted earlier in the week in Brookhaven. GDOT want to hear from the community regarding pedestrian safety on Buford Hwy. as they prepare for the continuation of the enhancements that were recently made in Brookhaven.
Natalie Dale, Media & Government Relations Liaison for GDOT supplied The Post with information for Phase II of the Safety Enhancement Project 2, which includes upgrading the existing or adding new sidewalks to meet ADA standards, adding a raised median in the existing two-way left-turn lane from Afton Lane to Clairmont Terrace, and adding pedestrian lighting. In addition, multiple pedestrian hybrid beacons are proposed along with mid-block pedestrian refuge/crossing islands.
Currently this project is in the Preliminary Design Phase and construction is proposed to begin in early 2020. The bidding process is expected to begin in spring of 2020. Right of way acquisition is expected to begin in summer of 2017 and will take 30 months to acquire all of the parcels necessary. This is a GDOT Sponsored Project and Atkins Global has been tasked by the Department to complete the Design Engineering and Environmental Activities (including Public Involvement).
Two GDOT Public Information Open Houses (PIOH) will be held to provide information to the Public and to receive comments about the proposed project;
- Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 4PM to 8PM at Plaza Fiesta located at 4166 Buford Highway, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30345
- Thursday, November 10, 2016 from 4PM to 8PM at Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) located at 3510 Shallowford Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30341
The format of these PIOH meetings will be informal. There will be no formal presentation, but GDOT representatives will be available to discuss the project and answer questions.
The purpose of this project is to reduce crash frequency and severity for the pedestrian public along SR 13/Buford Highway. In Georgia, nearly 9.4% of people killed in motor vehicle crashes were pedestrians, making pedestrian safety a focus area for GDOT. National statistics are relatively higher averaging a rate of 13%.
Upgrading the pedestrian facilities by adding refuge islands, sidewalks, pedestrian hybrid beacons and the addition of pedestrian lighting throughout the corridor will result in a greater reduction in crash frequency and severity. The pedestrian hybrid beacon and the pedestrian crossing islands are two of the nine proven safety countermeasures listed by the Federal Highway Administration.