The Georgia Department of Transportation is hoping that new pedestrian crossings will help make a dangerous northwest Atlanta street more safe.
Three new pedestrian crossings will be installed over the next year along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, with one of them being near where 14-year-old Jermaine “JJ” Wallace Jr. was hit and killed last year, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Wallace, a ninth grade student at Douglass High School, was waiting for a school bus Sept. 6 when the deadly incident took place, AJC.com previously reported.
“His death is extremely unfortunate, especially for those of us who’ve been working to get a safe crossing here for a number of years,” GDOT district engineer Kathy Zahul told Channel 2.
The crossings will be high-intensity activated crosswalks (also known as HAWK signals), which allow pedestrians to press a button to activate flashing lights when walking, Zahul said. Those lights cycle between solid red lights, solid yellow lights and flashing yellow lights.
Following Wallace’s death, GDOT engineers reevaluated that segment of the street, which was near Center Hill Park, Channel 2 reported. As a result, the agency will add three HAWK signals in the area.
An Atlanta woman, 32-year-old Antoinette Monique Peters, was later arrested and charged in connection with Wallace’s death. She was charged with three misdemeanors in late September after authorities completed a speed analysis on the deadly incident.
The analysis found that she was driving her Chevrolet Camaro between 62 and 65 mph in the 35-mph zone when she hit the child, who was crossing the street about 8 a.m., according to Atlanta police. She stayed at the scene to speak with investigators.
Peters’ case is still pending, and she faces counts of second-degree vehicular homicide, speeding and driving with an expired license plate, Fulton County court records show. She was previously released from jail on a $80,500 bond.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.