Atlanta’s transportation department to roll out over 18 months

Council member and transportation committee chair Andre Dickens said the department will be fully functioning within 18 months. Work to organize and staff the department will begin immediately. Dickens co-authored legislation to form the department.  (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Council member and transportation committee chair Andre Dickens said the department will be fully functioning within 18 months. Work to organize and staff the department will begin immediately. Dickens co-authored legislation to form the department. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Atlanta residents will soon have a centralized place where they can voice their transportation concerns.

Atlanta City Council members unanimously approved a new Department of Transportation during its meeting Monday. The department is expected to cost $750,000 to fund in its first year. A commissioner will also be hired to oversee the department.

Council member and transportation committee chair Andre Dickens said the department will be fully functioning within 18 months. Work to organize and staff the department will begin immediately. Dickens co-authored legislation to form the department.

“We just have to do it carefully and efficiently,” Dickens said.

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Dickens has worked toward forming the department since March 2017, when a study was commissioned to assess Atlanta’s need for a transportation department.

Right now, the city’s transportation needs are addressed across three departments: the public works department, which repairs the city’s roads; the planning department, which designs them; and Renew Atlanta, which makes long-term investments in the city’s transportation infrastructure. Dickens said current employees will be reassigned to the department.

The transportation department will be divided into four offices — operations and maintenance; capital projects; mobility strategy, planning and performance; and an office of the commissioner, which will be responsible for creating and managing transportation projects, and overseeing maintenance issues and funding.

Dickens said part of the budget will allow for community input throughout the months-long rollout process.

“As we roll this out, communities can tell us how they want the department to communicate with them,” she said.

In the meantime, residents will still be able to send their transportation issues to atl311.com, which is a mobile app and a website where residents can notify the city of road issues or other non-emergency city service needs.

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