About 50 people, including Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, attended a rally near the scene of an accident that killed Grady High School freshman Alexia Hyneman. Members of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition said Monday they hope the child’s death will lead to changes at the intersection. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: John Spink
Photo: John Spink

Grady student’s death ignites calls for changes at Midtown intersection

After a Grady High School freshman was hit and killed while riding her bicycle at 10th Street and Monroe Drive, members of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition on Monday called for a safety overhaul of an intersection they say is unsafe for bikers and walkers in the area.

Alexia Hyneman, 14, died last Friday after being hit by a car one day earlier, according to a post on her mother’s Facebook page.

“No one should die trying to get home,” said Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Serna, a mother of three children who walk and bike to school in the area, said Alexia’s death is a tragic reminder that the intersection doesn’t accommodate those walking and biking in the area.

“Many of us have been involved in close calls at this very intersection,” she said.

Alexia’s friends and family brought stuffed animals, flowers and messages to a vigil on Saturday near the site of the accident. Some returned Monday for a rally.

“We’re here in support of the family and in support of the community,” Serna said. “But we’re also here requesting, calling for, demanding change.”

Hall said changing a signal can cost $75,000 to $100,000 as well as an investment of time to research how the change would impact an area running from Piedmont Avenue at Monroe Drive to at least Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Hall, who said he rides his bike in the area, said it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure safe travel for bikers.

That has to mean investment from the City Council and research into how changing a signal would impact nearby Henry W. Grady High School, park activities, retail and development, Hall said.

He recommended tapping into pots of about $8 million in impact fees and about $5 million in special funding from council members to make needed changes.

“Many of us are cyclists, and we have children who have been cyclists,” Hall said. “So it matters that we figure out a safer experience for all our citizens, whether it be here or in southwest Atlanta, southeast Atlanta [or] northwest Atlanta.”

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