Opinion: Improving safety on D.L. Hollowell Parkway corridor

Rolanda Powell waits to merge onto Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway from Center Hill Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Rolanda Powell, head of her neighborhood organization, has been raising concerns about the safety of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway following several recent fatalities. (Photo/Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Rolanda Powell waits to merge onto Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway from Center Hill Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Rolanda Powell, head of her neighborhood organization, has been raising concerns about the safety of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway following several recent fatalities. (Photo/Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

In recent years, Donald Lee Hollowell (D.L. Hollowell) Parkway in Fulton County in Atlanta has become the focus of much attention regarding safety along the highly congested and heavily trafficked corridor. I would like to take the opportunity to update the community on the progress made – and safety improvements currently in the works - by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) with support and input from local residents and officials, and working in concert with many partner agencies and groups.

GDOT staff from multiple divisions and offices have been intensely focused on analyzing, identifying, and performing safety improvements for both pedestrians and motorists on D.L. Hollowell Parkway for several years. These efforts have been in conjunction with the City of Atlanta Department of Transportation, Atlanta City Council Members, the Atlanta Police Department, PEDS Atlanta, and representatives from nearby Neighborhood Planning Units. I can assure everyone that GDOT has listened and been responsive.

GDOT completed a Road Safety Audit (RSA) in early 2018 which provided recommendations for short-term, intermediate, and long-term fixes along the corridor. By mid-2020, 84% of the recommendations in the RSA had been implemented on the corridor or included in an upcoming project. The completed recommendations include improvements to the existing pavement and crosswalk markings, tree-trimming to improve sight distance and new traffic control signage. In 2019 D.L. Hollowell Parkway was reviewed as part of the Atlanta Intown Multimodal Safety Analysis Study, which identified the corridor as a high priority for safety improvements to benefit all road users.

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Stacey Key

Credit: contributed

Stacey Key

Credit: contributed

Combined ShapeCaption
Stacey Key

Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed

In 2020, GDOT conducted an additional safety study to solidify the feasibility of more comprehensive, longer-term safety improvements. The results of the study indicate that safety in a section of D.L. Hollowell Parkway between State Route 280 and Stiff Street near the Bankhead MARTA station could be further improved with permanent modifications to the roadway and the addition of left-turn lanes and additional pedestrian crossings. GDOT has been working in collaboration with the Atlanta Department of Transportation on this initiative since the conclusion of the 2019 study and is now moving forward to deliver the improvements to the public.

Considering and incorporating feedback from the public and the local community is a critically important part of GDOT’s process. GDOT plans to provide public meetings, gain feedback and provide information as we work with the community on implementing the changes associated with these improvements. All decisions are professionally and carefully evaluated in a deliberate manner and always focused on safety.

In the interim, GDOT has also installed a new pedestrian crosswalk and pedestrian-activated traffic signal. Known as a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB), the new signal and crosswalk are located near the intersection with Center Hill Avenue immediately adjacent to the Johnnie B. Moore senior living facility. Pedestrians activate the signal, which triggers a sequence of flashing and solid lights that indicate the pedestrian walk interval and when it is safe for drivers to proceed. Additional PHBs and crosswalks are also being developed, with one prospective location identified near Woods Drive and another near North Eugenia Place.

I would like to commend City Council Members Antonio Brown, Dustin Hillis, Andre Dickens, Matt Westmoreland, and Michael Julian Bond for their advocacy and support for pedestrian safety in this corridor. I would also like to thank Lt. Jeff Childers and the Atlanta Police Department for their insight and support during field evaluations. I am grateful to Atlanta DOT Commissioner Josh Rowan and his team for their partnership on this and many other efforts to improve safety and mobility throughout the city of Atlanta. Finally, I extend a special thanks to our dedicated GDOT employees from various offices and areas of expertise who are bringing these very positive changes to D.L. Hollowell.

I hope this information helps clear up any misunderstanding regarding GDOT’s commitment to public safety, on the D.L. Hollowell Parkway corridor and across Georgia. The department’s number-one concern is the safety of the traveling public and I can assure you that GDOT will always focus on ensuring the safest possible environment for our citizens.

I look forward to working with the GDOT team to share the department’s proposals for these safety improvements and to hear your thoughts and comments.

Stacey Key serves on the State Transportation Board, representing Georgia Congressional District 5.