Atlanta, Ga. – According to reports from the Atlanta City Council, there has been a lot of talk of temporarily re-purposing lanes within the city for pedestrian and cyclist use.
The latest report mentioned that the City Council members unanimously approved of the next step in this plan, which is to make an official request with the Commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Transportation. One of the members explained that a lot of the sidewalks within the City of Atlanta are too narrow, and this has become much more evident with the increased foot traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.
The idea of re-purposing traffic lanes aids in the goal of maintaining proper social distancing. Recently, other big cities, such as Boston and Denver, have re-purposed lanes as well. However, most critics of this proposal make the argument concerning Atlanta's heavy traffic.
The reality is that a lot of people are going back to work. And the majority of roads within the City of Atlanta are heavily trafficked with all lanes available for vehicles. So far, no specific streets have been mentioned regarding the proposal. But as an Atlanta DUI Defense Lawyer, I worry about what kind of an impact this could have on Atlanta's streets. I also wonder how much of a need there will be for such a re-purposing with more and more businesses opening back up. The more people return to “normal” daily routines, the less need the city will have for large foot traffic areas.
My concern rests with over-packed roads. I tend to write about the concept of busier roads meaning more traffic violations when there is a holiday or big event happening within the city. However, the same concept would apply here if we were to take away lanes. We have some of the worst traffic in the country. The last thing we need is something exaggerating that issue.
When too many drivers are on the road, an increasing percentage of those drivers end up frustrated and late for wherever they are headed. This leads to stupid driving. Stupid driving leads to citations and arrests. I'm sure most of you are thinking that an increase in small traffic violations is nothing too serious. However, small traffic violations come hand in hand with serious violations such as reckless driving, road rage, and DUI in Atlanta.
Again – we have some of the worst traffic in the United States. Not to mention that traffic violations have seen an uptick since the beginning of the pandemic. Agitating and frustrating more drivers as people go back to work seems like a bad idea to me.
The proposal will still need the Mayor's signature as well as approval from the Atlanta Department of Transportation. Hopefully, there is a middle ground that can support social distancing rules and guidelines as well as aid in keeping Atlanta's motorists and roads safe and clear.