Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America

By: Angie Schmitt

Meeting Date: November 1, 2023 6:30 PM

“Right of Way” is about the rise of pedestrian deaths in America, what causes these fatalities, and why some countries in Europe are seeing the opposite, a decline in auto-related injuries and deaths. It has suggestion for reducing these unnecessary deaths.

The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

  • The Georgia Department of Transportation must assume responsibility for pedestrian and cyclist safety and change the design of its roads in urban areas to assure pedestrians’ safety. 
  • We need cities to invest in pedestrian infrastructure and public transit. The goal should be to reduce the danger of motor vehicles and reduce the presence of cars in urban streets. The book has ideas from other cities about how to do this. Our cities will need the state’s assistance in finding the financial resources for these investments.
  • Suburbs should redevelop their most dangerous highways as walkable, mixed-use districts. This will not only save lives; it will turn these bleak corridors into desirable places to live and work.
  • As suburbs do this, we need to document their successes so other municipalities can learn from them. One corridor whose transformation would be especially notable would be Buford Highway in DeKalb County.
  • We need advocacy groups that can speak to citizens about the problems of pedestrian safety and the opportunities for safe, walkable cities and suburbs, pressure governments to act, and document successes. Without focused, persistent, creative and knowledgeable advocacy, little will happen.