Karl Bevins

The Buckhead Business association on Aug. 2 reported that member Karl Bevins, 96, has died.

Bevins was the city of Atlanta’s first traffic engineer, and in 2009 the BBA created the Karl Bevins Service Award in his honor. The award honors a BBA member’s service to the community. The BBA plans to honor Bevins at its regular meeting this Thursday with a moment of silence. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 AM on Thursday at The Cathedral of Christ the King, the BBA reported.

According to Buckhead Reporter archives, Bevins was the original principal clarinet of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Bevins became a member of the Buckhead Business Association (BBA) in 1982, when former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell was president of the organization.

After earning electrical engineering degrees from Georgia Tech and Yale, Bevins went to work in the late 1930s for Georgia Power, which operated the Atlanta Transit System. That primarily was a streetcar system, although it transitioned into a rubber-tired system in the early 1940s.

After World War II, Bevins spent much of his time with Georgia Power trying to coordinate buses, streetcars and automobiles on the city streets.

In 1949, Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield realized the need for a full-time engineer to oversee street traffic operations. Bevins became the first city traffic engineer in the Southeast and was named one of Atlanta’s “100 Leaders of Tomorrow” by Time magazine.

Bevins served as city traffic engineer for 28 years, was an innovator in the areas of staggered work hours, reversible lanes and computerized signal systems, and retired in 1978.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com