Atlanta’s local roads now have a default speed limit of 25 miles per hour after the City Council formally adopted the Vision Zero plan on April 20, which focuses on eliminating traffic deaths and reducing crashes and serious injuries.
The default speed limit applies to any city road without another speed limit expressly posted.
According to data from the city, speed contributed to 52 percent of the 73 traffic fatalities recorded in 2019. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the new city ordinance lowering the speed limit will improve safety of all travelers, including children, the elderly, minorities and low-income persons, pedestrians, cyclists, and those using scooters and other mobility devices.
Bottoms said Vision Zero is a key pillar of her One Atlanta Strategic Transportation Plan, which was released in November 2019 during the establishment of the Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT).
“I am proud to announce that Atlanta has adopted a Vision Zero Strategic Transportation Plan that boldly commits the city to improving roadway safety and ending tragic traffic fatalities,” Bottoms said in a media statement. “We envision Atlanta’s transportation network to be one where everyone can travel wherever they need to go safely, reliably and efficiently whether they are traveling on our roads, sidewalks, bike lanes or transit system.”
Under the direction of the ATLDOT, the implementation of Vision Zero will begin with the creation of a Vision Zero Task Force. The working group will develop a comprehensive Vision Zero Action Plan identifying specific data-driven strategies and actions to achieve the zero fatalities goal and make Atlanta’s roads safer through a greater understanding of our streets. The Vision Zero Action Plan will be based on the U.S. National Safety Council’s “6E Road Safety Framework” (Equity, Education, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation and Emergency Response), which emphasizes the use of data and technology to maximize outcomes.
In the six months since the formation of the ATLDOT, the city has been tackling safety issues and moving on key transportation projects, including the Action Plan for Safer Streets, which focuses on implementing a complete network of connected and protected bike lanes through quick-build projects.
Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.
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