Atlanta came out a major winner today as grants were announced for a federal program geared toward making streets and roads safer in both cities and rural communities across the country.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $800 million in grant awards will be distributed for 510 projects in the first round of funding for a program federal officials call historic and far-reaching.
That program—Safe Streets and Roads for All, or SS4A—includes 37 implementation grants for larger safety projects, along with 473 action plan grants. (Georgia bagged $6.1 million overall in the latter category, to include plans in numerous metro Atlanta cities.)
The City of Atlanta scored a $30-million grant that calls for transforming two streets, Pryor Street and Central Avenue, to act as safer connections between downtown and the BeltLine’s Southside Trail corridor. That makes it one of just two projects to receive the maximum grant amount available this round.
The project calls for adding protected bike and pedestrian facilities where there is currently no north-south connection between downtown and the BeltLine’s Southside Trail. The area is riddled with crash hotspots on Atlanta’s high-injury network.
Heading south, the safety improvements would start near Woodruff Park and Georgia State University, cross over Memorial Drive, and head under interstates before meeting the BeltLine at Milton Avenue—near a recent explosion of residential development. That’s a distance of just under three miles.
Safety upgrades along that route call for bike lanes, crosswalk lighting, roadway reconfigurations, medians, safer speed limits, and rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, among other changes.
The U.S. Transportation Department’s summation calls the project “a major expansion of the current system and bike network” that will boost safety and “promote mode shift from single-occupancy vehicles to more active transportation modes.”
Along with a vision-zero safety plan in Philadelphia, Atlanta’s $30-million award marked the largest amount allotted to any project in the country for this round of grants.
No ETA on construction in Atlanta was provided.
As established by President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law, the competitive grant program expects to provide $5 billion over five years for regional, local, and Tribal initiatives—ranging from better sidewalks and crosswalks to redesigned roads—to help quell injuries and deaths on America’s streets and roads, according to today’s announcement.
Another $1.1 billion in funding for grants is expected to be released in April.
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