Citing specific pedestrian-car collisions, two cases in which crossing guards were struck by vehicles in recent years, and a traffic fatality last month where East College Avenue meets Commerce Drive, a grassroots movement is calling on city and state officials to immediately implement better safety measures in the City of Decatur—and to provide longterm fixes as soon as possible.

Leaders of a new organization called Calm Decatur formally presented a petition to the Decatur City Commission this week, outlining five changes they feel would help curb “automobile violence.”

The petition was created Nov. 7 and has garnered more than 700 signatures, as of this writing. It’s addressed to Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurray, Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, and other city officials, including several commissioners.

Decatur crash data between 2018 and 2022, according to the petition. Calm Decatur/

Calm Decatur feels that several key arteries in or near downtown Decatur are particularly problematic and dangerous: Scott Boulevard, Clairemont Road, College Avenue, Columbia Drive, and South Candler Street.

Four pedestrians were hit in the city in a single day last month—Nov. 6—including the aforementioned fatality, according to Calm Decatur.

The group applauds city leaders for building multi-use pathways, adding sidewalks, and improving crosswalks in recent years but contends issues with drivers speeding or blowing through crosswalks and traffic lights remain disconcerting.

“We shouldn’t have to live in fear in our city, on our own streets, in our own houses,” reads the petition. “[City and state leaders need to] prioritize safety and take concrete steps towards achieving a safer Decatur for people on foot, on bikes, in wheelchairs, and in or on motor vehicles… No more business as usual.” 

Specifically, Calm Decatur is asking that a citywide speed limit of 25 mph be implemented on every street that isn’t a state route. They ask city leaders to demand that GDOT lowers speed limits on “dangerous arterials,” too—and then changes its “outdated” methodology for setting speed limits in the first place.

Downtown Decatur has long prized its walkability. Shutterstock

Other requests involve installing red-light cameras and building more substantial sidewalks, multi-use paths, and crosswalks. Calm Decatur is also pulling for the city to adopt Vision Zero initiatives that state no deaths involving vehicles will be tolerated in the city.

“There is no time to waste,” reads the petition. “Nearly every day, another crash on our roadways makes clear the urgency. How many more people need to be wheeled away on stretchers?”


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