Homicide by Design?

This story has been all over the place locally and nationally.  Raquel Nelson, mother of three, lost her 4 year-old son in a hit-and-run incident in April while crossing a divided highway (Austell Rd) in Marietta from a MARTA bus stop to her apartment.  There were no pedestrian crossings within a third of a mile.  The spot where she crossed was a de facto crossing legitimized by the fact that MARTA had bus stop there to cater to exactly those apartment dwellers and homes in that area.  The driver had a history of hit and run, had had several beers earlier in the day and was on pain medication.  We won’t re-hash the details but suffice to say that the driver peaded out for a lesser charge of hit-and-run down from a charge of vehicular manslaughter and the mother has been convicted of vehicular homicide and is awaiting sentencing.  She doesn't own a car, wasn't in a car and lost her 4 year-old son.  You can judge for yourself on whether this is fair or just.  Transportation 4 America has a worthwhile interpretation of the details.  

This picture illustrates the accident side well.  What rational person wouldn’t be enticed by that proximity with the alternative being a walk of half to three quarters of a mile with three children in tow and grocery bags in hand?

The route Raquel Nelson, her children and other bus riders used is in dotted green. There are no safe crossings in sight. (Image: Transportation4America)

So, where could this happen in Roswell?  Here are the areas that I think are most prone to an incident of this nature.

Holcomb Bridge & 400 - The first spot that comes to mind for me is on Holcomb Bridge Road between 400 and Dogwood.  Pedestrians ALWAYS cross between the Chevron and the Shell to get to or from the MARTA stop in front of the Shell station.  At least there is an ample median.

Frequent pedestrian crossings occur here. This is an area of concern that the city of Roswell is currently addressing with a project starting this month. (Image: Bing Maps)

South Atlanta Street - The next spot my list is the MARTA stop on South Atlanta Street on the north bound lane across from Chattahoochee Landing Apartments.  Here bus riders must cross three lanes of traffic (reversible) with no refuge.  They must wait on a sidewalk that is narrow and perilously close to the roadway.  

This crossing is dangerous given the reversible lanes and high traffic. The Historic Roswell Gateway project will help address this but that is a very long term solution for this immediate need. (Image: Bing Maps)

Add to the comments if you know of any other obviously poorly designed/located MARTA stops in Roswell.  Also, if this interests you at all, you really should take the time to read these additional articles in addition to the Transportation 4 America article linked to earlier.

When Design Kills: The Criminalization of Walking - Grist

The Lonesome Death of a Child Pedestrian - The Infrastructurist


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