Safety Islands on South Cobb Drive, etc.
On November 17, 2008 a little four-year-old girl was killed and the rest of her family injured crossing South Cobb Drive near King Springs Road. Her mother was crossing at 6:15 am (when it is pitch black) in order to get the kids to day care. The driver wasn't charged with a crime: the mother was! Making a legal crossing adds about half a mile to the walk. I spoke with former GDOT Assistant Chairman Emory Parrish on Wednesday, and he was telling me that nothing will happen unless this is actually pushed by the City of Smyrna or Cobb County. He also mentioned that South Cobb was (and perhaps still is) the most dangerous road in the state for pedestrians.
Based on roadside crosses I see, South Cobb drivers kill pedestrians frequently. But the implied official Cobb County position is that those who cross are idiots, and if that they would simply walk ¼ mile to ½ mile in each direction, then there are legal crossings. Technically that’s correct, but it’s really dangerous. And impractical. Before I learned that Cobb County, and not the City of Smyrna, had control over these kinds of things on South Cobb, I had the head of Smyrna planning (or something like that) meet me at the CCT stop at Big Lots across from Wade Ford. He believed that all people had to do was to walk down to the QuikTrip and cross safely there. I said, “fine… let’s try it ourselves.” After some bit convincing, he agreed. We walked 10 to 15 minutes from the CCT stop down to the QuikTrip intersection, and back up to the CCT stop across from Wade Ford, he understood the problem. I suggested that we then play chicken and cross straight across from CCT stop to CCT stop, and then he also understood how dangerous and far it is.
I see people make such crossings almost every day at the same place and at other similar crossings. The other day, I saw 10 to 15 people cross Akers Mill Road from Cumberland Mall to the CCT stop that is on the side of Barnes and Noble where the road is 7 to 9 lanes wide!
The answer is fairly simple: we need pedestrian safety islands in between CCT stops on South Cobb Drive. I have been admiring the new pedestrian crossings on Buford Highway. These were put up by GDOT. I think that it is a great idea.
My dream is to get our civic leaders to walk in the shoes of those who make this dangerous crossing on a cold dark November morning knowing that in they have to brave speeders who are in many cases texting and/or using their cell phones. I suspect that if a high ranking representatives from GDOT, Cobb County, the City of Smyrna and PEDS made the crossing together in both directions and then also did the crossing legally - meaning walking the extra one third or half a mile to cross the street from bus stop to bus stop or from the apartment complex down the hill then back up the hill to the stop next to Wade Ford, etc. - in both directions all in the dark as the lady did with her children, then there would be a very insightful conversation and solutions would be found immdiately. :)
Narayan Sengupta/2009; updated in 2017, etc.