Memorial Drive resurfacing & restriping work begins in March 2019

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and contractor C.W. Matthews are preparing to resurface and restripe Memorial Drive in Spring 2019. The goal is to create a safer lane configuration that is expected to reduce the number of crashes involving pedestrians and motorists.

The project covers four miles of Memorial Drive from Pearl Street in Reynoldstown to Candler Road in East Lake. Nearby residents and other users of Memorial Drive should expect to see preparations begin in March, with construction beginning as soon as weather allows. These preparations include:

  • Lowering of existing utility covers to prepare for milling down the old roadway
  • Variable message boards to inform users of changing traffic patterns
  • Removal of the reversible-lane system, including striping, signs, and poles.
  • Existing pavement markings will be blacked out and new, brighter stripes and arrows will be painted in the new lanes. Special attention will be given to transition areas.

This temporary configuration will be installed over several nights and will be in place for a couple weeks before milling and resurfacing begins. Asphalt resurfacing and re-striping can only be performed when low temperatures are consistently at or above 45 F degrees. Most of the work on the project will happen at night during the week and on the weekends.

Funding for the project was released by the state in July 2018. Community advocates had hoped that the project could go to construction in the summer or fall last year. Unfortunately, the winning bidder was unable to fit in the project before winter weather set in.

For more background about this project, please continue reading.

This project is the result of years of discussion and cooperation among GDOT, the City of Atlanta, the Memorial Drive Corridor organization, and the many community organizations and stakeholders along Memorial Drive. Representatives of the neighborhoods along Memorial Drive in the City of Atlanta have been working closely on this project through the Imagine Memorial transportation committee formed in 2015.

The primary goal has been to improve safety for all its users, including pedestrians, motorists, transit users, and cyclists.

A 2016 traffic study funded by GDOT in coordination with the Imagine Memorial committee examined crash data from 2011 to 2015 for 27 intersections from Capitol Avenue to Candler Road. It found:

  • The 5.5-mile corridor from Capitol Avenue to Candler Road averages 220 crashes a year.
  • Crashes were higher than the statewide average at 8 of 27 intersections
  • Injury crashes were higher than the statewide average at 16 of 27 intersections
  • Fatal crashes were higher than the statewide average at 3 of 27 intersections
  • 38% of all crashes were related to left turns
  • 19% of all crashes were side swipes in the same direction

These discussions about safety took on a new sense of urgency after the March 20, 2017, death of Barbara Crawford, who was struck and killed by a driver at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Campbell Street. See our previous post for more details about that crash and our response.

Public meetings were held in Reynoldstown on Oct. 18, 2017, and East Lake on Nov. 8, 2017, to share details of the project and collect input from local residents on the changes. Please see the previous blog post for these meetings to get an overview of the project and why it is necessary to reduce the unacceptable number of crashes on Memorial Drive.

To view a presentation from GDOT on the data and methodology behind this project, please continue reading.

GDOT presentation on methodology, process

Key points from presentation:

  • Project scope covers 4 miles of Memorial Drive, from Pearl Street in Reynoldstown to Candler Road in East Lake.
  • Memorial Drive is classified as an urban arterial route, serving between 10,000 and 18,000 vehicle trips a day.
  • Memorial Drive has more than 300 crashes a year. Several intersections are well above the statewide average for fatalities and injuries.
  • Through coordination with the Imagine Memorial communities, GDOT is proposing a two-phased approach for improving safety. We are talking about the first phase now. Scheduling for the second phase has yet to be determined.

Key takeaways from the design:

  • All reversible lanes will be converted entirely to turn lanes. Depending on the location, it will either be a dedicated left-turn lane in one direction, or a two-way left-turn lane.
  • Existing four-lane segments will be converted to match the three-lane sections described above. Please see the previous blog post for data and diagrams explaining the safety benefits of this change.
  • These changes have been shown throughout the country to reduce crashes and improve conditions for both  pedestrians and motorists.
  • It’s possible that some intersections will experience slightly longer vehicle delays from these changes. Some intersections will see shorter delays because of improved turning movements. All intersections will be carefully monitored for changes and signal timing will be optimized through the Regional Traffic Operations Program (RTOP).

Look at the draft design:

The following PDFs show the preliminary restriping design produced by consultants for GDOT and presented to the public at meetings in October and November. Please note that these images do NOT reflect a wide range of comments and expected revisions that have since been offered by residents, property owners, the City, MARTA, and GDOT staff.

The images run in segments from Pearl Street (west) to Candler Road (east):


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