ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Any pedestrian who has faced that ocean of metal flowing through downtown Alpharetta knows that parting traffic is a challenge.
Even with corner crossings and a beacon signal on Main Street that still confuses some drivers, foot traffic is a tricky proposition.
In an effort to improve pedestrian safety, city officials recently approved measures calling for better visibility for those on foot and those behind the wheel. Most of the adjustments are based on a study completed earlier this year, according to Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz.
At the heart of the recommendations is the removal of parking spaces — seven in all — to increase visibility near corners along downtown streets.
First up, is installing a mid-block crosswalk on Milton Avenue near the new city parking deck. The crosswalk would eliminate two parking spaces.
Another proposal calls for eliminating the northern most parking spot at the southeast corner of Main Street and Academy Street.
“We had a very similar issue on South Broad Street in front of Restaurant Holmes, and it’s just hard to look through cars,” Sewczwicz said. “Unless you’re in a truck and there’s a very low vehicle parked there, you’re not going to be able to see through there.”
Over to the west of Main, the city wants to eliminate a spot at Roswell and Old Roswell streets and add a crosswalk farther north on Old Roswell Street.
Other initiatives include removing one parking space along the west side and another on the east side of Canton Street.
Sewczwicz said the city is also initiating a new traffic signal system called Leading Pedestrian Interval. This signal system would provide an interval in which all vehicle traffic is stopped for a few seconds when a pedestrian presses the crossing button. This way, Sewczwicz said, drivers can see that a person is already in the crosswalk before they are allowed to proceed with a green light.
“GDOT has asked us to try these at their intersections, and they’re going to work with us in implementing these,” Sewczwicz said. “This takes the place of a no-turn on red. The no-turn red does really congest some intersections.”
The discussion did not include pedestrian improvements along Thompson Street where construction work continues on residential developments.
It did, however, include consideration of changing North Broad and South Broad streets within City Center into one-way streets. Such a change, Sewczwicz said, might have to be cleared through an agreement with the managers of City Center.
“It gets real busy on both those streets, and a lot of kids are playing around there,” Councilman Jason Binder said.
City Administrator Bob Regus said the city would first have to review the development agreement to see whether the city must receive clearance to convert the streets.