Between Your Bus Stop and Your Job — A Deadly Road

Romana Devore was struck and killed trying to walk from her job to this bus stop in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photo: Darin Givens
Romana Devore was struck and killed trying to walk from her job to this bus stop in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photo: Darin Givens

If you don’t have access to a car, it can be hard to get to work in sprawled out America. The wait for the bus might be long, and you might have to transfer at least once, and then there’s often a final cruel barrier: a dangerous road between your bus stop and your job.

Romana Devore, 54, was on her way to work at a Verizon office outside Atlanta last week, walking across North Point Parkway — a seven-lane speedway in Alpharetta — when she was struck and killed. Rote coverage of the crash made no mention of the dangerous street design that cost Devore her life and puts other bus riders at risk.

Darin Givens at ThreadATL says Devore’s death could have been prevented if the street had been designed with pedestrian safety in mind. But there was simply no safe place for her to cross:

See the above image for a look at where the Verizon office sits. Notice what’s missing between this MARTA bus stop and this office building: anything that would allow a person to walk safely across this sea of car lanes. No traffic light, no crosswalk.

There’s a traffic signal with a crosswalk about 466 feet away, well out of view of anyone standing at this bus stop. Many people will blame the pedestrian saying that “she should have walked up ahead until she found a crosswalk.”

But it isn’t that simple. Look at the design of those turning lanes at the intersection of North Point Pkwy and Kimball Bridge Rd — their curves beckon drivers to maintain movement rather than to stop and look for pedestrians. There is in fact a “Keep Moving” sign at the intersection (pictured below), so even when pedestrians have a crossing signal, cars are basically ordered to move forward into the crosswalks.

Photo: Darin Givens
Photo: Darin Givens

The fault doesn’t lie with the transit agency, Givens says. MARTA can’t put the bus stop in a turn lane, and it’s not the agency responsible for street design. The Atlanta region is full of bus stops just like the one where Devore was killed, he says:

Research by the Atlanta Regional Commission in 2010 showed that 21 percent of vehicle-pedestrian crashes in metro Atlanta occurred within 100 feet of a transit stop. Nearly half occurred within 300 feet of a transit stop.

That info comes from the Safe Routes to Transit report from PEDS, a group that advocates for pedestrian safety in the Atlanta region.

Local governments and Georgia DOT will have to work together to make streets safer near bus stops.

More recommended reading today: Do Lee at Intersectional Riding picks apart Bill de Blasio’s cruel crackdown on immigrant delivery cyclists who use e-bikes. And Stop and Move reviews Fresno’s new bus rapid transit route.

  • That “keep moving” sign is not in the MUTCD, so the engineer that specified it could be sued, could lose their license, and could be fired.

  • Nancy Johnson

    “Many people will blame the pedestrian saying that she should have walked up ahead until she found a crosswalk.” Yes, and it is that simple. There was a crosswalk with a signal that was a 2 minute walk (according to google maps) from the bus stop. This individual wanted to avoiding adding 4 minutes to her walk. But car drivers get slammed for not adding a few minutes to their commute by driving slower.

  • thielges

    In addition it is rendered as black lettering over white, making it mandatory instead of advisory (black on yellow). A motorist could willfully run over a pedestrian and claim that s/he was obeying the law. Not that you need a mandatory sign to go scot free after running somebody over.

  • As I pointed out in the post, you can’t see the intersection with the traffic signal from the bus stop. And as I also pointed out (with a photo), once you get to that intersection, it’s terribly dangerous for pedestrians due to a “Keep moving” sign for cars. Blaming the pedestrian is unacceptable, and this road design is unacceptable.

  • Exactly. And I’ve seen other “keep moving” signs like that elsewhere in Atlanta I’m sure. There’s no way that’s legal.

  • Frank Kotter

    The United States is twice as dangerous for pedestrians than peer countries. To say the individual pedestrian is responsible is as illogical as it is cold-hearted.

    This is a design problem – not a driver or pedestrian problem.

    Also a risky action of the pedestrian endangers none other than themselves. That same time cutting behavior endangers literally anyone withing eyesight of a driver. Your perspective is exactly the reason it is so dangerous for pedestrians in the US.

  • kastigar

    This type of problem exists in Chicago as well. Take the 88 bus from Jefferson Park to Resurrection Hospital. Get off at Tallcot and Okito. Try and cross Talcott to get to the hospital. There’s no easy crosswalk and cars speeding both ways on Talcott.

    http://tinyurl.com/y9o9kvy9

  • vbtwo31984

    Apparently, the “Keep Moving” sign is there to say that you don’t have to stop on red when turning, like you must do on a regular intersection when turning on red, you can just keep moving. Instead of this, they should put a yield sign there, probably with text saying “Yield to pedestrians”. As is, I assume that cars have priority and pedestrians must yield to them, which goes counter to any normal crosswalk design.

  • Stephen Simac

    just using a crosswalk is no guarantee of safety for pedestrians. Basically a target rich environment unless they are designed to slow drivers down with a speed table. Crosswalks are especially hazardous on a high speed 7 lane expressway with poor sight lines (the curve before crossing).. Although I’ve had drivers weave around me in a highly visible crosswalk at speed (I guess that’s an improvement over mowing down pedestrians who dare to share the road).

  • zucho drig

    There is a signalized intersection in 70 feet from the bus shelter. Is it unsafe?

  • Nancy Johnson

    “Blaming the pedestrian is unacceptable” Why? When the pedestrian jaywalks and there is a crosswalk that is 2 minutes away, it is the pedestrians fault.

    Are you telling me that this person who works at this office and travels in this area didn’t know that there was an intersection with a crosswalk there? Your point is only valid if this person is not familiar with the area, which you did not show.

    And your statement that it is a dangerous crosswalk is anecdotal. How many pedestrian fatalities have occurred in that specific crosswalk? You are blinded by your own opinion as to these issues and are unable to view this objectively.

  • Nancy Johnson

    There is a signal at the crosswalk where it crosses the 7 lanes. The only portion that does not have a signal is a single lane. Next.

  • There are actually many issues here beyond the sign. Free-right slip lanes, such as shown, are always a danger to pedestrians and should be outlawed. They can either be removed or changed to a safer angle so that drivers are more likely to see pedestrians. If failure to yield to pedestrians is an issue (and when is it not), the MUTCD R10-15R can be used. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ad745d59a45f50f1cc7904eadb33ffab4e50df68361ce0d7c22fa2bd9013a48.png

  • crazyvag

    I disagree. Drivers also need to watch the road and be in control of their vehicle. Driver who hit the person clearly wasn’t paying attention. Sadly, it’s not illegal to drive without paying attention.

  • Nancy Johnson

    “Driver who hit the person clearly wasn’t paying attention.” Proof?

  • crazyvag

    Well, it wasn’t ruled a suicide where the pedestrian purposely made a move that couldn’t reasonably be avoided by the car. The road provides plenty of visibility to see far ahead, and if it doesn’t, then one needs to drive safely for conditions.

    Are you saying there was a bush where the pedestrian was hiding and sprung in front of the car such the car had no choice but to hit him?

  • Isaac B

    The awful thing about layouts like this is that there seems to be some “rule” that keeps bus stops away from intersections. So people who take the bus need to get from the stop to the crosswalk, damn the rain or the mud or that they’re running late (likely due to a late or canceled bus) and could get fired. Then brave the crosswalk, where they have to brave turning traffic that doesn’t regard them or an insufficient walk interval that strands them on an island. Or, it’s an intersection that bars people from crossing on some legs, forcing someone to cross three streets instead of one. (I recently saw a signalized intersection in California with “no-peds” signs on all four legs! Which is basically saying, “cross in the middle of the road, elsewhere.”) Then they need to double back, on a street that may or may not have a sidewalk. And then, there may not be an easy way to get from the street to the building on foot. So while someone like Romana Devore may have been technically wrong to cross mid-stroad, it’s not like the alternative is all that safe or dignified.

  • what_eva

    The bus stop indicator on google maps is wrong and this can easily be seen with satellite view or street view. The actual stop is much closer to the intersection with Okito. It appears to be maybe 10-20 feet further down Talcott than a standard far side bus stop. Okito has a full signalized intersection with crosswalks. Talcott there is also 3 lanes wide there (1 per direction plus a turn lane), it is not a 7 lane road

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