New report: Pedestrian deaths in Atlanta up and Black neighborhoods affected the most

A lone pedestrian makes his way down Church Street in Downtown Decatur on Saturday, March 21, 2020. (Dean Hesse/Decaturish)

There were 38 pedestrian deaths in Atlanta in 2022, a 23% increase over the previous year, a report by an advocacy group says.

Propel ATL, which advocates for cyclists and pedestrians, said, “More than two-thirds of all Atlanta’s pedestrian fatalities (25 out of 38) occurred in predominantly Black neighborhoods, places with fewer features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes that provide pedestrians basic safety.”

The group released the study on Thursday, Nov. 16. To read the full study, click here.

Here’s a summary of the report’s conclusions:

  • In 2022, more than 35,000 crashes occurred on Atlanta streets.*
  • 548 of these crashes involved people walking, biking and rolling.*
  • 38 of these crashes resulted in pedestrian deaths.*
  • Compared with 31 pedestrian fatalities in 2021, this represents a 23% increase in one year, continuing a disturbing trend in a city whose traffic fatality rates are already high compared with similarly sized cities.*
  • Between 2011 and 2021, Atlanta averaged 12.81 traffic deaths (pedestrians and non-pedestrians) per 100,000 people. By comparison, the more heavily populated Chicago and Seattle experienced just 5.4 and 3.72 respectively.†
  • Just 10% of Atlanta’s streets account for 50% of its pedestrian crash fatalities and 60% of its pedestrian and bicycle crashes.††
  • More than two-thirds of Atlanta’s pedestrian fatalities (25 out of 38) occurred in predominantly Black neighborhoods, places with fewer features like sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes that provide pedestrians with basic safety.††
  • Forty of the City of Atlanta’s established Moving Atlanta Forward projects aim to improve roadway safety at locations where pedestrian or bicycle crashes occurred in 2022.

(Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates*, Eno Center for Transportation†, Georgia Electronic Accident Report System††)

Pedestrian safety has been top of mind for Decatur residents of late.

Decatur Police on Thursday confirmed the arrest of a driver accused of causing the death of 16-year-old Kevin Valente of Scottdale.

He died on Nov. 6 after the driver allegedly hit him while he was walking near the intersection of East College Avenue and Commerce Drive. After the Decatur Police Department completed its investigation, warrants were issued for 26-year-old Jared Bradley of Decatur, Ga.

Bradley is the fourth driver accused of causing a crash involving a pedestrian on Nov. 6. The pedestrians in the other crashes on Nov. 6 received non-life-threatening injuries.

City officials are hoping a planning process funded by a grant can yield recommendations that will prevent future pedestrian crashes. For more information about that story, click here.

Propel ATL Executive Director Rebecca Serna is joining Decaturish for an upcoming episode of “Decatur Dish” on Atlanta News First to discuss the report in-depth and talk about possible solutions. The episode will air on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 12:30 p.m. To watch the show live, click here. To watch previous episodes of “Decatur Dish,” click here.

This story was provided by WABE content partner Decaturish.