Statement from City Council Member Carla Smith Regarding Pedestrian Safety Fixes

September 19, 2017
Statement from City Council Member Carla Smith Regarding Pedestrian Safety Fixes in Grant Park
I have heard from many neighbors and users of Grant Park with concerns about the recently installed construction fence encircling a portion of Grant Park.  This fence fails all of us in its disregard for the people, including school kids, who use the Boulevard sidewalk and in its failure to include any information or visuals.  I am deeply disappointed in the City's Parks Department and the construction company over the rollout of this fence. I was not given a construction schedule and had no idea a fence would be placed this early in the process. That said, I have solutions on the way to this issue and a few others related to Grant Park.
First, the fence. The size has been dictated by the construction requirements for the deck and portions of the zoo expansion. I have asked that the fence be moved to allow full use of the Boulevard sidewalk until later in construction when they absolutely must fence off the sidewalk to pour the new sidewalk. I will keep you updated on the progress on this issue.
Secondly, at yesterday's City Council meeting, I introduced and passed legislation that will result in significant improvements in pedestrian safety and access into Grant Park because of the way the fence roll out happened.
In a very expedited timeframe, you will see a traffic light at the intersection of Boulevard and Ormewood Avenue.  Additionally, the gate across the park entrance at Berne and Park will be replaced to allow easy access for those who are walking, on a bike, in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller, while still preventing car access. By the end of the week, photos of before and renderings of proposed after shots will be placed at targeted locations along the fence.
As the construction for the new Grant Park Gateway begins, the City can and will do a better job of keeping residents informed.  I am committed to doing everything I can to minimize the impact on the Farmers Market and the other events that make our park so special.
I love Grant Park and I will continue to work hard to make this park the best in the City.

Carla Smith
Atlanta City Councilmember
District 1
55 Trinity Avenue, SW
Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30303