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Decatur, GA

Walk Friendly Communities - Silver Level

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Community Highlights

Decatur is designated as a Silver-level community due to outstanding management of development and parking, top-notch educational and outreach efforts, and progressive evaluation methods. Highlights of Decatur's application include:

  • Decatur is designating walkability as a top priority for the community and this is clear in the parking management. With no minimum parking requirements for the downtown, Decatur is actively pursuing a "park once" strategy, using priced public parking in garages and on-street meters, requiring parking to be under or behind uses, developing shared parking ordinances, and prohibiting drive-throughs.
  • Decatur's commitment to walking is evident in the training opportunities provided for staff. In addition to the quarterly trainings and webinars on pedestrian and bicycle issues hosted by the Georgia DOT, the city also hosts workshops regularly sends staff to present at and attend conferences such as Pro Walk / Pro Bike, which has resulted in updated ordinances, increased interest in Safe Routes to School, and using a Health Impact Assessment on the City's transportation plan.
  • The City actively promotes walking through a number of outreach efforts and public events. Decatur has entered "Team Decatur" with up to 134 community members in fitness events, resulting in the "Most Fit City" award and active walking programs for citizens. The City also partnered with Kaiser Permanente to hold a large kick-off event in Old Courthouse Square, the City's preeminent public space. In 2011, Decatur is holding a Walk for Lunch event, which provides participants with walking maps and lunch on event days. In November and December, the City partners with local businesses to hold Terrific Thursdays, which provides free Pedicabs, later store hours, and discounts at businesses. This highlights the relationship between pedestrian-friendly environments and improved business performance. Decatur also holds events like Car Free Day, art walks, farmers markets, and free concerts on the square.
  • Decatur's crossing guard program is a model for communities. With twenty-one guards assigned to six schools and on-duty police officers patrolling school zones, intersections around schools are well-staffed to ensure safe travel by students. Guards are provided with orange shirts, reflective vests, hand-held stop paddles, and loud whistles and are trained in traffic direction and control by the police. They are also given refresher training and location-specific instruction. Working closely with the Safe Routes to School program, the guards are an important part of Walk and Roll to School Days, International Walk to School Day, and Georgia Walk to School Day.
  • In crafting the Community Transportation Plan, the City made outstanding use of a number of evaluation tools to project demands and prioritize needs. Latent demand scores estimated the potential future demand for pedestrian facilities while pedestrian level of service indexed the current facilities' condition. These were combined with a policy and regulatory audit and public feedback from previous plans to develop priorities and goals for the most recent plan.
  • One of the most impressive accomplishments in Decatur is the completion of a Health Impact Assessment on the City's transportation plan. Conducting a health impact assessment can bring new information to light about costs and benefits that may not have been previously considered, exposing the community and politicians to the positive impacts of multi-modal transportation in Decatur.