Driver hits pedestrian at Scott Boulevard and Blackmon DriveThe location of the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Blackmon Drive. Image obtained via Google Maps.
This story has been updated.
Greater Decatur, GA — A driver behind the wheel of a Subaru hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk at Scott Boulevard and Blackmon Drive on Thursday evening, Oct. 26.
A witness described the pedestrian as a young woman. She was injured but declined to go to the hospital, according to police.
“We had a person struck by a vehicle today at 5:20 p.m. at Scott Boulevard and Blackmon Drive,” a spokesperson for DeKalb Police said. “Initial information is a pedestrian in a crosswalk was struck by a vehicle, who remained at the scene. The pedestrian had no visible injuries but complaints of leg pain. She decided not to go to a hospital, but EMS did give her a ride home.”
Almost a year ago, a young woman died in that same location.
As is often the case in pedestrian deaths, the initial police report blamed the pedestrian, saying she was outside the crosswalk when she was hit.
But Quanisha Ball’s mother, Courtney Thompkins, and her former manager at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute say that story doesn’t track with what they know about Ball, who was 31 when she died. Ball was well aware of how dangerous Atlanta traffic could be and wouldn’t have been outside a crosswalk, according to the people who knew her. They questioned whether the force of the crash pushed Ball out of the crosswalk.
The driver was never charged. Thompkins has continued to advocate for her daughter and call for safety improvements at Scott and Blackmon.
“The NACTO safe crossings guide recommends communities ‘shorten crossing distance and reduce speeding by repurposing or narrowing vehicle lanes,’” Serna said. “NACTO’s Urban Street Design Guide says, ‘as the number of travel lanes increases, pedestrians feel more exposed and less safe entering the intersection. Pedestrian safety islands limit pedestrian exposure in the intersection. They are recommended where a pedestrian must cross three lanes of traffic in one direction…’ On Scott at Blackmon, people are crossing three lanes in one direction and four in the other without a pedestrian island.”
DeKalb Commissioner Michelle Long Spears previously said addressing this stretch of road is a priority for her. Her office is in touch with the Georgia Department of Transportation, and there’s a safety audit underway for this section of Scott Boulevard.
“We share the community’s interest in pedestrian safety, and we have been communicating with DeKalb County Police, DeKalb Transportation, and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT),” Spears said in an email.
In terms of the safety audit, GDOT has studied the intersection and has a design for improvements that’s out for bid. Once that work begins, it will take about six months to complete, she said.
“The new design appears to greatly improve pedestrian safety and prioritization compared to the current scenario,” Spears said. “The project aims to provide enhancements to vulnerable roadway user safety and includes a new bulb out (which decreases crossing distance for pedestrians), new ADA ramps, and the installation of a new crosswalk across US78/Scott Blvd. The signal timing will also be enhanced, given the proposed changes.”
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