Pedestrian-Friendly Education Program Wins Award

For the second consecutive year, efforts led by the Georgia Institute of Technology have earned a coveted Golden Shoe Award from Atlanta's Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS).

For the past five years, PEDS has presented Golden Shoe Awards to people, projects and agencies that contribute significantly during the year toward making metro Atlanta safer and more accessible to pedestrians.

This year, Georgia Tech's Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development earned a Golden Shoe for Pedestrian-Friendly Education. The Aug. 14 ceremony was held at the Margaret Mitchell House, near the site where, in 1949, the Gone With the Wind author sustained fatal injuries after being hit by a taxi while crossing Peachtree Street.

"We're out to recognize pedestrian-friendly accomplishments that serve as models for the region," PEDS President Sally Flocks said.

The Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development -- a unit of Georgia Tech's College of Architecture based at Technology Square -- was praised by PEDS officials for holding a May symposium on context sensitive design (CSD) that helped state transportation engineers better understand the promises and challenges of street designs that meet transportation needs while supporting community goals and surroundings.

"The center is honored to have received the Golden Shoe Award," Director Catherine Ross said. "We are all pedestrians, and increasing the safety and walkability of our neighborhoods and cities is vitally important to our health and the overall quality of our living environment. We are fortunate to have PEDS working to improve life for pedestrians throughout the metro region."

Georgia Tech's work in the area of CSD focuses on a collaborative approach to transportation facility design, construction and operation. Using the CSD approach, stakeholders -- including citizens, elected officials, public-works professionals, and natural resource managers -- are included in the planning, design and implementation of transportation systems.

"Context sensitive solutions create safe, attractive transportation facilities that respond to the needs and desires of residents and respect the unique environmental, cultural, and historic characteristics of a place," said Ross, Georgia Tech's Harry West Chair in Quality Growth and Regional Development.

"More importantly, it is a primary requirement for mixed-use development, quality-growth initiatives, sustainability, and economic vitality," she said.

College of Architecture Dean Thomas Galloway, a noted city and regional planner, was an attendee of this year's CSD symposium.

"At this year's session, I stressed our hope that this inaugural conference would be an important beginning of a new wave of design ideas for Georgia communities that marries more effectively our places and our transportation systems," Dean Galloway said. "Hopefully, through this award from PEDS, this new wave of ideas will gain even broader public recognition and support."

Ross said those who attended Georgia Tech's 2004 Context Sensitive Design Symposium are to be commended for embracing a new approach to the design of cities and streets.

"They represent a better informed and trained cross-section of persons who now are better prepared to develop solutions that will find greater receptivity from citizens," Ross said. "The Georgia Department of Transportation has also taken an important step forward in convening the symposium. It is through efforts like this one that we began to set a course that will improve the quality of life in the region and state."

This year's Golden Shoe Award wasn't the first for the Institute. In August 2003, Georgia Tech's Technology Square and Kim King Associates' Centergy projects earned a Golden Shoe for being the most pedestrian-friendly developments in metro Atlanta.

In addition, Georgia Tech alumnus Ryan Gravel garnered a 2003 Golden Shoe for his research on the Belt Line Transit Project, which he began as a Tech graduate student. He has proposed that the city should use existing railroad tracks to provide mass transit throughout 40 central Atlanta neighborhoods. His proposal continues to generate interest and supporters throughout the metropolitan area.

PEDS is a member-based advocacy organization dedicated to making metro Atlanta safe and accessible for all pedestrians.

Golden Shoe 2004 Award Winners

Georgia Tech Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development: Pedestrian-friendly Education; for holding a symposium on Context-Sensitive Design that helped state transportation engineers better understand the promises and challenges of street design that meets transportation needs while supporting the community's goals and surroundings.

Georgia Department of Transportation: Pedestrian-friendly Street Design; for developing a Pedestrian and Streetscape Guide and for adopting new practices on sidewalk width, buffers, and location of street trees that accord with the guidelines.

Metropolis: Pedestrian-friendly Development; for providing a compact, mixed-use development that enlivens Peachtree Street with people and pedestrian-friendly retail.

Midtown Alliance: Pedestrian-friendly Streetscape; for providing new sidewalks, trees and street lights on 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue that are accessible to all users.

Trees Atlanta: Pedestrian-friendly Streetscape Program; for planting thousand of trees that shade walkers, calm traffic, and separate sidewalks from surface parking lots.

Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce: Pedestrian-friendly Organizational Activism; for developing a public-private partnership on growth strategies that recommended increased linkage of transportation spending decisions with land use decisions.

Sue Olszewski: Pedestrian-friendly Individual Activism; for collaborating with neighbors, developers, city and state officials, and other neighborhoods that will provide federal funds for in-town traffic calming.

Morningside Elementary School: Pedestrian-friendly School; for providing support and enthusiasm that has attracted hundreds of children and parents to walk to school.

Central Atlanta Progress: Pedestrian-friendly Media; for its "Walk There Challenge" which distributed maps and pedometers that attracted diverse media attention encouraging and challenging people to walk to destinations in downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta Regional Commission: Pedestrian-friendly Research; for an inventory of sidewalks, curb ramps, and crossings within a half-mile of all MARTA stations.