The Brookhaven City Council voted Nov. 9 to accept a $64,056.74 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to fund a safety officer and a community-wide pedestrian safety initiative.
“We are pleased that this grant will afford us the ability to have an officer on staff that will dedicate their time and expertise to pedestrian safety,” said Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura in a press release.
In response to the fatalities and pedestrians being struck by cars, the Brookhaven Police Department enacted several pedestrian safety campaigns including crosswalk enforcement and social media campaigns. Also, crosswalks were updated and when possible officers would patrol areas to assist with pedestrians crossing busy streets.
The many pedestrians on Buford Highway was cited in the police department’s application for the grant, noting that the area in the southernmost part of Brookhaven is the most densely concentrated residential population in the city. The overwhelming majority of people in the area either walk or use public transportation. The 2.9 mile stretch of Buford Highway includes 21 apartment complexes, 11 bars, dozens of restaurants and Northeast Plaza, a strip-mall and shopping center area with more than 20 businesses, according to the application.
The application notes that Peachtree Road is also, like Buford Highway, a main thoroughfare where the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station is located. The presence of Oglethorpe University and nine apartment complexes in the area contributes to heavy pedestrian traffic as well as Town Brookhaven and its numerous businesses, according to the application.
The application notes that numerous joggers and bicyclists frequent the heavily-traveled Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Johnson Ferry Road.
The city of Brookhaven’s Police Department was established in 2013 and now employs some 70 officers. The department is comprised of the patrol department, which answers calls for service and provides proactive patrols; the criminal investigations division, which investigates all crimes and manages internal affairs; and the support service division, which includes special units, neighborhood watch and other traffic enforcement.