A rendering of the changes on Womack Road has been released by the city. (Photo: City of Dunwoody).

Dunwoody has launched a pilot program to increase pedestrian safety at Womack Road near Dunwoody Elementary School.

According to Dunwoody Safe Streets Program Manager Jonathan DiGioia, reports of drivers failing to yield to children, parents, or the crossing guard have spurred the move to close off the westbound turn lane using traffic cones. The experiment will be conducted for the next month as a semi-permanent solution – not just during school hours.

“This is one of the quickest and cheapest options to try to alleviate multiple threat conflicts in this area,” DiGioia said. “We have had many reports from observers about how close children have come to being hit. We don’t want to wait until something happens to take action.”

DiGioia said school officials and many others are in support of the change, which will be implemented Oct. 3.

“We observed the conditions, listened to feedback, and talked to parents and children at one of Dunwoody Elementary’s back-to-school events, and found even more people who support the pilot program,” he said.

The goals of the month-long program, according to the city’s website, are to:

  • Reduce the number of conflict points between drivers and people in the crosswalk across Womack Road;
  • Reduce the crossing distance between the sidewalk and the center island for people using the crosswalk across Womack Road ;
  • Make pedestrians more visible to drivers as they are about to enter the crosswalk;
  • Potentially reduce vehicle speeds around the crosswalk;
  • Create a safer environment for everybody around the west driveway to Dunwoody Elementary School.

Closing off the right-turn lane to drivers will allow it to function as an extension of the sidewalk and reduce the number of lanes pedestrians must cross to get across Womack Road,” the website said. “Drivers will still be able to turn right into the school driveway from the through lane.”

DiGioia said city officials don’t anticipate that this change will have a major impact on drivers at the intersection as the turn lane only holds about three cars and takes two minutes during peak times to fill up.

If it shows that the project is accomplishing its goals and improving safety, options for permanent changes will be considered, he said.

“We will also be looking at other areas in the city where we can implement these measures and make it safer for pedestrians,” DiGioia said.

Anyone with feedback regarding the lane closure can email roadsafety@dunwoodyga.gov.

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at cathy@roughdraftatlanta.com