What Can You Do When You See a Blocked Sidewalk in Atlanta?

IMG_2502

As a companion to Sidewalk Progress: Walkability Takes Work, here are some ideas for helping to keep Atlanta’s sidewalks open to safe passage.

Is 311 the best channel for reporting a blocked sidewalk where people are in danger?

If the sidewalk blockage is bad enough that pedestrians are being forced to walk in the car lanes of a busy street, a call to 911 would be common sense. Don’t assume that the construction crew (or film crew or whatever) has permission from the City to block the sidewalk.

If a dangerous situation is being created and no police officers are on hand to direct traffic, it’s entirely possible that laws are being broken. Call the City’s 311 service so that the issue gets logged in records (311 is a good tool, but response can be very slow, sometimes weeks). But first call 911 so that police can investigate the situation and keep people safe.

What City office is responsible for keeping the sidewalks free of blockage?

The Commissioner of Public Works is ultimately responsible. The commissioner’s contact info is on the Department of Public Works website:
http://atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=193

What’s the full set of actions I can take?

If something’s causing 911-worthy danger, call 911 first. Otherwise, here are the basic two steps you can take:

1.) File a 311 request (404-546-0311)

2.) Then send an email with the 311 issue number, along with some context about what’s happening with the sidewalk, to the commissioner’s office and include your City Councilperson on the email.

How do I find the email for my City Councilperson?

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has a webpage where you enter your street address and find your councilperson, plus their email:
http://www.atlantabike.org/council_member_form

And the City offers MapATL, where your address will return your councilperson, your NPU, school zone, nearby parks and more:
http://egis.atlantaga.gov/app/home