Y’all have probably seen the minor construction on Milledge as you ride, walk, drive, run, and bus up and down the popular route. After obtaining the proper GDOT permits, ACC has begun construction on an archipelago of cool refuge islands designed to make crossing the street a little safer (and it will also reduce drivers using the center turn lane as a high-speed passing lane).
Primarily, the median island provides a safe space to wait while crossing the street. No longer will people have to choose between dashing across all three lanes or waiting, unshielded, in the center turn lane. Now, people will be able to cross one lane, wait “on” the island until traffic clears, and then finish crossing.
These refuge islands, however, also include a subtle design change intended to foster better situational awareness. Look closely at the space cut into the median. It does not cut straight across; it angles towards traffic. This small tweak to the angle of the refuge space, orients us to face traffic. Rather than turning ours heads 180 back and forth, as we wait to cross, the refuge island turns us toward traffic. This will make it easier for people to see oncoming vehicles, and it will make it easier for drivers to make eye contact with people crossing the street. (Assuming of course that both parties are not looking at their phones. Seriously, folks, be present. DON”T USE A PHONE WHILE DRIVING OR CROSSING THE STREET.)
Safety lecture aside, these islands are the leading edge of design and engineering. Thank you to ACC and GDOT for funding, proposing, permitting (Milledge is a state road), and constructing these medians. We know more Athens neighborhoods want & need medians like this. Where would y’all like to see some these islands?