Crashes nearly double along Peachtree Road in last 2 years

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

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ATLANTA —

Channel 2 Action News has learned the number of sideswipe crashes on Peachtree Road in Buckhead has nearly doubled in two years.

Channel 2's Craig Lucie started to investigate the width of the lanes of Peachtree Road Tuesday morning.

He said he first had to dodge a head-on collision that happened right in front of him near Piedmont Hospital.

It's accidents like that one that led to the creation of the Peachtree Road Task Force.

"Basically we are presenting some of the safety data over the last couple of years that show Peachtree Road is far above the statewide average on the number of crashes," explained Joshuah Mello, Atlanta's assistant director of transportation planning.

Lucie found evidence of how dangerous Peachtree Road has become in the last two years.

Sideswipe crashes have increased from 64 to 113 between 2010 and 2012, and rear-end crashes increased from 78 to 129 in the same time period.

Mello said left-turn drivers create most of the accidents because you can't see cars coming.

One solution is turning the left two lanes, in both directions, into a two-way left-turn lane.

Lucie found that one possible reason for the increase in sideswipe crashes may have to do with how narrow the lanes are.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said the width of a lane in an urban arterial road should be between 10 and 12 feet. Lucie measured a lane near the Publix on Peachtree Road and it was 9 feet wide.

Lucie then measured Severe Weather Chaser 2, which is 8 feet 1 inch wide, so there is very little room for a large SUV.

Jim Durrett, the executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, is part of the Peachtree Road Task Force, whose jobis to create a new vision for Atlanta's iconic road.

"It's important to think about creating safe opportunities to ride bikes, to walk on sidewalks as well as to drive cars," Durrett said.

There are four phases to the improvement projects. All of them are already funded and construction will start this summer on one of them.