Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

‘I want to see Macon do better,’ county’s new traffic safety manager says

Special to The Macon Newsroom
Weston Stroud started working as Macon-Bibb County’s transportation safety manager on Jan. 3, 2024.

Traffic safety issues in Bibb County will get a fresh look from a pair of eyes familiar with its roads.

Weston Stroud started work Jan. 3 as the county’s first transportation safety manager, a newly created position that stems from the Vision Zero Action Plan Macon-Bibb County commissioners adopted in late 2020.

Vision Zero is a Swedish-born strategy to eliminate traffic-related injuries and deaths, a goal Macon aims to achieve by 2040.

Stroud is no stranger to Bibb County.

The 28-year-old is the son of Georgia Supreme Court Judge Verda Colvin and a 2013 graduate of Mount de Sales Academy.

Stroud attended Syracuse University and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry earned a degree in urban planning, environmental design and policy and landscape architecture. He interned with the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning department as a senior and wrote his thesis on long-range transportation plans and community outreach.

Stroud returned to Macon after graduation and worked as a transit planner for the Macon Transit Authority for three years. Most recently, Stroud worked for Piedmont Construction Group as the assistant project manager for the county’s new amphitheater.

“The whole idea of engaging the public and taking public concerns and turning those into (the) implementation projects is just something that I’ve always liked, which is why I was even approached by Piedmont,” Stroud said. “I wanted to come back and give back and do something that was beneficial for the community and to and to work on a larger scale. Working with the county allows me to … have the hands-on, facilitation portion of the things I care about.”

Stroud’s position is a part of the county’s engineering office. Duties of the job include analyzing crash data, establishing goals, developing engineering solutions to make dangerous areas safer, advocating for the county on state and federal policies, negotiating contracts and more to help the county reach its goal of zero traffic related injuries and fatalities by 2040, according to the county’s job description.

One of Stroud’s main roles will be to facilitate communication between the county’s engineering and public works departments.

“Having that person who is the liaison dedicated to that interagency communication I think is going to be the biggest thing that we can look at going forward,” Stroud said.

One of the first priorities for Stroud will be to review pedestrian fatality “hot spots” identified last year in a report the county hired Peachtree Recovery Services Inc. to create. The company analyzed four years worth of crash data and determined five areas where safety improvements are needed most. Little, if anything, has been done to make those areas safer since the company’s report was provided to the pedestrian safety review board in June.

“That’s a lot of the problem is that, you know, we’ll get so far along with an idea but then, when new people come in, they have their own idea and they try to reprioritize,” Stroud said, adding that re-visiting the company’s report would be among the first tasks on the job.

Stroud plans to work in a boots-on-the-ground style and says he will “use actual data from the people in the community” to make decisions such as where a mid-block crosswalk should be installed.

“I live off of Pio Nono (Avenue), one of the worst streets when it comes to pedestrian fatalities, so I really live the experience,” Stroud said. “It’s one of those things that I’m passionate about making it better, not only for the community, for myself in general.”

The high number of pedestrian deaths prompted the county to establish the Macon-Bibb County Pedestrian Safety Review Board in 2015. The board is tasked by county ordinance to review pedestrian deaths, determine causes and make recommendations for how to make those areas safer. The board meets monthly and plans safety campaigns but does not review deaths.

Most deaths of people on foot in Bibb County occur on state roads like Gray Highway and Pio Nono Avenue, thoroughfares over which the county has no direct control. Safety improvements to those roads requires cooperation with the Georgia Department of Transportation and state or federal funding. Stroud said that’s something he has had to do in every job he has worked.

“It’s one of those things that it’s about not having a tumultuous relationship,” Stroud said of the county’s relationship with GDOT. “For some people, it’s a job and Macon isn’t their community and so the same level of attention that we have, as Maconites, may not be held at the state level. And that’s why it’s important to have a level of communication and transparency, and to and to constantly have that communication with them.”

Attending pre-development meetings for GDOT projects in Bibb County will be important, Stroud said, because “that’s where it’s really impactful on at least discussing it and looking at those options and being able to have some type of report or understanding as to why or how we can look at it in the future.”

The new county job won’t be the first time Stroud has been in the limelight.

In 2020, Stroud ran unsuccessfully for the district 2 seat on the Macon-Bibb County Board of Commissioners. He said transportation and public safety were key elements of his campaign. Stroud lost the election to former Macon-Bibb County firefighter Paul Bronson.

In 2021, Stroud made the Macon Magazine’s 5 under 40 list, in part for the impact he helped make in Greenwood Bottom, a once-bustling neighborhood off Broadway that was a Black economic hub for decades before racial integration.

As a high school student at the downtown Catholic school, Stroud said he regularly walked around after class dismissed each day. He became enamored with the neighborhood and dedicated to celebrating its rich history.

Years later, while working for the Macon Transit Authority, Stroud was awarded thousands of dollars in grants to help breathe life back into Greenwood Bottom via food truck events and a new mural.

“Working with community members to improve the area was something that is something that is important to me because I want to see Macon do better,” Stroud said. “It starts with the effort, you know, from the people, from the ground up.”

To contact Civic Journalism Fellow Laura Corley, call 478-301-5777 or email [email protected].

More to Discover

Comments (2)

Comments are Closed.
All The Macon Newsroom Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest
  • T

    TawanyaMar 5, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    Greetings Mr. Stroud! My name is Tawanya Wilson and I am the proud principal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Macon, GA on Shurling Dr. I would love for you to come to my school so that I can share some very serious concerns I have for my staff, students, family, and community partners. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  • R

    roads scholarJan 23, 2024 at 4:18 pm

    Educating pedestrians, has not worked in over a decade of promoting the idea, and it will not work now, or in the future. According to peer reviewed studies, suggesting that pedestrians should wear white or reflective clothing will not work either. At 45 mph, which is the average or above speed on our state highways, according to the laws of physics, on a clear night, a person driving a 2 ton automobile cannot see a person in WHITE clothing in time to stop their vehicle. Suggesting that wearing dark clothing and not using crosswalks as solutions, is blaming the victim and kicking the can down the road. The newsroom will not let me include a web link, so…Please Google this in-depth study. “Dangerous by Design 2022.” It explains the problems and solutions in far more depth and detail than I can. And…this is how a sister city in NJ, eliminated all traffic fatalities in three years by IMPLEMENTING Complete Streets, Vision Zero, and traffic calming design infrastructure improvements. Why can’t, and why aren’t we??? Please Google: “Streetsblog, How Hoboken, NJ has eliminated all traffic fatalities in three years”. We don’t need, nor should we wait until 2040 for action. Macon-Bibb has led the state of Georgia in pedestrian deaths for 15 or 16 years! Georgia ranked 9th in the nation in 2022! It’s time for proven action, not more ‘feel good talk!’