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The Georgia Bikes Blog

Tell GDOT how to spend transportation funding

Through November 21st,  the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is soliciting feedback on its Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP)/Statewide Transportation Plan (SWTP). 

A major component of this plan is exploring how to best invest in transportation system improvements across the state. They have developed an online tool for the public to provide input on how to allocate the state's anticipated transportation funding (federal/state funds) over the next 25 years. You can choose how transportation funding should be allotted, see how it will affect the performance of the system, and compare your results to others.

We strongly encourage you to participate in this process. Your input is extremely valuable for the planning of our future transportation system and results of this survey will be considered in the final recommendations. Let GDOT officials know that investing in better bicycling and walking facilities is essential for our safety and for our economic development.

Responses are confidential and the survey takes ~5-10 minutes to complete.

The survey can be accessed at www.gdot2040.com. Please complete it by November 21, 2014.

Thank you for your participation in this planning process! We greatly appreciate your time and support. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact GDOT at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National grant opportunities for bike share planning, connections to transit & more

Several national grant funding opportunities are available that can be used for bicycle friendly improvements and planning:

  1. NEA Placemaking Grants: Could be used to develop locally branded, artistic bike parking
  2. EPA Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Grants: Bike share planning is specifically listed as a funding priority
  3. Ladders of Opportunity Grants: $20,000 available "to develop and test interventions designed to encourage and facilitate increased access and usage of public transportation and mobility options by older adults to support successful aging." Think accessible bike parking, pedestrian improvements, multi-use paths etc.

Good luck!

2nd year of workshops teach Complete Streets planning, implementation

Thanks to funding from the Federal Highway Administration, and with assistance from transportation professionals at Georgia Department of Transportation and Alta Planning + Design, we coordinated a second series of traveling workshops to share best practices for creating safe, Complete Streets that serve all users (here's a re-cap of our first series of workshops in 2013). Our 2014 Workshops were held in Albany, Macon, Milledgeville, and Valdosta

Each workshop consisted of presentations on the importance and benefits of creating bikable, walkable streets and roads, an overview of the GDOT Complete Streets policy, and best practices in planning, designing, and building bicycle facilities that appeal to the broadest range of users. The second half of the workshops involved bus tours of corridors and intersections that either demonstrated Complete Streets princicples or exemplified areas that need improvement.

Many thanks to our local partners who helped identify bus tour routes and stops. Below are photos from the four successful workshops of 2014.

 

 

GA rides to moon & back in National Bike Challenge

September 30th marked the end of the 2014 National Bike Challenge, a free ride-tracking initiative sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.

The purpose of the Challenge was to inspire people to ride more often and to engage in friendly competition at the individual, team, city, and state level.

Participants could log their rides manually through the NBC website, or they could upload rides that they tracked through one of several eligible smartphone apps. Sport and fitness rides, bike commutes, and mountain biking trips were all eligible to earn points. For every mile of bicycling entered per day, riders received 20 points. Every additional mile earned 1 point per mile. This scoring system allowed those who ride daily (but perhaps not very far) to keep up with weekend fitness cyclists who rack up lots of miles in a few outings. Once certain point benchmarks were achieved, Challenge riders became eligible for monthly prize drawings.

Below are stats from Georgia for the entire Challenge period, May 1- Sep 30. Congratulations to everyone who participated and helped make this year the biggest, most successful Challenge yet! Watch for announcements this spring about how to participate in 2015.

  • GA came in 4th place out of 14 southern states and placed 23rd nationally
  • 1,075 Georgians particpated in the Challenge, logging over 482,000 miles, the equivalent of a round-trip journey to the moon!
  • 19% of rides logged were for transportation
  • Among statewide teams, the Bicycling Club of Milledgeville eked out a win over the Camden County Cycling Club by just 618 points
  • The always impressive Pecan City Pedalers of Albany were close behind them with over 87,000 points

Summits, dinners, retreats, & more in September

Early September saw a whirlwind of activity for your friends at Georgia Bikes.

First, we travelled to Atlanta for the Strategic Highway Safety Plan summit, sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. This day-long conference was followed by an immensely successful People for Bikes-sponsored dinner for Atlanta business leaders who support better bicycling conditions.

The next morning we boarded a plane for western Pennsylvania to attend the Alliance for Biking & Walking Leadership Retreat, which led immediately into the 2014 Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference in downtown Pittsburgh.

Below are a few photos and our takeaways from these events. Suffice to say, this post is barely scratching the surface! If you want to know more, please get in touch. :)

Strategic Highway Safety Plan summit

GOHS Director Harris Blackwood started the Summit with an impassioned appeal for safety. “People on the roads in this state deserve safety,” he said. We work closely with GOHS and thank them for their partnership in helping us reduce bicyclist injuries and fatalities.

We led the afternoon's Bicycle Task Team to develop statewide performance measures that will drive how Georgia spends federal safety funds (as well as revenue from the Share the Road tag).

Our recommendations for the SHSP :

Education: 3’ safe passing law educational campaign, including billboards, PSAs, bus wraps and social media; Improve bicycle laws section of GA Driver’s Manual

Enforcement: Integrate our nationally recognized law enforcement training into GA police academy curriculum; Document enforcement of the 3’ passing law

Engineering: Record miles built of bike facilities statewide; Conduct coordinated, ongoing training of MPOs and GDOT regional offices on bicycle infrastructure best practices

People for Bikes Business Leader Dinner

Atlanta, a designated Green Lane Project city, played host to the nation's third “Business Leader Dinner.” This dinner, organized and paid for by People for Bikes, brought together over two dozen senior executives from Atlanta-based companies and organizations, including the Falcons, Coca-Cola, UPS, Kaiser-Permanente, the Cox Foundation, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the CDC, and the Midtown and Atlanta CIDs.

Our purpose? To engage business leaders in advocacy efforts to improve bicycling in Atlanta, and throughout the state.

The result? Invitees, including Falcons GM Thomas Dmitroff, spoke on why they think bicycling, in all its forms, is good for Georgia. Many thanks to Board members Dan Thornton and Joe Seconder, as well as the staff of People for Bikes, for organizing this outstanding evening. We’re confident it marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our statewide advocacy for a bike friendly Georgia.

Alliance for Biking & Walking Leadership Retreat

In 1996, a small group of bicycling and walking advocates from across the US met at the Thunderhead Ranch in Wyoming to share skills, experience, and expertise. They formed the Thunderhead Alliance - now called the Alliance for Biking & Walking - “with the explicit goal to link state and local bike advocacy organizations and leaders.”

Every two years, the Alliance convenes a multi-day Leadership Retreat to increase the knowledge and capacity of organizations like Georgia Bikes throughout North America. Our Executive Director served on the planning committee for this year’s Retreat, which saw over 125 advocacy leaders spending two and a half days together for workshops and seminars designed to strengthen advocacy groups large and small.

Among the workshops our ED participated in: Getting to the Ask with Major Donors, Working with Leaders in Southern Cities and States, Building Bike Tourism, and Engaging Rural Communities with Active Transportation. The image to the left shows a few of the advocates from around the US who attended (L to R: Tyler from BikeAthens, Brent from Georgia Bikes, Amy from Palmetto Cycling Coalition, Anna from San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Elliott with the Alliance in DC). We're proud to say that all of these talented folks got their start in bike advocacy with BikeAthens!

There’s far more to report on than we can possibly fit in a blog post, but take our word on one thing: if you volunteer or work for a bicycle advocacy organization, you need to attend the next Leadership Retreat! Who’s in for Vancouver in 2016?

Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference

North America’s preeminent conference on walking and bicycling is held every two years in a different city that has made strides toward being a more livable place. This year, the conference was held in downtown Pittsburgh, a surprisingly beautiful - and bikable - city and a wonderful place to stroll and admire the steel bridges over the Allegheny.

Our favorite workshops and takeaways from the conference: 

  • Learning about statewide safety campaigns in FL (Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow) and NC (Watch for Me NC) and how we can fund such initiatives in Georgia

  • Successful “Complete Streets” policies must have local leadership; Advocates and city leaders should monetize the safety benefits of Complete Streets conversions; Focus on the efficient and safe movement of people, not just motor vehicles

  • We need data, data, and more data. We exhaustively count cars and trucks, but barely any city in GA bothers to count pedestrians or bicycle traffic. By “not measuring something,” one presenter said, it “shows that it’s not important.” We know that safer, healthier communities are important, so let’s start counting people who walk and bike! Plenty of tools and guidance exist to help your community begin bicycle traffic counts today.

  • And finally, we can’t simultaneously expect more people to walk and bike while also dedicating valuable public space to free motor vehicle parking. Help your community envision a more livable future, and start prioritizing public space to realize that vision.



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