Advocacy Works! GDOT Adopts Complete Streets Policy

Oh boy, do we have some very exciting news for all you bicycle(and transit, and pedestrian) advocates in Georgia: At its meeting this morning, GDOT’s governing body, the State Transportation Board, voted unanimously in favor of a Complete Streets design policy for all transportation projects managed by the DOT! 

In the words of GDOT’s Chief Engineer Gerald Ross (himself an avid recreational cyclist), this means that GDOT “can ensure that wherever possible, [road] designs [will] properly integrate and balance the needs of all citizens accessing the network by any mode of transportation.” Can we get an “AMEN!”?

This achievement has been months in the making (many of the advocates involved are pictured left). Immediately after last year’s Ride to the Capitol event, a GDOT official approached advocacy leaders from Georgia Bikes and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, wondering why we had the crowd “stirred up” with a chant of “Complete the Streets!

The official was under the impression that GDOT already had a strong Complete Streets policy in place. Once we clarified that Georgia definitely did not have such a policy, GDOT, to its great credit, immediately convened a task force to develop a policy. Over the summer, representatives from Georgia Bikes, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, the Atlanta Regional Commission, plus pedestrian and transit advocates, met with GDOT to review the draft policy.

GDOT officials were extremely receptive to suggestions from bicycle advocates. We feel confident this policy will create lasting and meaningful improvements to bicycle accommodations on GDOT-managed roadways. In fact, Georgia’s new Complete Streets policy is the first in the nation to include a prominent recommendation of the cutting-edge NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide!

The adoption of this policy is an important first step to seeing real improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety in Georgia. A sincere thank you to everyone who wrote, called, or visited with Transportation Board members, elected officials or GDOT staff. These contacts were absolutely essential to the success we are enjoying today. Stay tuned for news from Georgia Bikes on how we can ensure successful implementation of this policy. We will be working closely with GDOT to see that project engineers and managers are aware of – and abiding by – Georgia’s new vision for Complete Streets!

To learn more about the policy, join us in Augusta on October 20th for the Georgia-lina Bike Summit. GDOT officials will be presenting the policy during one of the Summit’s breakout sessions. You can also view the newly adopted Complete Streets Design policy and see our official press release about today’s unanimous vote.

Today’s victory did not happen in a vacuum. It took many hours of dedicated, passionate, and informed advocacy to bring about this big win for bicycling in Georgia. If you aren’t one already, please become a member or financial supporter of your hard-working statewide bicycle advocates as well as of your friendly neighborhood advocacy organization, and don’t forget to register for next month’s incredible Georgia-lina Bike Summit!