The Georgia Bikes Blog

Georgia Transportation Summit 2016

I arrived at the Classic Center in Athens, GA by bicycle, likely the only person to travel to the 2016 Georgia Transportation Summit (GTS) on two wheels. GTS is a statewide transportation conference known more for emphasizing freight corridors, ports, and automobile traffic on fast moving state roads than pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. It is put on by one of our partners (Georgia DOT) as well as the Georgia Transportation Alliance (GTA), the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).  To be frank, bicycle issues were rarely mentioned, but it was a hopeful sign that transit, particularly in the Atlanta region, received attention and was viewed as an integral part of the transportation network in Georgia.

Early in the day, attendees heard optimistic remarks from Keith Parker, MARTA’s CEO and General Manager; he spelled out MARTA’s future growth and recent funding victories. Though he did not explicitly mention the need for bike connections to transit, as bicycle advocates, we know that any discussion of transit in a region the size of Atlanta helps dispel the myth that the only way to get somewhere is in a car. Connecting to transit by bicycle could be a gamechanger for neighborhoods and cities in metro Atlanta, especially transportation underserved areas with low percentages of car ownership.  MARTA rail expansion into Clayton County, with a number of cities like Forest Park with very high bicycle modeshare, is a prime example of this potential.

Interestingly, bicycle and pedestrian issues came up prominently during the main panel of the summit, just prior to lunch; the panel covered the post-election outlook for federal transportation policy. The panel was filled with transportation trade association policy experts based in Washington, DC. Ed Mortimer, the Director of Transportation at the US Chamber of Commerce, mentioned visiting the Beltline the day before the summit and essentially said this kind of project with walking and biking at the center is the future of transportation and development; he emphasized the need to tout economic development opportunities of bicycle and pedestrian projects with the new administration. We know that while these arguments are important, we cannot lose focus of equity issues in bicycle/pedestrian development, especially residential and cultural displacement. Another panelist followed up with how his teenage daughters in suburban DC are old enough to get drivers’ licenses but are simply not interested in cars – they want access to transit, biking and walking, ride-sharing, and connections to trains and airports to travel. Transportation choices and options are crucial to meeting the needs of people who have access to personal vehicles and those who do not.

Unfortunately, there was not a break out session that dealt with bicycles and only one that had any non-motorized component. In the middle of a workshop on pedestrian accommodations during bridge repair, the summit was interrupted by a tornado warning.  I took advantage of my proximity to home and my efficient choice of transportation and pedaled home through traffic, thankfully beating out the storm and the cars.

12/8 Peachtree City Comprehensive Plan public meeting

Update from our friends at Southside Cycling Club in Peachtree City:

Peachtree City is updating its Comprehensive Plan and invites the public to participate Thursday, Dec. 8, 6:30-8 p.m. in the Community Room on the lower level of City Hall.

Here are a few points to share with decision makers:

 > Peachtree City needs to adopt USER recommended Designated Bicycle Routes and install 3 foot Passing Safety Signs .

 > Peachtree City needs more Multi-Use Path Construction and Maintenance  Budget.   [this is included in the proposed 2017 SPLOST]

> Peachtree City needs to adopt GADOT Complete Streets Design Guide as the standard for road planning and development.

> Need to install road markings and signs for safe crossing of bicycles at arterial intersections with GA State Highways.

 > Need to widen County Roads for Bicycle Routes.

 > Need to adopt bicycle parking space ordinance requirements for all businesses and plaza like handicap set-asides.

Drop in at your convenience – there is no formal presentation.

Attendees will be asked to indicate where they are from, and information will be provided on demographic trends, with an opportunity for input on the vision of the plan, concerns and assets, goals and policies, and issues and opportunities.

The activities for this open house are designed to engage the community and gather feedback to inform the Comprehensive Plan Update. There will be additional opportunities for public feedback and comment throughout this process. The deadline to have the Comprehensive Plan Update completed is June 30, 2017.

GDOT hosting two open house events for feedback on SR 20

Important announcement and opportunity for feedback on a major GDOT project north of Atlanta:

" Georgia DOT is developing potential improvements along SR 20 from I-575 in Canton to the west side of Cumming. SR 20 is a major east-west thoroughfare on the northern edge of Metropolitan Atlanta. Residents and the commuting public experience congestion, limited mobility, and safety issues along this heavily traveled corridor."

Two Public Information Open House events are scheduled for this month:

December 6, 2016 5PM - 7PM     

Otwell Middle School
605 Tribble Gap Road
Cumming, GA

 

December 15, 2016      5PM - 7PM

Calvary Baptist Church
137 Hightower Rd./SR 369
Ball Ground, GA

 

 

For GDOT Project info, visit http://www.dot.ga.gov/BuildSmart/Projects/Pages/SR20Improvements.aspx

Please submit your feedback to:


Georgia Department of Transportation
Nicole S. Law, Project Manager
Office of Program Delivery, 25th Floor
600 West Peachtree Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30308

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |  (404) 631-1723

Whether you visit in person or send an email, be sure to ask for safe, protected & separated bicycle facilities and please cc us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

 

New report highlights needed improvements in local policies

With continuing support from Voices for Healthy Kids, we are working with a number of Georgia cities to see adoption and implementation of best practices Complete Streets policies. An essential principle that guides a "best practice" policy is that the policy should focus on the needs, health and mobility outcomes for historically underserved communities. In too many neighborhoods, where many people already bike, walk and use transit, infrastructure investments are few and far between or have been planned and constructed without meaningful engagement with the affected community.

To help guide our work toward achieving more equitable policies, we enlisted the help of Naomi Doerner, an Equity Strategist, to review and assess several local policies in Georgia.

Excerpt:

Regardless of the individual circumstances of a place, it’s widely acknowledged that accessible transportation is a – if not the – lifeline for sustained economic opportunity, prosperity and vitality for individuals and communities. Without healthy transportation options – people and communities are significantly and detrimentally weakened and often suffer poor outcomes across a variety of livability and quality-of-life indicators. Therefore, policies and funding mechanisms that support transportation planning and projects are of vital importance. Transportation ensures that people have equitable access to physical mobility – the ability of all people, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, ability and/or socioeconomic status, to safely pass through public spaces and travel to and from the places they need and want to go – and economic mobility – the ability for all people to access employment opportunities, affordable housing and accumulate wealth.

 

Several counties, cities and regions within Georgia have Complete Streets resolutions or policies on the books, however implementation has lagged, and much needed improvements for non-motorized road user safety have not been pursued to the fullest opportunity.

 

For the purposes of the analyzing and evaluating Complete Streets equity, research and analysis was conducted on the five priority cities identified where resolutions or policies had already been adopted and the greatest potential for equitable implementation exists. Those five cities are: Athens, Columbus, Gainesville, Milledgeville, and Savannah.

Key recommendations for all of the cities include:

1.     Form a Complete Streets Advisory Council

2.     Use an Equity Impact Assessment Tool

3.     Develop a Complete Streets Implementation Work Plan & Checklist

4.     Prioritize Complete Streets Investments in Traditionally Underserved Communities

Our thanks to Ms. Doerner, local partners, and everyone who helps advance safe, balanced transportation options in Georgia. Our hope is that this analysis will fuel productive conversations in these cities - and beyond - to foster needed safety and quality of life improvements in a fair and equitable manner.

For specific recommendations for these five Georgia cities, read the full report.

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