The Georgia Bikes Blog

Legislative update

HB 101, aka the "Better Bicycling Bill" has  been introduced. You can keep up with the latest version here.

GDOT call for projects!

An important press release from GDOT below. To find your Regional Commission, go here.

GEORGIA DOT POSTS CALL FOR PROJECTS FOR UNCONSTRAINED INVESTMENT LISTS

Regional Commissions Accepting Project Nominations for Submittal to GDOT

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Planning Division is requesting local governments throughout the state to suggest projects to be considered for the initial financially unconstrained list.  This list is being prepared for the 12 Regional Transportation Roundtables in conjunction with the Transportation Investment Act 2010 (TIA 2010), which will be voted on by Georgia citizens in an August, 2012, referendum.  TIA 2010 requires the Department’s Director of Planning to provide the Executive Committee for each Roundtable with a list of all projects meeting that region’s approved criteria.  This initial list is to be prepared without consideration of the cost of a project, i.e., financially unconstrained.

Local jurisdictions are being asked to send their request to the appropriate Regional Commission.  Project nominations are being accepted through March 30, 2011.  The official application and adopted criteria per region is posted at www.it3.ga.gov.

“Compiling the list of potential projects nominated by local governments is the next step in the process of determining a final list of approved projects for voters,“ said Director of Planning Todd Long.  “Each Regional Commission will collect the projects submitted before forwarding them to the Planning Division.  The projects submitted should meet the specific criteria adopted by each Regional Roundtable.”

The Department is scheduled to provide the draft unconstrained list to the Executive Committee of the Regional Transportation Roundtables by early summer so that the Executive Committee will have time to shorten the list to match projected revenues from the sales tax.  A constrained list must be developed by the Executive Committee no later than August 15, 2011  The full roundtable will vote on the final list sometime before October 15, 2011.

“The final list of projects need to be strategic in nature; be appealing to the public; and must be deliverable,” Long said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. Additional transportation revenues are imperative to grow and sustain Georgia's economic vitality and quality of life through the 21st Century.  Georgia is the 3rd fastest-growing state in the nation, yet 49th in per capita spending on transportation.  For general information on the Georgia DOT, please visit our Web site (www.dot.ga.gov).

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Jill Goldberg
Deputy Press Secretary
Georgia Department of Transportation
600 West Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
404.631.1828 office
404.357.8038 mobile
404.631.1844 fax
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

McKilip introduces bicycling bills

State Rep. Doug McKillip (R - Athens) has introduced two pieces of legislation this year concerning bicycles: a "better bicycling bill," which will bring Georgia's laws up to date on a range of cycling issues, and a "sidewalk cycling" bill. Creative Loafing summarizes them here.

Georgia Bikes! is very appreciative of Rep McKillip's interest in and advocacy for improved bicycle safety. Nevertheless, we must convey our reservations about the encouragement of bicycling on sidewalks. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to non-cyclists or casual riders, bicycling on the sidewalk is demonstrably less safe. For those under 12 and for the elderly, sidewalk cycling may be a safer option than on-road cycling in certain conditions, but overall, cyclists are much safer riding predictably on the road and with the flow of motor vehicle traffic.

Georgia Bikes! is also concerned that allowing communities to permit sidewalk bicycling will eliminate opportunities for creating truly safe, dedicated bicycle infrastructure. It's easy to imagine communities adopting a "Well, they can just ride on the sidewalk" mentality when local advocates push for bicycle accommodations. At root, McKillip's sidewalk cycling bill addresses a very real issue: in many areas, Georgia's transportation infrastructure does not adequately or safely accommodate multiple modes of transportation, including walking and biking.

Rather than push for allowing bicycles on facilities designed for pedestrian travel, Georgia Bikes! hopes the legislature will instead adopt a more comprehensive view of transportation in the state, one which create safe and accessible facilities for a range of public road users.

More coverage from the Florida Times-Union.

New Safe Routes Coordinator in GA

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has hired a new Coordinator for Georgia.

We welcome This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and look forward to working with him on improving bicycle and pedestrian access for Georgia's school children!

Use Historic Neighborhood Schools as Schools

folkston_ga_schoolThey stood together in a row by the sidewalk, the only buildings on the edge of a large in-town neighborhood block, a green grass field spreading out behind them. They were three old schools of varying age and size, all reminiscent of an earlier time when every child in the surrounding homes walked together to school each morning, from kindergartners through high school seniors.

The school on the far end, a one-story yellow-brick Craftsman style structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was the most modest but also the most inviting. Endless rows of multi-paned windows wrapped around its façade and poured sunlight into its rooms. Above the arched entryway reads the inscription, “We Become Like That Which We Constantly Admire.”

It undoubtedly was meant to inspire young people to follow in the steps of their mentors, to remind educators that the community’s future was sitting in their classrooms, to inspire all who read it to be civic leaders and to set an example of the community’s and the nation’s values. But the charge seems all too ironic now, as the yellow-brick school and its adjacent brethren are a challenge to admire, sitting vacant for going on several decades. Abandoned, vandalized and deteriorating, these institutions were deserted, just as the small town has been, unsavory to a nation whose appetite favors everything newer and bigger and farther away.

Meanwhile, small schools such as the yellow-brick schoolhouse sit empty. Historic neighborhood schools offer the type of learning environment parents and students request without requiring new infrastructure, yet their usefulness is thwarted by policies that counteract achieving a nurturing learning environment. Communities across the nation are experiencing the pain of losing a civic anchor that has nurtured generations of its citizens, yet feel helpless against a school board that is not tempered by local planning efforts.

The policies which hinder the use of historic neighborhood schools as schools include the adoption of large acreage requirements, funding formulas which favor new construction over rehabilitation and modern building codes that render historic schools obsolete. These policies, combined with the mentality that new schools are better, leads to the abandonment of neighborhood icons (and, thus, the neighborhood) and the creation of poorly-designed new schools that instigate urban sprawl. In order to successfully debate keeping historic school buildings in use as schools, it is necessary to go beyond traditional arguments for preservation and outline why historic schools can best serve the education and health of children.

School Board members, parents and teachers… we need YOU.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UGA Center for Community Design & Preservation
225 W. Broad St., Studio 1, Athens GA 30602
p: 706-369-5885 | f: 706-369-5864
www.ced.uga.edu/pso

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