The Georgia Bikes Blog

Open for public comment- new EPA guidlines on school siting

From the EPA:

School buildings are fundamental components of the educational process and children spend more time in schools than in any other environment except their home.  More than 53 million children and 6 million staff occupy more than 135,000 public and private schools in the U.S.  A well located, thoughtfully designed, soundly built and efficiently operated school enhances the educational process by providing a safe and healthy environment for children, teachers and other staff.  State-of-the-art schools also provide many opportunities to enhance the educational process itself and to meet multiple community goals.  The decision to site and build a new school is a complex one.  These voluntary guidelines are intended to assist communities and community members in making the best possible school siting decisions.

The draft school siting guidelines are being made available to the public for a 90 day comment period.  The guidelines have not been finalized and should not be cited, quoted or otherwise referenced as representing final EPA guidance.

To submit comments on the draft guidelines, please go to the on-line comment form at: https://public.commentworks.com/epa/schoolsitingexiting EPA

For alternative comment submission methods, click hereComments must be submitted by 4 pm EST on February 18, 2011.

Check out GDOT's new design manual

The new Design Policy Manual from GDOT features a nice chapter on Bicycle & Pedestrian Accomodations (pdf).

Highlights:

There are two general types of bicycle facilities; on-road facilities including bike lanes or shared lanes; and off-road facilities such as shared-use paths, cycle tracks, or greenway trails. On-road facilities allow cyclists to circulate with traffic, allow easier access to destinations, and help cyclists behave more predictably. Off-road facilities may allow greater separation from high-speed traffic but need careful consideration at driveways, intersections, and constrained areas. These two facility types are not interchangeable and careful examination of their application should be conducted on a case-by-case basis. (emphasis added)

Bicycle accommodations shall be considered in all planning studies and included in all reconstruction, new construction, and capacity-adding projects that are located in areas with any of the following conditions:
• where there is an existing bicycle facility in place (including bike lanes, paths, shoulders, wide curb lane, and/or signage);
• if the project is on a state, regional, or local bike route; and
where there is a demonstrated need, with bicycle travel generators and destinations (i.e. urban areas, residential neighborhoods, commercial centers, schools, colleges, public parks, etc), or areas where such generators and destinations can be expected within the projected lifespan of the project. (emphasis added)

Bicycle accommodations should be considered on projects that are located in areas with any of the following conditions:
• within close proximity (i.e. 2 miles) to any school, college or university;
where a project will provide connectivity between two or more existing bikeways;
• where a local bike route is identified by a local government through a planning study;
• along bicycle routes that connect metropolitan areas and regional destinations;
on resurfacing projects in urban areas, the Department may consider restriping the roadway and narrowing travel lanes to provide additional shoulder width or wide curb lane. Restriping will be considered where space is available and where there is no significant history of sideswipe crashes. The Office of Maintenance will coordinate with the Office of Planning and Office of Traffic Operations to define an appropriate crash threshold for determining eligibility for restriping on a project-by-project basis;
• on projects where a bridge deck is being replaced or rehabilitated with Federal financial participation, and where bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of the bridge, the bridge deck may be replaced or rehabilitated to provide safe bicycle accommodations; and
any location where engineering judgment or planning analysis determines a need. (emphasis added)

Take a look the whole document.

Many thanks to GDOT for their support of safe bicycling accomodations!

A Few (of the Many) Reasons We Need Community-Centered Schools

Having turned 50 last year, I can speak with some authority on the “good old days,” because I’m now officially good and old.  And in my childhood one of the really good things was having the freedom to walk and especially bike just about wherever I wanted to go. While I didn’t always want to go to school, I did always get there under my own power. Okay, not in sub-zero conditions – my parents showed pity for me on those mornings, if at no other time. I grew up in Iowa and every winter it got plenty cold, but the vast majority of the time I walked or biked to school, and everywhere else.

So I don’t need to be convinced that one of the absolutely beautiful things about neighborhood-centered schools is that they enable children to get daily exercise and experience the freedom that comes from walking and biking. Face it, no freedom comes from sitting in a tin box driven by parents or some stressed-out bus driver. And kids who grow up moving around under their own power are fairly likely to continue doing so as adults. If you wonder why childhood obesity rates are soaring, one clear reason is that fewer and fewer children are walking and biking to school.

Of course these days many children live too far from their schools to have options. A startling statistic is that approximately $20 billion is spent every year busing some 25 million children to school. If my math is correct that’s about $800 per child, or nearly $4.50 per school day (assuming a 180-day school year), money that would be better spent on education rather than transportation. Add in what’s spent by those parents who drive their children to school and we’re talking a tremendous amount of money.

Exercise, freedom and transportation savings -- just three reasons we need to work for community-centered schools. There are many others, all worth thinking about and convincing decision-makers to comprehend.

- John Kissane

Why we should preserve historic schools

Have you ever wondered why it is important to preserve historic schools? Or more importantly why the schools were sited within a community center?  Historic schools are typically sited in centers of town where most students traditionally walked, or rode bicycles to school. Shouldn't county education boards site more schools where students can take advantage of accessability? If you are interested in learning more about Georgia's historic schools please visit the Georgia Historic Preservation Division link here http://gashpo.org/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=147 For more information about national success with community centered schools please visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation links at  http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/historic-schools/success-stories.html

Leigh Burns
Preservation Planner & Certified Local Government Coordinator

Historic Preservation Division/DNR
254 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

404.651.5181
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about the Georgia Historic Preservation Division please see our website at www.gashpo.org

Bike MS @ 25: special registration promotion for the Bike MS: Cox Atlanta Ride 2011

From our friends at Bike MS:

bike ms logo

Celebrating 25 Years of Bike MS in Georgia!

Registration Starting at Just $1

February 1-25, 2011

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Bike MS in Georgia, the National MS Society is offering a special registration promotion for the Bike MS: Cox Atlanta Ride 2011.

Register February 1st-25th for a dollar more each day.  Register on February 1st and you pay just $1.  Register on February 10th and pay $10, the 21st you pay $21…

Registration will be $50 starting March 1, 2011.
Event will be held on Sept 17-18 at Callaway Gardens.

REGISTER TODAY AT www.bikeMSgeorgia.org


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