The Georgia Bikes Blog

Road Diets: A Rx for safer streets and neighborhoods

In the current issue of Innovator Magazine, the US Federal Highway Administration recommends putting roadways on a "diet" to "increase safety and mobility."

A "road diet" is a simple, cost-effective technique for communities who want to improve quality of life and make their streets safer for all ages and users. To implement a road diet, traffic engineers re-stripe a roadway - without widening it - to reduce the number of travel lanes. A common road diet conversion involves turning a 4-lane street into a 3-lane street. The reconfiguration results in a safer, more complete street that accommodates all users: pedestrians, people on bikes, wheelchair users, children, and people in motor vehicles.

The bonus is that road diets can be implemented during already scheduled re-paving projects, meaning the cost of the project is minimal to the community. No expensive - or disruptive - road widening, and little to no additional cost to the community.

Aside from creating space for non-motorized road users, road diets vastly improve the safety of the roadway for motor vehicle users. Crashes are reduced by significant margins, and the crashes that do occur are less severe.

Check with your local transportation and public works department to see if a "road diet" can work in your community. All you have to lose is a dangerous street!


Bike Macon aims to improve bicycling in "Soul of the South"

Following a Cherry Blossom Festival bike parade with Georgia Bikes and Chantelle Rytter of the Great Atlanta Bicycle Parade, Rachel Hollar of Macon, GA decided it was long past time for one of the state's largest cities to develop a grassroots bicycle advocacy organization. Two months of organizing later, Rachel has assembled a team of enthusiastic advocates, known as Bike Macon, who recently met for the first time at a downtown Macon craft beer bar to discuss events, advocacy, infrastructure, and educational programs to improve bicyclist safety.

Well done, Rachel, and keep up the fantastic work and energy!

Columbus OK's partnership with PATH Foundation

Some really exciting news out of Columbus:

" The city will enter into a 'master agreement' with the PATH Foundation, Inc., in a step toward expanding the existing network of bicycle and pedestrian trails in the city.

Columbus Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the city entering into the agreement, which will not obligate the city to fund any of the project, but to facilitate the work and lend certain employees to it.

The plan calls for building 27.5 miles of trails in 12 'links' that would first connect the Riverwalk and the Fall Line Trace, the city’s two existing such trails, and then interconnect trails in other parts of the city, such as the new Follow Me Trail and a proposed trail along the length of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The foundation hopes to complete the projects in five years."

PATH rendering

Read more here:

Above: How the approach to the Frank Martin Bridge on 14th Street in Columbus would appear with a greenway path built. Courtesy of PATH Foundation

Read more here:

Traveling workshops share best practices for safer streets

With generous assistance from the Federal Highway Administration’s “Accelerating Safety Activities Program,” we recently completed a series of four-hour workshops on the need for Complete Streets, their many benefits, and best practices in bicycle and pedestrian facility design.
Each workshop provided two hours of classroom instruction, taught by Georgia Bikes’ Executive Director, GDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, and experts from ALTA Planning + Design. For our two coastal workshops, we also learned about the Coastal Georgia Greenway, an exciting project that recently secured a formal show of support from state lawmakers. The final two hours of each workshop involved a bus tour of streets and intersections that either represented noteworthy examples of best practices or those areas where better bicycle and pedestrian accommodations are warranted.
In May, we started our workshop series in Decatur. Partnering with Decatur Active Living, the initial workshop was an excellent way to begin, since the city of Decatur is already a statewide leader in Complete Streets implementation. During our bus tour, participants got up close and personal with Decatur’s “bike boxes” and protected bike lanes, examples of leading edge infrastructure for safer bicycling.
June saw us visiting Rome in northwest Georgia. Brad Davis of ALTA Planning + Design led attendees through a low stress  bicycle route exercise, in which they developed a safe, comfortable bike route through a mock-up city. Facility selection and design was determined by roadway conditions, destinations, and budgetary considerations. After the exercise, we visited several key sites in Rome, including a new elementary school, Broad Street downtown, and the multi-use trails along the banks of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers. A central theme of the workshop was “connectivity.” A few dangerous intersections or gaps in the network can create significant barriers to bicyle and pedestrian safety and access.
In July, we moved to Georgia’s coast, hosting back-to-back workshops in Kingsland and Brunswick. For these workshops, we invited Jo Claire Hickson, Executive Director of the Coastal Georgia Greenway, to share their exciting news about a new Joint Study Committee, convening this summer to explore how the state can fast track completion of the Greenway. In our tours, we emphasized the value of the Greenway and the need for safe connections to it from neighborhoods, local attractions, and central business districts. 
Our final workshop in Brunswick occurred in the shadow of a tragic collision on US Highway 17. A few weeks before the event, an intoxicated motorist hit and killed Mr. Joseph Wilson, a husband, father, and sailor who was out enjoying a bike ride while his ship was in Brunswick’s port for the day. At the start of the workshop, our Executive Director read a moving letter from his sister and daughter, calling on the city to do whatever it takes to improve bicyclist safety in the area.
Incredibly, another man on a bicycle was killed after the workshop while riding to St. Simons Island. We hope Brunswick and Glynn County officials take the lessons of our workshop to heart and act swiftly to improve the dangerous roadways and intersections that increase the odds of fatal collisions like these.
We are grateful to the Federal Highway Administration for their support of these workshops, and we look forward to conducting more of these trainings for other communities in Georgia who would like to provide safe, welcoming streets for all users, motorized and non-motorized alike.


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