The Georgia Bikes Blog

TIA projects improving bicycle & pedestrian safety in Columbus

Welcome news via press release from GDOT's Thomaston office:

COLUMBUS, Ga. – As elected officials across the nation struggle to secure funding for critical transportation infrastructure maintenance and improvements, communities in three of Georgia’s regions are reaping the benefits of the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), which voters passed through a referendum in July 2012. Citizens of these regions, including the River Valley, Heart of Georgia Altamaha, and Central Savannah River Area regions, are funding 871 transportation projects through a one cent sales tax collected over 10 years.  Georgia DOT is overseeing management of the budget, schedule, execution and delivery of all TIA projects, in collaboration with local and state agencies.

“The three regions that approved the Transportation Investment Act are starting to see the results of their investments,” said State TIA Administrator Mike Dover. “By voting to tax themselves and working together to identify and prioritize projects, citizens and public officials in these regions are addressing a variety of local transportation issues, from road and bridge repair to expansion and enhancement of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. These transportation system improvements will benefit residents and visitors in these regions for many years to come.”

So far eight projects are underway in the River Valley region. Four of these projects are currently under construction, while the other four are in the pre-construction (design or bidding) phase. These projects include a variety of roadway and bridge improvements, as well as two projects to expand pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in South Columbus.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 6, 2015 for the South Lumpkin Multi-Use Path in Southwest Columbus. This $3.5 million project will make use of an abandoned rail corridor between South Lumpkin Park and Old Cusseta Road, transforming the space into a linear park. Once completed, this project will provide pedestrian and bicycle connectivity for a variety of destinations, including seven schools, parks, restaurants, and several shopping centers in the community.

Owen Ditchfield, a local resident and community leader shared some comments on the South Lumpkin Multi-Use Path during the groundbreaking ceremony.  “This is a proud day for South Columbus… and more good things are yet to come,” Mr. Ditchfield said.  He recalled many of the changes that have taken place in South Columbus over the last few decades, and shared his excitement for new developments in the area. He looks forward to having a multi-use path in the community, to provide an off-street facility where he and other cyclists can ride bikes.

GA teen's petition: More emphasis on sharing the road needed on driver's test

Justin Bridges, a north Atlanta teen, has created an online petition calling for improvements to GA driver's education so that new drivers better understand the state's 3' safe passing law and how to drive safely around people on bikes.

In a personal appeal, Justin introduces himself and explains why better education is needed:

" I recently took the on-line training to get my Georgia Driver’s License.  I was surprised to find that out of the 30+ hours of material there was only one slide on awareness of cyclists.  And, even that slide was shared with information on pedestrians.  As a cyclist, racer, and endurance rider, I spend a lot of time on urban and rural roads.  I have seen firsthand how cyclists and drivers become involved in accidents.  I invite you to join me in requesting Governor Deal and [Dept of Driver Services] Commissioner Mikell to include more information on this important issue to the new driver training program."

Way to take leadership on this important issue, Justin! 

Roswell forum draws crowd, calls for more driver education

Yesterday at Roswell's City Hall, a sizable crowd of advocates and North Atlanta residents gathered for a forum on recent cyclist fatalities and how to improve bicyclist safety. forumOrganized by Georgia Bikes,  Atlanta Bicycle CoalitionBike Alpharetta and Bike Roswell, the forum, "Remember and Ride On," allowed guests to share grief over friends and loved ones lost to preeventable traffic collisions. A lively Twitter discussion supplemented the event. To follow the online discussion, search for #RideonGA.

Many attendees expressed dismay at the light penalties for motorists who injure or kill people on bikes, while others decried the widespread ignorance of Georgia's four year-old safe passing law, which requires motorists to provide at least a 3' buffer when following or passing people on bikes.

Ready to act, many attendees signed up for action alerts. We will be contacting participants very soon with messages they can share with lawmakers and the Georgia DOT to encourage the state to adopt a Vulnerable Road User law and to increase funding for safe, high quality bicycle facilities.

More photos by Doug Fallon from the event below:

Brunswick fatality underscores need for connected facilities

As reported by the Florida Times-Union, "a 62-year-old bicyclist was killed Sunday night in a collision with an SUV in Brunswick." 

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" The bicyclist, Joseph Wilson Jr. of Fortaleza Brazil, died in the crash, the state patrol said.

The state patrol said it is believed Wilson was a crewman aboard a ship that called on the Port of Brunswick.

The crash scene is in the southbound lanes just north of 4th Avenue and in a 0.7-mile gap in the concrete bicycle path along the highway. There is a paved three-foot apron outside the fog line, but it has horizontal grooves ground in it to alert motorists who run off the roadway and would be impossible to travel on a bicycle."  [emphasis added]

The "apron" mentioned in the news story is the road shoulder, and the "grooves" are better known as "rumble strips." They are clearly visible in the image below from Google Streetview of this section of Highway 17. What's also clearly visible is the ample, already cleared space available for providing a bike-friendly shoulder, an off-road multi-use path or protected bike lane.

We call on GDOT to make use of the ample shoulder space to create a safe facility for people on bikes. This could be a bikable shoulder (6.5' wide with skip pattern rumbles), a protected bike lane, or a multi-use path alongside the roadway. Alternatively, bike route signage and a clear paved connection to parallel Lanier Boulevard could be implemented.

These improvements will save lives and boost Brunswick's economic development by positioning the city as a welcoming destination for outdoor activities, including bicycle tourism. With the imminent gathering of a Joint Study Committee on the Coastal Georgia Greenway, the time is now to plan for and build bicycle friendly facilities in coastal Georgia cities like Brunswick.

In a timely coincidence, we are offering a free workshop on July 15th in Brunswick. This workshop will cover roadway and intersection design for improved bicyclist - and pedestrian - safety. Space is limited, so please register now if you would like to attend.

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