Georgia transportation board adopts Complete Streets policy!

Great news for people who'd like to walk, bike, or just experience more livable streets in Georgia's future - the state Department of Transportation board unanimously approved a Complete Streets policy today! This design-oriented policy was drafted with input from Georgia Bikes, the statewide bicycle advocacy nonprofit and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition along with many other organizations and experts from across the state.

To note just one exciting element of this policy, it references the NACTO Urban Bikeways Design Guide, making Georgia the first state to have a policy that mentions this progressive document! 

The story behind how this came about includes 

  • Stirring speeches (Bob Dallas pounding the podium during Georgia Bikes' Georgia Rides to the Capitol and the crowd going wild! )
  • Good old fashioned black and white ink (an ABC op-ed published in the AJC that same morning calling for a policy)
  • A race to the top facilitated by Georgia Bikes' lobbyist (a state legislator who became an advocate after hearing from the public on the single file bill, adding to the general call to action at the state department level)
  • Grassroots and professional advocacy working hard in public and behind the scenes! Thanks to everyone who did their part to create the success by making phone calls, attending meetings, and sending emails. 
  • A string of amazingly dedicated bike/ped coordinators on GDOT staff (David Crites, Amy Goodwin, and Byron Rushing) who moved the ball forward with routine accomodation
  • Receptive GDOT staff who proved open to advocates' and users' input

In 2012, GDOT's Chief Engineer Gerald Ross was the key force behind the policy, cementing his legacy as a thoughtful and best-practices oriented state official. 

complete-streets-advocates
Happy Georgia Bikes board members, ABC members, GDOT staff, 
and GDOT Board Member Dana Lemon, a policy champion, after the board vote

From policy (full text attached below):

"It is the policy of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to routinely incorporate bicycle, pedestrian, and transit (user and transit vehicle) accommodations into transportation infrastructure projects as a means for improving mobility, access, and safety for the traveling public. Accordingly, GDOT coordinates with local governments and regional planning agencies to ensure that bicycle, pedestrian, and transit needs are addressed beginning with system planning and continuing through design, construction, and maintenance and operations. This is the “Complete Streets” approach for promoting pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes of travel in the State of Georgia."    

"The concept of Complete Streets emphasizes safety, mobility, and accessibility for all modes of travel (including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists) and individuals of all ages and abilities. The design of transportation projects for multiple modes of travel requires the balancing of the needs of each mode. This “balance” must be accomplished in a context sensitive manner appropriate to the type of roadway and conditions within the project and surrounding areas."

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