A look back at 20 years of bike advocacy

Over the years we've had our wins (bikes on MARTA, the 1996 Olympics, Connect Atlanta Plan, Atlanta Streets Alive) and our losses (every traffic calming project that replaced formerly bikable space with curb extensions). After the break you'll find a few highlights shared during our 2010 board retreat - please add your own in the comments section!

We'll have a presentation with video and photos during the 20th anniversary celebration later this year. As might be expected after two decades, we have a ton of pictures, so we're just getting started...

To give you the flavor of our beginnings, a note of reflection from Dennis Hoffarth written in 2001:

On the chilly evening of January 16, 1991, a small gathering took place in in-town Atlanta. Everyone who attended arrived by bicycle. We all came seeking change, ready to take action, and ready to put a name to this new group we were forming.

Henry Slack and I reported on our efforts to come up for a name for this “bike action group.” We presented four good possibilities, including “Atlanta Plan B” (B for Bikes), Bikes Across Atlanta, and Atlanta Cycling Transportation Network (ACTN), but the one that captured everyone’s imagination was Atlanta Bicycle Campaign (ABC).

After 10 years it seems hard to believe it could be anything else! I must mention the 5 visionaries who made that historic decision. They are: Jeff Tiller, Henry Slack, Greg Ramsey, Dennis Hoffarth, and Hugh Esco.

A few accomplishments and notes
This list is a work in progress - please share your own below!

  • 1994: City of Atlanta starts planning bicycle maps/routes
  • In 1996, with support of MARTA Board President, bicycle racks installed on all MARTA buses, as well as other regional transit providers. Bicycles are allowed on MARTA trains during all hours of operations, in any rail car.
  • During 1996 Olympics, ABC provided bicycle valet parking and organized "don't drive" campaign
  • Barbara McCann, currently serving as Complete Streets Executive Director, was an early board President.
  • Annual budget exceeded $100,000 for the first time in 1997, the year Dennis Hoffarth was hired as ABC's first executive director.
  • Attempted to halt various traffic calming projects detrimental to bicyclists with bike-ins, protests, media attention, and even a lawsuit!
  • ABC piloted Safe Routes to School in Georgia with successful programs at 5 metro schools. ABC (Dennis Hoffarth and Sharon Bagatelle) later wrote the SRTS guidebook for the state.


20th Anniversary

Wow, how time flies. I remember hooking up with Dennis when the ABC offices were located in the basement of a church on Virgina Ave. I had just started to bike to work and took the Introduction cycling class at the REI in Perimeter. Still have my "Share the Road" lawn sign on my yard from way back. (Note to self: Get a new one for the yard.)

I rememebr the photo shoot we did for the "Share the Road" campaign a few years back. My face was plastered all over the back of MARTA buses. Actually have a bumper sticker a friend made for use using that campaign.

Many changes and new faces have come along, all for the better. While the city has a ways to go in regards to becoming a "cycling town" it has made advances in the years I have been involved with the ABC. And the current administration in city and local government seems to be be very interested in promoting bicycling as an alternative to the transportation issues in Atlanta.

Happy Birthday ABC!! The future is looking good for cycling in the ATL and it is your hard work that has helped to make it so.