The Atlanta Streetcar project, slated for completion in 2013, received a $5.1 million "transit enhancements" grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission's Livable Centers Initiative for installation of bike lanes and enhanced pedestrian infrastructure (read: fixing sidewalks). Yet the draft plans for Auburn Avenue show bicycle signage (“sharrows”) for most of the street with bike lanes on just three blocks of Auburn, whereas Edgewood is slated for a first-rate bike lane.
Please note these two bike lanes - one in each direction - are intended by the project sponsors to act as as paired bike lanes. Due to the streetcar being placed on the curb lane and the hazard streetcar tracks pose for cyclists, it would be unsafe to add bike lanes on the same side of the street as the streetcar. The streetcar will be in a mixed traffic lane with cars. This is a compromise - our ideal scenario would be a streetcar that operates in a dedicated lane in the middle of the road, with either protected bike lanes on both sides of the street or on a nearby parallel street.
We think the addition of a dedicated, striped bike lane on Auburn would enhance the historic district in many ways - see below for just a few - so we're asking you to weigh in to ask the city to edit contractor's plans. Want to find out more? Meet us at the monthly Commuter Breakfast at the Sweet Auburn Bread Company Thursday, Nov 1 from 7-9 am!
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Sharrows are nice for awareness but they don't create dedicated space for bike riders. On-street parking is necessary but Atlanta has many parking options, and not so many bike lanes. Cross streets like Piedmont and Courtland could be narrowed to add on-street parking, leaving room for a bike lane on Auburn, or planners could take a page from the West Peachtree at 5th Street project and use sidewalk space to add cycle tracks where space permits.
Check out our op-ed on the topic in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.