After months of negative media attention on the GDOT Peachtree Road project that would add a combine two lanes to make a center turn lane and add bike lanes with the remaining space, both sides of the issue were represented at last night's heavily attended GDOT Peachtree Road meeting at the Shepherd Center.
Our wins for the night:
- High attendance at meeting: Estimated attendance of about 400 people total.
- ABC staff came with 100 "I support safe streets" stickers, and handed them all out within 30 minutes of the meeting's start time. People kept coming up to us and asking for more even after all were gone.
- People on both sides of the issue were having conversations with one another and trying to learn more about where the other was coming from. We heard lots of "Hmm, never thought of it like that."
What we are asking for:
- Adopt GDOT's plan for center turn lanes to help make Peachtree Road safer. Doing this leaves a few feet to add bike lanes, helping connect to the Atlanta BeltLine and creating a bike connection between Midtown and Buckhead.
- Currently the bike lane is planned for Deering to Peachtree Battle, where would end. The bike lane should connect to the existing bike lane, which starts farther north at Pharr Road.
- Recognition that the Peachtree Road project is about safety and connectivity, not bikes.
- Peachtree Road has more crashes than other state routes. The key component of this project is the two-way center turn lane, which will help ease the traffic jams caused by cars backing up behind left-turners, and prevent crashes.
- An attendee we spoke with even witnessed a hit and run car crash on the way to the meeting, caused by the lack of left turn lanes.
- Bike lanes would give people on the sidewalk a break by providing a buffer from speeding cars and trucks.
- GDOT's recommendations, which include a bike lane to accommodate people going places on Peachtree and buffer the sidewalk from fast-moving traffic, will make the street safer for everyone, including people in cars, on bikes, in wheelchairs, in buses, and on foot.
What people are saying about the project:
"Adding bike lanes also serves the interest of car drivers. As cycling increases on Peachtree, riders will increasingly need to protect themselves from traffic by "taking the lane" and occupying a full traffic lane for their passage. This is perfectly legal, and it serves to make roads safe. But it is also inefficient: a cyclist doesn't need a 10-foot lane; only 5 feet are needed. If dedicated bike lanes were added to Peachtree, it would free up space for automobiles."-Hans K.
"Small investments in infrastructure go a long way towards increasing quality of life for cyclists, pedestrians and, interestingly, motorists too. There’s no doubt that when people are comfortable riding bicycles on the street in facilities like Bike lanes, they come out to enjoy the freedom that riding provides. That increased ridership reduces the number of cars on the road, something that Buckhead residents would appreciate I’m sure. Having a Bike lane also gets bicycles out of the flow of cars, which is not just safer, but is another huge benefit to smooth driving. It’s a win-win."-Bruce H.
Check out video testimonials from individuals at the meeting on our Instagram page.
If you didn't make it to the meeting, please e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 9th November 16 (deadline extended).