New technologies are bringing new ways of getting around to Atlantans. Last month, the city's official bike share, Relay, celebrated one year of operations. Lime Bikes, along with a slew of dockless bike share companies bringing more mobility options to cities across the globe, is submitting permits to the City of Atlanta to start placing its bikes throughout the city. And, of course, people are buzzing about the Bird e-scooters zipping around town.
It's absolutely key to have sensible regulations in place before the systems roll out. This regulation will demystify the process for both the city and companies that want to bring beyond-car mobility options to Atlanta. That's why we're supporting the City of Atlanta's new “Shareable Dockless Mobility Devices” legislation.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition supports more *safe* mobility options that connect with transit, make getting around town easier, and help people get out of their cars for short trips. We also care deeply about livability, safety, and equity, so we want to make sure the shiny new devices are sustainable, safe, and equitably distributed.
But, perhaps most tellingly, these shared mobility devices underscore the importance of designing our streets for how people want to get around Atlanta. People crave options, whether it's at the grocery store, on the Internet, or on the street.
In Atlanta, you need look no further than Atlanta Streets Alive, our wildly popular open streets initiative which opens the street to people and closes it to cars. (Shameless plug: Join us for the Westside Atlanta Streets Alive on June 10th!)
In addition to open streets, to ensure the equitable expansion of Relay Bike Share, we successfully advocated for doubling the number of bike share stations and the fleet, bringing the total number of bikes to 1,000, with TSPLOST funding. We provide support to the Atlanta Bike Champions who have been working since 2016 to build a strong base of bike share users in Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods and NPU-V.
We're pleased to hear that Bird offers free helmets to customers in Southern California, and we hope they offer Atlanta residents the same deal; Relay bike share members get a 30% discount on Bern Helmets when they join.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition also offers free bike classes to meet the needs of new bicycle riders at every comfort level.
But as people who bike, walk, and require ADA facilities already know, we’re all competing for a limited amount of public space that, in Atlanta, has been built around moving cars as quickly as possible. When it comes to true mobility options that provide safe and equitable access for those using these new devices, the city must address this pent-up demand by investing in building our streets for how people want to get around today and tomorrow, not how they used to get around.
That's why we're advocating for $2.5 million in the Department of Public Works capital projects department. This money would be used for bike lanes already plotted in Cycle Atlanta 1.0 and 2.0.
At $2.5 million per year, the City of Atlanta could build approximately 20 miles of protected bike lane per year and deliver projects to voters within a single political term.
If you want to ensure that our streets keep up with new technology and mobility options, attend the Budget Public Hearing at City Hall tonight, June 5, from 6 - 9 pm.