This afternoon, the Georgia Department of Transportation called to let us know about the decision not to include bike lanes when they restripe a 1.4-mile stretch of Peachtree Road. We were disappointed, of course, but we are heartened that these GDOT traffic engineers proposed the bike lanes to begin with.
In cities across the country, bike lanes are becoming standard in new roadway designs; traffic engineers understand the importance of making streets safer for all users. Given the well-documented traffic nightmares on Peachtree Road, change was certainly needed, and we’re happy that the new plans will include a center turn lane, which will improve traffic flow and make the road easier to navigate in any vehicle.
However, it’s a shame that the safest street design--one that would have included bike lanes--is not the one that will move forward.
While having a bike lane on Peachtree Road would have benefited the many bicyclists who currently use it, we recognize that Atlanta is a lot more than one six-lane road, so we're keeping our focus on building a safe and connected network of bikeways throughout the city, starting with the intown core.
Just this year, we’ve seen enormous progress. In March, the City of Atlanta pledged $32.5 million to be spend on safer streets for people who walk and bike--including 30 miles of new bike lanes.
Maybe you have seen some of the results of these promises: the two-way protected bike lane that is under construction on John Portman Boulevard, and which will connect downtown with Centennial Olympic Park, or the Peachtree Center Avenue two-way protected bike lanes that provide a safe pathway through the heart of downtown. Let’s not forget the 5 miles of greenway currently under construction with PATH400. (Just yesterday Buckhead’s Loudermilk family announced plans to donate $250,000 to this bike path.)
These are the kinds of bike projects that we want to keep supporting: high-quality, protected infrastructure that will make anyone feel comfortable navigating the city by bike.
And we feel confident that this is where the City of Atlanta is focusing, too. As of October, we have a Chief Bicycle Officer sitting in City Hall, a person who can work closely with the City’s leadership to continue building out the Cycle Atlanta Phase 1.0 plans we’ve already laid for a bike network.
While we would have been happy to see bike lanes on Peachtree Road, we know that developing a comprehensive bike network means more than just a line of paint on a single stretch of road: it means dedication to a vision of a connected city, and that’s a vision we will continue pursuing.