Build 100 new miles of high-quality bike lanes and trails (the city currently has 104 miles) to connect the city, including 20 new miles of protected bike lanes (currently have 4 miles)
As of January 2017, there were 104 miles of bike lanes and trails in the City of Atlanta; protected bike lanes made up 4 miles. It is important to note that these bike lanes are mostly scattered. In order to make Atlanta’s streets more liveable and bikeable, it is critical that we double the mileage of bike lanes and connect the network.
Building 100 new miles of high-quality bike lanes and trails is attainable. Cycle Atlanta 1.0, a supplement to the Connect Atlanta Plan (Atlanta’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan), called for adding 31 miles of bike lanes to the bike network. As of April 2017, 9.6 miles had been built and 11.45 miles have been funded. Renew Atlanta Bond projects include 30 miles of Complete Streets projects which, by definition, ought to incorporate bike lanes. TSPLOST projects, once implemented, would add approximately 49.5 miles of bike lanes and trails -- 16.2 miles from Complete Street projects, 13 miles of protected bike lanes, and approximately 19.5 miles of trails.
Image Credit: Atlanta’s Transportation Plan
Among the generally accepted four categories of potential bike riders (1. strong and fearless; 2. enthused and confident; 3. interested but concerned; and 4. no way, no how), people who are “interested but concerned” make up the majority of population (60%).
Research shows that their level of comfort and willingness to ride are greatly influenced by the quality of bike facility provided. Connecting gaps in the bikeway network and enhancing quality of existing bike lanes and trails would have enormous effects on the “interested but concerned” potential riders. Responding to the needs of “interested but concerned” group and making more investment in bike infrastructure would create a virtuous cycle of increased ridership and improved bike safety on streets.
Image Credit: Atlanta’s Transportation Plan
Research shows that U.S. cities that focus on connecting their bicycle networks see substantial increases in bike ridership and reductions in crashes, fatalities, and severe injuries involving people on bikes. Atlanta has experienced this surge in ridership when high-quality facilities are provided. For example, between September 2013 and December 2017, ridership increased by 225% on the 10th Street barrier-separated two-way bike lane.
In addition to addressing market demands for bicycle infrastructure, the city should set aggressive mode split goals. Both Portland and Seattle set mode split goals to drive future investments in transportation infrastructure. By setting a target on reducing the percentage of people driving alone for trips, these cities were able to more easily prioritize bicycle and pedestrian improvements before other forms of transportation.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition recommends that elected officials:
Set a goal of building and tracking 100 new miles of high-quality bike lanes, including 20 new miles of protected bike lanes.
Secure additional funding to implement the rest of proposed bike lanes (approx. 22 miles) that have not yet been installed, as outlined in Cycle Atlanta 1.0.
Mandate bike infrastructure with new developments and on streets in the city’s planned bicycle network when they are resurfaced.
Set aggressive mode shift goals and prioritize spending for projects that reduce driving alone and increase biking, walking, or transit.
Update: the Howell Mill complete street project made it onto the City Council approved list for Renew/TSPLOST funding! We'll celebrate at the kickoff to Atlanta Streets Alive Cross-City on Sunday, June 9th.
Howell Mill Road and Marietta Street are the primary roadways for what was once a heavy industrial meat-packing district on the Westside. Now, development, density, and desirable destinations have exploded in the area and exposed the need for a safer and more accessible way to connect this critical north-south corridor to the rest of the city. The combination of new bike lanes on Marietta Street, and Luckie/PATH Parkway have made it much safer getting to the Westside from Downtown, but there is an urgent need for safer routes throughout the district, starting with Howell Mill Road.
Howell Mill Road is a key north-south corridor that connects the Upper Westside, Georgia Tech and Downtown Atlanta. Howell Mill Road, between Collier Road and W. Marietta Street, is set to become a Complete Street through the Renew Atlanta bond, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2015.
Unfortunately, the Howell Mill Road suffered the same frustrating delays as many other Complete Street projects proposed in the Renew Atlanta and T-SPLOST programs, after the City had to go through a painful reprioritization process to pare down the project list. The good news is that Howell Mill Road is still on the list and is moving forward.
The Upper Westside Community Improvement District (CID) has been a staunch advocate for this project and others to improve bike and scooter access and safety. You can see a map with their priority projects on their website.
They offered the following update for December 2019:
The Howell Mill Complete Street Project has been working through the intricacies of the raised bike lane design and right-of-way (ROW) needs but reached 90% Plans in Q4 of 2019. The Renew Atlanta team and the POND/Jacobs design teams are addressing comments received by each City department on this plan set. Renew is also coordinating with utility companies about the necessary relocations. ROW acquisition has not started yet but the approximately 18-month long process is expected to begin early 2020.
Map showing Cycle Atlanta Alignments for a complete and connected network of high-quality bicycle facilities in the core of the city.
Another important project for cyclists and other non-motorized users is the Brady Avenue bike lane, which was part of the Cycle Atlanta Plan Phase 1.0 for the area. It has a new life as part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Safer Streets. Local partners have pledged to fund the project, and outreach has begun with property owners. The Brady Avenue bike lane is a small project, but it will help connect users from the PATH Parkway to more parts of the district as we wait for Howell Mill to go to construction.
Obviously, we would love to see both projects move as quickly as possible to make this part of the City more accessible for all users.
85% of respondents to the live poll conducted at the Renew Atlanta Monroe Drive/Boulevard public meeting said that bicycle and pedestrian safety should be prioritized in this project. And for good reason, the Complete Streets designs presented at the meeting would result in a substantial reduction in bicycle and pedestrian crashes at dozens of intersections on this corridor, including Monroe and 10th Street, Boulevard and Woodward, and Monroe and Ponce de Leon.Read more
DeKalb Avenue is fast, dangerous, and out of control. In 2015, Atlanta voters overwhelming approved the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond to update and improve our streets, including a Complete Street for DeKalb Avenue.
Yet in 2019, after three years of public meetings, funding for the Complete Street on DeKalb Avenue was cut, leaving only resurfacing and replacing the reversible lane with a center turn lane and design for a future Complete Street in the budget. It's not clear where funding would come from to actually build it.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, along with community members and neighborhoods along DeKalb, is continuing the fight for a DeKalb that serves more than high-speed traffic speeding through our communities. DeKalb Ave connects 11 neighborhoods -- all but 1 wrote letters of support for a Complete Street.
We are calling for any project, including repaving, that affects this key, flat corridor to make the road safer -- for everyone. The resurfacing project should include a buffer between people walking on the sidewalk and cars, and a place for people to bike.
The City of Atlanta retained Arcadis as the design firm for the striping design for the first phase of resurfacing on this project. They are pursuing short-term safety improvements that can be accomplished within the resurfacing project, with an eye toward long-term improvements that can be built in a future second phase.
The design team intends to begin meeting again with various local stakeholders in January and February 2020 to be followed by a public meeting. It's not yet clear when the design will be finalized and when the resurfacing project will go to construction.
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition remains an advocate for both long and short term solution to the dangerous conditions on DeKalb Avenue. The improvements should address the glaring gap in bike facilities stretching from the Stone Mountain PATH trail to the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA station.
Click here for more background on our campaign for a safe and complete DeKalb Ave.
The Rebuild Atlanta Infrastructure Bond passes with over 85 percent of ballots cast in the March 17 Special Election.Read more
Last week was a big week for our #Bond4Bikes campaign, with two big events: the Ride the Gap and the start of early voting for the Infrastructure Bond.
On March 17, 2015, Atlantans will head to the polls to vote on a quarter-billion dollar infrastructure bond. The project list for the bond hasn't been finalized because there are hundreds of streets projects competing for the same pot of money.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition wants 15% of the bond to build bikeways and Complete Streets.
We've already made some big strides on the the preliminary project list, but we need to fill in some gaps on the list if the bond's going to be great for you, for bikes, and for Atlanta.Read more
If the public comments from the city of Atlanta’s proposed infrastructure bond were a twitter feed, “bike projects” would be trending.
Even we were surprised to see the word "bike" show up 376 times and "complete streets" 126 times in the public comments!
An astounding one-third of all comments were requests for bike projects and Complete Streets. And a whopping 79 comments out of 767 total asked for DeKalb Avenue to be remade as a Complete Street!
That's a lot of support for the $23.4 million worth of projects that would include bikeways when resurfacing streets, which comes out to 9% of the $250 million worth of transportation proposals in the total proposed package. Here’s a small sample of the many wonderful comments:Read more
Our Advocacy Work
As Atlanta's leading bicycling advocacy organization, we are dedicated to creating better conditions for bicycling in Atlanta. Over the 28+ years of our existence, we've made some progress!
Map produced in collaboration with Alta Planning + Design.
We work with city leaders to plan and build infrastructure that is safe, comfortable, and connected through our Connecting the City campaigns. We also advocate policies to protect people on bikes, and conduct safety campaigns to educate bicyclists and drivers and prevent crashes.
Some of our completed campaigns