News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A future for transit?

"Hybrids and diamond lanes may be soothing our conscience, but they're not easing the transportation crisis. Will long-term solutions like mass transit ever get a real chance in our car-addicted culture?"
Full story here, from metroactive.

Solar-electric buses

very cool story from Australia:
"this is a great niche for fully electric vehicles to occupy - a vehicle in frequent use that is contantly returning to its base and has no need to make longer journeys."

"You'd look hotter in a helmet"

A sexy campaign for safety.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Transit & development news in Flagpole

This week's Flagpole Magazine has a slew of articles about transportation-related issues:

Sewer & Sprawl
(bottom of 1st story)
People he’s talked to are “desperately concerned about development pressures on that area of town,” he said, especially traffic congestion
Improvements Come: But is The Bus Getting Somewhere?
(scroll to 2nd story)

Also, "Holes in the Road":
There’s no question that an agency as large and tradition-bound as DOT could benefit from an organizational shakeup. If it saves some of our taxpayer dollars, so much the better. But it may be that the departmental problems are being exaggerated a little for the benefit of people who have their own agendas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pushing Pedals for Sgt Gale - update

Looks like there was a great turnout for Sunday's ride in support of Sgt. Gale!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Transit Oriented Development

"Transit Oriented Development or "Smart Growth" is often cited as one of the potential solutions to dealing with peak oil by reducing suburban sprawl and creating more usage of mass transit and walkable communities. The idea generally is to promote development near existing transit hubs or along transit corridors."
Full article from The Oil Drum here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Pushing Pedals for Police"- Supporting ACC Sergeant Gale & Family

An announcement from friends of BikeAthens:

*Please join us at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 16th for a bike ride to raise funds for Athens Police Officer Sergeant Courtney Gale.* Sergeant Gale was attacked Tuesday evening in a local grocery store and is in critical condition at St. Mary's Hospital. As is true of every police officer, Sergeant Gale puts her life on the line daily to protect each one of, we rally to support her.

In an effort to help further surround her, and her loved ones, with positive energy and support from the community, we will be conducting a Police Escorted Bike Ride from the downtown Police Station (133 Washington Ave.) to St. Mary's Hospital and back.

We ask a $10 donation to participate, but no one will be turned away. All proceeds will go directly to Sergeant Gale and her family.

*If you cannot attend the bike ride, please try to focus your encouraging thoughts, alongside ours, in her direction Sunday morning.
*Donations may be made directly to any SunTrust bank branch or mail donations to:
SunTrust Bank
Attention: Heidi Spratlin
1022 Prince Ave.
Athens, GA 30606

"Pushing Pedals for Police"
Athens, GA

Route Map:
Show your support for Sgt. Gale and her family. Our thoughts are certainly with them, and we hope for her full & speedy recovery.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Baxter St Lane Conversion Featured in Engineering Article

The conversion of Baxter Street from 4 - Lanes to 3 - Lanes was
featured as part of a larger article regarding the concept of Road Diets
in this month's edition of the "ITE Journal" (the monthly publication from the
Institute of Transportation Engineers). Baxter Street was one of six
streets highlighted in a recently published book, "Road Diet Handbook:
Setting Trends for Livable Streets," documenting the process and results communities
have followed in converting four lane streets to three lanes in the past
few years. Transportation & Public Works staff worked closely with the
researcher to convey [their] experiences with the concept of road diets and
[their] successes and failures in implementing them on several streets since 1999.
The book was recently awarded the ITE Past Presidents' Award for Merit in
Transportation Engineering.
- from "The Week that Was" - an ACC publication covering weekly goings-on within the government

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bike Recycling Program - Items for Sale & Auction

BRP volunteers have refurbished a number of classic bicycles, including a Schwinn Lil' Chik, a Raleigh Mountie, and a Huffy Desert Rose. They are available for bidding, here, here, and here, respectively. More photos of the bicycles.

Here's BRP volunteer Mike testing one of the rides.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

GA Transit Assoc. Annual Conference in Athens

The Georgia Transit Association will hold its 2007 Annual Conference in Athens, Georgia from
December 12th through the 14th at the Classic Center.
GTA is a non- profit organization dedicated to improving public transportation in the
state of Georgia.

Conference agenda available here.

Got a spare kids' bike? Come on down!

At the Bike Recycling shop, we've almost exhausted our supply of refurbish-able children's bikes, but we have a great crew of volunteers ready to work on more. If you have a youth bicycle that's in decent condition (and not in use), please consider donating it for our Holiday Bikes for Kids program. Drop offs accepted on Sundays from 2-4:30 or Wednesdays, 6-8:30pm at the shop, located here:

View Larger Map

If you feel like supporting the shop but don't have a bicycle to donate, we could also use:
  • cash donations (to offset the cost of the helmets, lights, locks, etc. we provide with each bicycle)
  • supplies, such as a bike repair stand (or two), cleaning spray, bike lubricant, rags, paper towels, vinyl gloves, shop lights, and a space heater
  • your time! come help us clean, repair, and inventory our bicycles
Thanks in advance for your support!

Since BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, you can deduct the value of your donation from your taxable income.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"How Big is your Bicycle?"

Thinking about [the] future raises some other concerns. While total freight traffic must decline, it's likely that big trucks will still be common because of their efficiency per unit transported. Buses are also going to be a big part of our public transport future. But these trucks and buses will be sharing the roadspace with an increasing number of small and ultra-small vehicles. We could see a bi-modal size distribution of vehicles develop on our roads, which has hefty implications for road safety and infrastructure planning.

Another result of this is that line between 'cars' and 'bikes' will become increasingly fuzzy.

Which ones should 'bicycle' advocacy groups support?

Full article here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Revisiting Prince Ave?

For now, numerous plans to improve Prince gather dust on a shelf, but if the state legislature commits to funding a Medical College of Georgia expansion and an associated University of Georgia health sciences campus at the Navy school, the Athens-Clarke Commission can pull them out of mothballs, Commissioner Kelly Girtz said.

"As soon as we know what's happening with the Navy school property, we need to get all those plans back on the table," Girtz said.

If it had passed, a commission proposal in November 2005 would have been the key to turning ideas on maps and in binders into real landscaping, bricks and pavement. In one of the most controversial votes of recent years, the commission voted 6-4 against taking over a state-owned stretch of Prince Avenue west of Milledge Avenue from the state.

The vote saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs over the decades and reassured suburbanites who viewed the street mainly as a highway into downtown. But it destroyed in-town residents' hopes that Prince would become more of a neighborhood center, lined with trees and small businesses, and safe for people on foot and on bicycles.

(emphasis added)

Full article from the ABH here.

I was quoted in this piece as a BikeAthens representative, but I'm not happy with 1) how I phrased myself or 2) how the ABH decided to quote me. Let me clarify that my point was not that any of the Prince accidents were the pedestrians' or cyclists' fault.

The point is that clearly defined crosswalks, 3-lane striping, and bike lanes would certainly make Prince a safer place- for walkers, cyclists and motorists.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bike art in the parking deck

There's some great transportation-related art up at the College Ave parking deck. On each floor, by the elevator, there are displays created by Athens area students.
Some examples below. Check 'em out:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mixed use development near Navy School proposed

Full story from ABH here.
Mixed-use developments can help curtail sprawl by creating higher-density communities that reduce the need for people to use their cars, said David Matheny, the architect who produced the conceptual drawings for Moorman's project.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ABH: More near university could get parking permits

More near university could get parking permits
38 streets considered

November 28, 2007
Residents in more Athens neighborhoods soon may be able to ask for parking permits that will allow them - but not University of Georgia students and employees - to take on-street parking spaces in front of their houses. Full story.

Meanwhile, Flagpole says:

And to help control on-street parking by UGA students in neighborhoods that border campus - leaving nowhere for residents to park, in some cases - a parking permit program may be extended to more streets. (On-street parking will still be permitted at night and on weekends, but only residents with permits will be allowed to park between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the controlled areas.) The program has been used successfully on several Five Points streets since 2000, and residents who want it extended to their area must get signatures in support from 65 percent of homeowners.

Commissioner Jordan suggested selling additional permits to people other than homeowners, saying that could help cover the cost of enforcement. Otherwise, he said, “you’re going to have a lot of empty spaces on the street.” Commissioner Alice Kinman didn’t like that idea. “These are narrow streets,” she said. “I don’t think we want wall-to-wall parking on both sides of the street.”

Monday, November 26, 2007

BRP shop location

Since our street address is a little confusing, here's clarification on the Bike Recycling Program shop:
The BRP shop is located in the Chase Street Warehouse complex (same location as Canopy Studio and Mercury Art Works). Access the shop from Tracy St. Directions here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A sensible Aussie proposal for better transit

While catered to Australia's needs, this article presents arguments that are equally compelling for the U.S.

Why should our Federal Government get involved in public transport? There are many reasons:

* Australia is one of the most urbanised countries on earth, and our cities are amongst the most car-dependent. State governments are trying to address the issue, but strong backing from the national government is needed.
* Providing better public transport will reduce oil consumption and the trade deficit, road congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, motor vehicle accidents, air pollution and the expense and space required for urban motorways. It will also have health benefits by encouraging more exercise – walking to and from the train or bus every day means an average of 2 km walking – 20% of our daily exercise needs.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Commission wants more than just a parking deck"

As do all the citizens who care about keeping Athens from becoming (more of) a car-dependent, sprawling mess.

Full story from ABH here.

Commissioners said they view the deck as their lasting contribution to downtown and want to make sure they get it right.
Thank you, and amen to that!

A larger retail space could help draw a grocery store such as Whole Foods to the deck, Athens Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kathryn Lookofsky said.
Heck yeah! A grocery store is exactly what downtown needs to round out its rapidly growing residential nature (Full disclosure: I live downtown, and I salivate at the prospect of a Whole Foods within walking distance).

Here's to the M&C taking a careful, long-range approach to this project.

I hope they make sure this addition to a central intersection downtown is more than just a place to funnel cars. How about a bus stop incorporated into the design as well? Ever since the MMTC opened, there are fewer opportunities to be dropped off downtown by city bus. Downtown is the destination for many, so let's integrate transit into downtown streets!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Holiday Bikes for Kids!

BikeAthens' Holiday Bikes for Kids Kicks Off Thursday, November 22, 2007
10 AM to 4 PM

The Holiday Bikes for Kids project officially starts on Thanksgiving day. The Bike Recycling Program workshop will be open from 10AM to 4PM, during which time volunteers will clean, repair and restore children's bicycles. The project will continue every Wednesday from 6-9PM and on Sundays from 2-4PM until December 21. Volunteers are welcome to help BikeAthens offer a child a very happy holiday.

Since 2003, BikeAthens has been restoring used bicycles and donating them to low income members of the community. During the holiday season the program focuses on children's bicycles for donation to Fowler Road Elementary and the Athens Area Homeless Shelter. Each bike, dressed up in bows and ribbons, includes a new helmet. In 2006, the project donated 30 bicycles to kids.

"I remember the first bike I got for Christmas," said Peter Norris, a BRP volunteer since 2003. "It was a yellow Sears 10 speed, nothing fancy but I was so excited I rode it up and down the street all day…The day after Christmas I was 'goofing off' riding with no hands and ran into the back of a parked car! While the wreck left me very bruised, what hurt the most is that I had bent the forks of my brand new bike. I was devastated."

During November, BikeAthens will also be auctioning off three classic kids bicycles: a Raleigh Mountie, Schwinn Stingray and Huffy girls bicycles. These bicycles have been meticulously restored by experienced volunteers (pictures available on the website). All proceeds from the sale of bikes will pay for parts and helmets for the Holiday Bikes for Kids project.

Donations of gently used kids bicycles will also be accepted during the Thanksgiving day event or during regular shop hours (Wednesdays and Sundays). Individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring the Holiday Bikes for Kids project are encouraged to contact Peter Norris or Brent Buice here.
Additional information available at

"Obesity, global warming solutions may be linked"

from the Banner-Herald:

America's obesity epidemic and global warming might not seem to have much in common. But public health experts suggest people can attack them both by cutting calories and carbon dioxide at the same time. How? Get out of your car and walk or bike half an hour a day instead of driving.

This message sounds awful familiar.

Friday, November 9, 2007

BikeAthens on the tv...(barely)

On Wednesday's broadcast from Newsource 15, UGA's student-run tv news program, a reporter discusses the Bike Recycling Program...kind of.
Focusing on the fact that some bike recipients sell their bicycles rather than keep them (of all the things to focus on...sigh), the segment features some video footage of the shop & BRP volunteers.
To see our humble appearance, scroll to minute 9:30. The report lasts about 2 minutes.

My informative, compelling interview with the reporter did not make the cut, unfortunately.

Poll: bike repair co-op?

We have heard from a few folks that there is interest in expanding the Bike Recycling Program to include a bike repair co-op.

Here's the skinny: For a nominal fee, you would join the co-op, granting you access to the BRP shop, including tools and spare parts, so that you could work on your own ride. In addition to the co-op fee, you would also be expected to work a set number of hours per month as a BRP volunteer, refurbishing bikes for our neighbors in need.

If this sounds interesting, please answer the poll question to your right. If you would like to discuss this idea further, feel free to comment below, or email me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An unfortunate anniversary...

It was two years ago today, on a Wednesday morning in early November 2005, that bike/pedestrian advocates were left stunned by a previous evening's decision by the Mayor & Commission, who refused to enact traffic calming measures on the "neighborhood" section of Prince Avenue to make it a safer, saner place.

In a 6-4 vote, the M&C shot down a proposal to three-lane the section of Prince Avenue between Milledge Ave and downtown, even though it came before them as an ACC staff recommendation. The opposing votes were cast in clear disregard of over five years of public input; they ignored the stated desires of every neighborhood association in the area - Normaltown, Pulaski Heights, Cobbham, and ARMC/King Avenue; and they defied outright the Guiding Principles of the ACC Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the MACORTS Long Range Transportation Plan and the ACC Bicycle Master Plan.

We are hopeful that there might be some change in the views of both citizens and elected officials who opposed the traffic calming on Prince two years ago. The Prince Avenue Baptist school that opposed the change is no longer present. Athens Regional Medical Center argued that ambulance response time would be negatively impacted by a three-lane proposal, but this view goes against all published findings. In addition, ARMC has subsequently proven the value of traffic calming on their own campus, installing a manned pedestrian crosswalk on King Avenue. There is new leadership in the local Chamber of Commerce, and we would hope that the dramatic changes on Lumpkin Street in the past two years have demonstrated clearly to local retailers that a three-lane road will not increase congestion or prevent people from coming downtown.

Several commissioners who voted against traffic calming on Prince vowed that night to develop a committee to explore alternative ways to make this section of Prince safer. Two years on, after a number of very serious accidents, there has still been no action.

Commissioners in favor of Prince traffic calming spoke clearly and convincingly that night of the need for change, citing pedestrian safety, vehicle speeds, the county's stated commitment to alternative transportation, and future commercial development as reasons to reconfigure the street from its cars-only iteration. Those arguments are all still valid.

For the safety of all of its users, now is the time to rethink Prince Avenue.

Former BikeAthens staff member writing in NYC about transportation issues

Brad Aaron, our former Administrator and former Assistant Editor of Flagpole Magazine, is now writing for Streetsblog in New York. Brad was a tireless advocate for transportation choices in Athens and an excellent writer, so we're glad to see him keeping at it in his new home! Check out his articles here.

Bike recycling in Scotland

At last night's Bike Recycling work session, a new volunteer showed up. His name's Jason, and he shared with us his recent experiences in Scotland with The Bike Station, a "bicycle recycling and cycling promotion charity."
TBS's scope and scale are quite a bit more extensive than our Bicycle Recycling Program, but it definitely serves as an admirable model for us to emulate. Check it out, and if you haven't already, come by the BRP shop and see what we're up to. We just started working on children's bikes for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Funding our intentions

An article from The Oil Drum:

Linking Promises to Funding


As we consider the collision course of peak oil and global warming, we should start look around our own communities and see if our transportation plans, policies, and construction projects are anticipating higher gas prices and a future with reduced vehicle miles traveled by automobile or stuck in the "building our way out of congestion" mindset.

With motorized transportation using 40% of US oil consumption, it's important to examine what we are doing on a local and regional level with transportation plans, funding, and construction. Are we digging ourselves deeper into the hole of oil dependency for mobility?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Article: Racism and sprawl

"Civil rights leader and environmentalist Van Jones talks about suburban sprawl, race and the future of cities."


A BikeAthens board member witnessed a nasty accident involving a cyclist on Milledge yesterday, and a few days ago, a man was struck by a car and dragged down the road. The motorist didn't stop.
We all hope these two cyclists are OK.

For the rest of you cyclists out there, please practice safe riding techniques.
Always wear a helmet
Ride on the street, not the sidewalk.
Wear bright clothes- an orange safety vest is best.
Use your head & tail-lights.
And ride predictably, so cars know what to expect from you.
Be safe, y'all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ladies Night: Halloween Witch Ride

from Red & Black:
On Halloween, a night where downtown will be crowded with people in costumes, anything can happen.

Maybe witches will take downtown by storm on bikes. Actually, scratch the maybe.

Liz Kinnamon, a senior from St. Simons Island, and Avery White, a senior from Atlanta, co-founded The Witch Ride.

"The Witch Ride is an all-girls bike ride set for Halloween," Kinnamon said. "Historically, women have been called 'witches' for a variety of different reasons, so a 'witch' could simply be an empowered, strong woman, or it could define a woman thought to practice black magic."

Kinnamon and White said they thought of this idea last month and put it into effect by getting the word out through a Facebook group "Witch Ride" and putting flyers downtown and on campus.

"We thought it was humorous and a good chance to create solidarity between women," Kinnamon said. "There's something about an all girl environment that feels unifying and fun."

There are already 30 people attending, according to the Facebook event.

The event is free and anyone can attend. The bike ride starts at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Prince Avenue and Pulaski Street.

"Often times, it's clear what demographic an event speaks to, but this event is for every woman who wants to come. Bring your friends and a witchy costume," Kinnamon said.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Final Courteous Mass of '07 this Friday, Nov. 2nd, 6 pm

Please join BikeAthens for the final Courteous Mass ride of the season
this Friday, November 2, at 6:00 at City Hall.

We will be joined by a news team from the UGA NewsChannel 15 crew,
and as such we have an unprecedented opportunity to show the public
support for improved transportation infrastructure and to demonstrate
the strength of public need and support for safer cycling in Athens.

A large turnout will be a great benefit to the cause of transportation choices. Grab every cyclist you know, and come out for a beautiful, sunny ride under blue autumn skies.

For more about Courteous Mass, check this out.

"Celebration of Land" this Sunday

The Oconee River Land Trust’s
6th annual

Celebration of Land

Sunday, November 4th
2-5 pm

Hosted by Oconee River Land Trust Board Member and Conservation Easement Holder Smith Wilson

580 Morton Road, Athens

Please join us for a casual and fun-filled afternoon for the whole family!
There will be a variety of fun activities for all ages, as well as a chance to learn about our progress in preserving the beautiful Piedmont landscape!
Bring your friends!

The activities will include:

Live Bluegrass Music by Strung Jury
Mule-drawn Hay Rides
Harvest Munchies & Hot Cider
Guided Walks on the Land
Drawing Contest
Scavenger Hunt
Face Painting
Bike Athens to Attend S'mores by Campfire

Directions: From the intersection of Gaines School Road and Lexington Road in Athens, follow Highway 78 (Lexington Road) 2.7 miles to Morton Road. Turn right, & go 0.8 miles. Look for balloons marking driveway on the right.

For information, please contact Katherine Hinson at 706-850-1354 or

Monday, October 29, 2007

the alienated empire

a very intriguing article about the atomizing, isolating impact of our dominant forms of urban planning and architecture.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Get your Halloween grub at Earth Fare & kick us some change

Don't forget!
October is our "Friend of Earth Fare" Month

Throughout October, BikeAthens is Earth Fare's "Friend of the Month." Any time you shop at Earth Fare and use your own bag, BikeAthens receives a donation.

Only a few days left, so go forth, buy organic free range turkey and bulk veg chili mix, and be sure to bring your own bag.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Athens Transit Services news

I attended the Citizens Advisory Committee for Athens Transit this past Monday and learned about a slew of technological improvements to transit service that should be up and running very soon (if they aren't already). Enhancements include:

1. Computer-aided dispatch systems

2. Buses and the Multi-Modal Transit Center are outfitted with scrolling digital signs. Signs on buses indicate the time and the next approaching stop. These are augmented by audio announcements, which kick in ~100' from major stops (e.g. Prince Ave @ Milledge Ave). The signage at MMTC will display real-time ETAs on buses at the arrival bays.

3. A web-based system will soon be available, allowing ATS staff & riders to see the location & ETA of their bus as it travels its route. The combination of this feature with item 1 will result in much more timely bus arrival at route stops.

4. In partnership with BikeAthens, ATS will also be online with Google Transit, joining a handful of cities utilizing this extremely useful trip-planning application. ATS predicts that this will go live within six weeks.

Exciting developments! Stay tuned...I'll post updates on this as it becomes available.

Tabling at the Loretta Cleveland Festival

Watch a short slide show from our bike repair & informational booth at the October 13th East Athens Loretta Cleveland Festival:

Support BikeAthens through UGA Campaign for Charities

UGA's annual Campaign for Charities provides an easy and convenient
opportunity to help BikeAthens continue it's ongoing efforts to make
walking, cycling, and transit safer and and more convenient in Athens Clarke

As a Georgia Shares member organization, a monthly payroll donation to
BikeAthens can be entered on the Campaign for Charities form that has
recently been distributed to UGA employees.

BikeAthens is organization number 194064, listed under Georgia Shares, in
the second column (about 7 inches down) in the State Charitable
Contributions brochure that was mailed with the information packet.

Even a small donation is very helpful, and very much appreciated.

To learn more about Georgia Shares and its member organizations, see

A new way to keep you informed

Hi, BikeAthens friends and supporters.
We're establishing this blog to keep you abreast of transportation news and happenings in Athens and the region.

We'll link to relevant news stories, post pictures of BikeAthens events, comment on transportation issues in our fair Classic City, and fill you in on the latest BikeAthens happenings.

If you use an RSS reader, you can subscribe to this blog via the "Subscribe to Posts" link below.

Stay tuned, and thanks, as always, for supporting transportation choices!