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, 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.