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.

Friday, March 28, 2008

GREAT News! T-SPLOST passes!

Link to General Assembly page for Senate Resolution 845 (includes full text, current status, etc.)
Excellent tidings from today's Banner-Herald:

Casting traffic congestion as a family-values issue, the state House of Representatives voted Thursday to give local governments the option of levying a 1 percent sales-tax hike to fund regional transportation projects.

The proposed constitutional amendment passed 136-35, easily earning the needed two-thirds majority.

Voters still must approve the measure in November. The House plan also must be reconciled with a version that passed the Senate.

Full article via link above.

BikeAthens has been pushing for some form of this type of tax for years now, so this news comes as a happy surprise. We will review the text of the House bill and post commentary on it soon.

In the meantime, thanks to Rep. Heard, Sen. Cowsert, and all who have lent their support to this long overdue legislation. Paired with sustained general support, these types of locally controlled TSPLOSTs will allow us to greatly expand our transit services.

Expanded transit means more opportunities for more people, cleaner air, and, potentially, a community-wide reduction in petroleum use as more people utilize transit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Report on Rail-Trail Work Day (Saturday March 22)

An amazing effort by approximately 20 volunteers resulted in a clearing of vines and invasive species from at least half of the historic Georgia Railroad wooden trestle in Dudley Park. Many thanks to all who turned out, including Janice Denny and Mike Wharton of ACC Leisure Services, Rail-Trail Committee Chair and District 6 Commissioner Carl Jordan and several of his R-T Committee members, and a number of Oconee Rivers Greenway Commissioners. Among the many other illustrious volunteers, we can't fail to mention Joe Kmiec, who operates a unique branch office of his computer business out of his bike on the Greenway (but doesn't pay any real estate, sales, or special use taxes for the privilege). And special kudos to the Mayor of Snellville, who came out to work and brought bottled water for all of the volunteers! Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer also happens to be the managing engineer for the Athens office of O'Brien and Gere, the contractors for the R/T project, and is extremely enthusiastic about the project that will soon, finally, get off the ground.


Upcoming Rail-Trail Work Day #2 (Saturday April 12):

If you missed Saturday but would still like to pitch in, mark your calendars for the morning of Saturday April 12 to clear vines from the remaining half of the trestle. Bring work gloves and meet us near the pedestrian bridge that crosses Trail Creek (just under the wooden trestle) in Dudley Park. Closest parking is in the ACC lot off of Poplar Street, where you can compete for a space with diners at Mama's Boy (bring your lunch money!). 9:00 a.m - noon. ACC will provide the tools.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Let's keep this trend going

From the American Public Transit Association:

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced today that Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation in 2007, the highest level in 50 years, representing a 2.1% increase over the previous year.

“In light of high gas prices, increased road congestion, and expanded public transit services, this continued growth in ridership demonstrates how important public transportation is for America,” said APTA president William W. Millar. “Now with gas prices predicted to rise to $4 a gallon, there is a greater urgency for higher federal funding to expand U.S. public transportation systems so Americans have an affordable transportation choice.

“In addition, public transportation is a key part of the solution to decreasing greenhouse gases and meeting our national goal of energy independence,” concluded Millar. “When more people ride public transportation, there are more reductions in carbon emissions and our country is less dependent on foreign oil.”

Twilight: Just a month away...

The 29th Annual Twilight Criterium is just a month away!

BikeAthens will be setting up a table in the Expo area on College Ave. We are asking for volunteers, both to man the table and to help with the race itself. Twilight organizers tell us that they still need marshals for the race.
Marshals control the flow of pedestrian traffic from the outer fence to the center of the course during the race. Everyone who volunteers to be a race marshal will receive lunch, a Twilight tee, and they will have a great view of the race guaranteed.

Contact Ashley Forgay (aforgay(at) ) if you are interested in serving as a race marshal, and contact me (brent.buice(at) if you would like to help with the BikeAthens table.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Help pass critical transportation funding bill

From our friends at Citizens for Progressive Transit:

The House of Representatives must pass Senate Resolution 845 SOON or our

opportunity to pass a transportation funding bill this year may be lost.

Georgia desperately needs funding for the construction, operation and

maintenance of mass transit, including rail systems. SR 845 would provide

regions with the opportunity to vote on a special local sales tax or T-SPLOST

to fund local and regional transportation projects, including mass transit.
Tell House members to pass SR 845.

While the bill is not perfect, it must pass the House to get to conference

committee where a strong bill for transit funding can be finalized. In conference

committee, the bill needs to allow funds to be raised for "operations" of transit

projects, not just construction and maintenance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rail-Trail Work Day

Saturday March 22
9:00 - 12:00
Meet at Historic Wooden Trestle, Dudley Park
The engineering firm of O'Brien & Gere, contracted by ACC to guide the Rail-Trail committee through project design and construction, has suggested that it would be a good idea to "stabilize" the historic wooden trestle in Dudley Park by getting rid of vines that are beginning to overtake it.
So from 9:00 - 12:00 Saturday morning, volunteers will be gathering at the foot of the trestle in Dudley Park to help with this task. The ACC Rail-Trail Committee and ACC Leisure Services would appreciate your help. Please come prepared with a pair of work gloves. You can bring tools if you wish, but ACC will also have tools on hand to loan out.
Parking for the event is available in the Chicopee lot off Broad Street (across from the Chicopee Building), or in the Dudley Park lot on Poplar Street (behind Mama's Boy restaurant).
Upcoming in April - Look ahead to a public meeting sometime in April to view and comment on concept plans for the Rail-Trail!

Friday, March 7, 2008

News for the "M" in MACORTS

From, which covers the surrounding counties:
A regional transportation study recommends over $42 million worth of Madison County road improvement projects by 2030. But how many of those plans included on the long-term regional transportation study will become reality has yet to be determined.
Sherry Moore, transportation planner for Athens-Clarke County, said an annual transportation improvement plan update will indicate which county roads targeted by the Madison-Athens-Clarke County-Oconee Region Transportation Study (MACORTS) have the best chance for the recommended upgrades the soonest.
For the full story, click the link above.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Transportation news from Flagpole

Lots of useful news for BikeAthens supporters in this week's Flagpole.

More on the potential for 3-laning Cedar Shoals Drive and North Avenue:
County staffers are not making any recommendation “at this point” on whether to three-lane either street, traffic engineer Steve Decker says. “We are studying all the streets, taking regular traffic data… we don’t even plan to make a recommendation at the meeting; we want to hear what the people have to say,” he says. Without having traffic counts at hand, Decker guesses volumes on both streets to be under the 20,000 cars per day that is considered to be a practical maximum for three-lane streets.
Plus, discussion of GDOT's current budget crunch and new Director:
GDOT has sometimes frustrated local citizens and elected officials in picking which projects to fund, and typically favors expensive road-building and road-widening projects over cheaper sidewalk or bicycle facilities. Adding trees or crosswalks along a state- or federally-numbered road (like Prince or Milledge avenues) usually involves a tug-of-war with the agency, which sees roadside trees as a safety hazard and doesn’t like to see traffic slowed down along the routes that it maintains.
But ... constant local pressure on GDOT, from elected officials and county staffers, has helped to change the agency.
See the link above for both articles in their entirety.
Thanks to reporter John Huie and Flagpole for covering these issues!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

ABH: "Three-lane plans to be discussed"

From the Banner-Herald:

The county Transportation and Public Works Department has scheduled a public hearing later this month to talk about repaving Cedar Shoals Drive and North Avenue. Part of the discussion will focus on whether to change those roads' configurations to three lanes.

North Avenue, a commercial corridor that's the busier of the two, now is five lanes and probably less likely to change.

"We have growth going on in that area, which means we're bringing automobiles into the community," said Commissioner Harry Sims, who represents the area. "The way it's set up now, we can move people into Athens and move them out."

On Cedar Shoals Drive, a mix of homes and businesses where traffic is lighter, there may be more opportunity for improvement.

County government policy calls for commissioners to consider whether to restripe wide roads to three lanes - two travel lanes, a center turn lane and often bicycle lanes and sidewalks - whenever those roads are repaved, usually about once a decade. Traffic experts say three-lane roads usually are safer than four lanes because they prevent accidents while cars are turning left, but in some cases, drivers complain about bottlenecks.

For anyone who wasn't around for the tragic Prince debacle, this 3-laning discussion will prompt some unfortunate ugliness. Restriping has worked beautifully on Baxter and Lumpkin, making both roads much safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars.