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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Rummage Sale a Success!

Yesterday's Bike & Rummage Sale was a huge success!

Thanks to all who volunteered and to all who supported our work through your purchases. We hope you enjoy your bikes & accessories!

Slide show below:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Map my Ride

Here's a nice online service, MapMyRide.com, which lets you "Draw your rides, calculate mileage, count calories, share with friends, and much more!"

Thanks to Charlie for the heads up.

Rummage Sale Reminder

Come by the BRP shop this Sunday, from 10-4:30 to check out our Recycled Bike & Rummage Sale.
We have a wide selection of bike parts, accessories, scooters, skate board accessories, and more.
Plus, we've got a great selection of fully refurbished commuter bicycles. See the bikes for sale here:

BRP_Bikes for sale

Another hit-and-run

News on yet another pedestrian hit by a car that fled the accident:
A 15-year-old East Athens girl remained hospitalized Thursday, a day after she became the third pedestrian run down by a hit-and-run driver this month in Clarke County.
May this young woman recover quickly from her injuries.

What the hell is going on out there?!

Drivers: you are not the only users of the streets and roads. Watch for pedestrians and cyclists, slow down, and, for the love of God, don't drink & drive.

Cyclists & pedestrians: Stay visible and vigilant- be careful out there.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cyclist run down by robbers

ABH reports on a harrowing robbery attempt in northwest Athens:

A bicyclist was injured in northwestern Clarke County Tuesday night, when a car ran him down, then two men and a teen in the car tried to rob him, Athens-Clarke police said.

The man ran away on Old Jefferson Road, and the would-be robbers sped off.

They were arrested soon after when officers stopped their car near Whitehead and Tallassee roads, according to police.

Thankfully, the victim was not seriously injured.
The same cannot be said, sadly, for many other Athenians in the past month.

Perdue supporting light rail..?!

Very surprising, and exciting, news from the AJC's Business Insider blog:

After six years of inaction on transit, Gov. Sonny Perdue surprised the state when he pledged his full support for a pilot commuter rail line from Atlanta to Lovejoy and Griffin, as well as for a substantial increase in the state’s X-Press bus program.

So what happened? Why did the governor do a complete 180 and decide to take a leadership role on an issue that has been driving some people crazy?

That issue is traffic. That issue is a lack of state funding for transit. That issue is the limited options people have to get around in our region and state other than in a car.

Those are not new issues. Leaders in metro Atlanta have been pushing for transportation solutions, including commuter rail, for decades.

Until now, no amount of begging or pleading seemed to get Gov. Perdue’s attention, much less his leadership.

Yet, last Thursday, there was the governor holding a news conference with all the transportation players in his office, speaking words that regional and state leaders have wanted to hear throughout his administration.

“Let’s move out aggressively,” Perdue said. “Once I’ve made up my mind, I’m usually impatient.”

...

There are stories of key events that helped change the mindset of the governor and other state leaders.

In January, GDOT board members and other state transportation folks took a trip to Chicago, Boston and New York to see commuter rail in action.

On that trip, [DOT board member] Kulke told fellow board member Robert Brown: “We are 100 years behind.”

Ye gods!
Shocking tales of delayed recognition!

I hope this turnaround is sincere and will translate into the rapid development of light rail in our state, with a line from Athens to Atlanta (the "Brain Train") high on the list of projects to finish first. We've already made significant progress to be ready for this. The Multi-Modal Center was sited with a commuter rail line in mind.

Keep your fingers crossed and the pressure on!

Here's information on our state representative and senator to help with that pressure bit.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rummage & Bike sale!

To raise funds for our Bike Recycling Program, we are hosting a Rummage & Bike Sale on Sunday, June 29th, from 10-4:30 at the BRP shop.

All bikes will be sold "as is" for $150 each (or best offer). A slideshow of the available bikes is below:



We hope to see you on the 29th!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dealing with gas prices




From the Chicago Tribune.

Thanks to Clint for sharing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another fatal accident

The ABH reports on another fatal hit-and-run that occurred on Saturday on Commerce Rd.

Police are searching for the driver of a vehicle who fled the scene after fatally striking a woman Saturday night as she walked on the northbound shoulder of Commerce Road with her 3-year-old son.

Nayaskeika Cooper, 19, was only 200 feet from her driveway, just south of Pinefield Way, when the driver of the unknown vehicle struck her on her left side about 9:10 p.m. and knocked her into a ditch, Athens-Clarke police said.
It's so senseless. How can someone blithely strike a human being with an automobile and continue driving along? Why are we forcing people to walk on a "shoulder" instead of a safe and accessible sidewalk?
Words fail.

Our thoughts & prayers are with Ms. Cooper's son and her family.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Time lapse video of BRP

BRP volunteer Ben Jones shot & produced this time lapse video of last night's work session:

video

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Barnett Shoals Rd tragedy

I'm sure most of you are aware of this terrible, tragic news.

The Board members of BikeAthens extend our sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of Gedera Thomas.

We also express our deep thanks to the anonymous tipster and to the Athens-Clarke police Traffic Division.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bike Recycling in high gear

Thanks to a crack team of dedicated volunteers, our Bike Recycling Program is churning out bicycles for social services at a breakneck pace.

To keep us moving along & helping our neighbors, we could use the following donations:
  • Cash, for our shop rent and safety accessories (each distributed bike is equipped with a new helmet, lock, and light set, which we purchase wholesale). Donate online!
  • Bikes! All styles and conditions accepted! If we can't refurbish the bike, we'll strip it of useful parts and recycle the rest.
  • Shop supplies: paper towels, rags, Tri-flow, WD-40, sharpies, and zip ties always needed!
  • Fans: the shop is not air conditioned, so it's getting mighty toasty in there. A couple more fans would be most welcome.
  • Bottled water: see above
  • Time: come volunteer with us!
To see the shop in action, check out this slideshow of yesterday's session:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Good news for transit & Cedar Shoals Rd

Some good news for a change...

The commission voted last night to slightly increase the property tax. Some of the revenue generated will be used to increase transit service to the eastside and Atlanta Hwy ($190K).

Also during the meeting, the Commission voted to convert Cedar Shoals Rd to 3 traffic lanes with a center turn lane. With the remaining space on the sides of the road, bicycle lanes will be striped.
Aside from adding safe and equitable bicycle infrastructure, the reconfiguration, slated to occur this summer, will prevent "some of the 54 collisions a year on Cedar Shoals Drive," and "traffic will continue to flow smoothly with three lanes," according to traffic engineering studies.

Details on the meeting and votes available via the ABH here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ABH: "Perdue delays fuel tax increase"

The Banner-Herald reports that Gov. Purdue signed an executive order yesterday freezing the scheduled 2.9 cent gasoline tax increase.

This move is wrongheaded for a number of reasons:
1. The maintenance of the current tax rate is "expected to save drivers an average of about 50 cents per fill up." 50 whole cents!
2. This freeze is an attempt to get cars on the roads this summer for vacation spending, but "any attempt to fix the fuel crunch by tweaking gas taxes is not going put people back on the road or inspire them to take road trips - it's just going to take money away from needed highway maintenance, [AAA spokesman Randy] Bly said."
3. The fact that the motivation for all this pandering is to inspire people to take road trips is backwards. We have non-attainment status in the metro Atlanta area due to car-based air pollution. We have a very real and undeniably imminent climate change disaster on the horizon. We have a public health epidemic of inactivity and obesity. We have an ugly, car-dominant physical environment that disenfranchises citizens who cannot afford to own, operate, maintain, and fuel an automobile. We have a consumption-based economy that produces very little of value beyond sweltering fast food drive thrus and poorly constructed McMansions set in cul-de-sacs miles from any place. The last thing we need to encourage is recreational driving.

"It's just a bigger problem than can be fixed by adjusting the gas tax."
Your got that right. Let's keep the tax increase, but devote it entirely to:
  1. expanding our state's pathetic public transit infrastructure, especially regional light rail, and
  2. supporting pedestrian & bicycle infrastructure wherever feasible
These are the solutions that will create jobs, beautify our state, protect our air quality, provide options to the less affluent, contribute to decreasing climate changing pollutants, and demonstrate that our state and local leaders are serious about tackling serious problems.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Higher gas prices lead to cycling

According to a piece in last Sunday's ABH, bike shops, including those in Athens, are in the rare pool of businesses benefiting from higher gasoline prices.
While nobody is happy about the soaring prices, the indirect consequence of more attention being paid to transportation options is an undeniably positive development.

"One of the first comments people make is, 'I gotta bring [my old bicycle] out because gas is killing me,' " Davis said.

Sales of commuter bicycles - more upright bikes made for carrying a load down the road - and assorted accessories are increasing at [Athens area bike] shops.

Ever since gas started creeping toward the $4 barrier, and especially in the past two months, [Hub Bikes owner Brian] Molloy said, his store can't seem to keep its shelves stocked with commuter-friendly cycling accessories - rear racks, fenders, pannier bags, lights.

That shift in sales means the shops aren't moving as many recreational bikes as before. However, the cycling business may be one of only a few that weather the gas crunch well, Molloy said.

"Most people used to come in and say, 'I want a bike for fun.' Now people are coming in and saying, 'I want a bike to ride to work,' or, 'I want to buy a bike to get my groceries,' " Molloy said.

But making the switch from gas pedals to bike pedals isn't easy for some people.

"People are still so afraid of being on the roads around here because we have a small amount of alternative transportation routes around town," he said. "But people are willing to take the risk a little more now because of where their gas prices are at."

It's a shame that we don't have an interconnected network of safe & convenient bike lanes and off-road paths to accommodate these new riders (and long-time commuters!). This has been BikeAthens' argument for over ten years!

Now that it's almost necessary to have alternatives to private automobile use, we're going to have to scramble to put the appropriate infrastructure in place. Strides in the right direction have been made (Lumpkin, expanded transit service, etc.), but we're still a far sight from where we should be.

Here's hoping the Mayor, Commission, and local planners re-double their efforts to incorporate transit, pedestrian, and bicycle infrastructure wherever and whenever possible. Here's also hoping that more Athenians opt for less petro-intensive transportation and support their neighbors in doing the same (see the comments under the ABH article linked above for some hilariously scary expressions of spittle-spewing hatred for bicycles. "Cock-roach heads." Seriously.)

Also mentioned in the article was last Saturday's enjoyable and informative group ride along the Greenway. Thanks to John Devine & Mark Ebell for the excellent presentations and the good excuse to pedal down the Greenway. Pictures of the event below: