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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Residential streets may require parking passes

ABH reports:

Athens residents who live near the University of Georgia campus more and more are turning to government-issued parking permits to keep away outsiders who use their narrow streets for free parking.

The Athens-Clarke Commission is expected to approve requests next Tuesday from residents who live on five Midtown side streets to add those streets to the county's parking permit program.

Once approved, those residents will receive hang tags allowing them to park on the street. If others, mostly UGA students and employees looking to dodge campus parking fees, park there between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, they can be ticketed or their cars can be towed.

Full story.

Monday, July 28, 2008

2008 Bike Ride for Youth

An event announcement from our friends at the Boys & Girls Club:
Dear Cyclists and Suppporters,
The Boys & Girls Club would like to remind you of a great service opportunity for your club: the 2008 Bike Ride for Youth on August 23. We urge you and your members to register and participate in this event, which will raise needed funds for educational and recreational programs at our Athens facilities.

All information including registration forms, pledge forms and race routes may be found online at, and pledge books are now available at the Oconee Street Boys & Girls Club office. (706-549-7017)

For more information, please contact Resource Development Director Sterling Gardner at 706-254-3089 or

Thank you for your help!
Laura Floyd
Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens

BikeAthens job posting

BikeAthens is looking for a part-time administrator to help us with operational and business tasks.
10 - 12 hours per week initially with potential for expansion.
Position open until filled. Details available at:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Way off topic

This is not Athens-related news at all, but it certainly confirms (as if there were any doubt) that Bob Novak is a jerk.

Way to be, anonymous bike messenger!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Corridor study , MACORTS and BikeAthens

Flagpole reports the following:

With county planning staffers pleading they have a full plate already, Athens-Clarke County Commissioners backed away last week from broadening a county “corridor management” study to include detailed design specs for crosswalks and bike lanes, and perhaps policies on signs, speed limits, overhead utility wires and bus access. But county staff and Planning Director Brad Griffin insisted the $42,000, consultant-produced study was never intended to be a design manual.

The slick 35-page study suggests a dozen categories for county streets: “urban institutional” streets like Lumpkin, for example, should have street trees, patterned crosswalks and landscaped “pedestrian refuge islands” at midblock crosswalks, it suggests. “Suburban commercial” streets (like Barnett Shoals Road) should have wide sidewalks separated from the road by a grass strip, and driveway entrances should be limited to one per business, it recommends.


Commissioners had bounced the study back to staffers for further work, but planning director Griffin told them last week he would need “a rather extensive timeline” and perhaps an outside consultant to revisit the study. That won’t happen soon; instead, Commissioners appear likely to approve the present study - now over a year old - as the basis for the future “complete streets” study they’d rather see. (“Complete streets” refers to street designs that accommodate all users, not just drivers.)

Other upcoming discussions may include updating the county’s Bicycle Master Plan (which designates plans for bike lanes) and whether to replace the planning commission (perhaps by BikeAthens, which has requested it) as the citizens’ voice on the MACORTS board. (MACORTS is the multi-county board that requests local transportation projects from the state DOT.)

We've long argued that we deserve a place at the table for discussions regarding transportation planning in Athens. Every recommendation BikeAthens has ever made (expanding transit service, installing more cross- and sidewalks, slowing traffic, and developing a connected network of bike facilities) would increase the safety and accessibility of Athens' transportation system. We look forward to a supportive vote and participating on the MACORTS board!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Greenway progress

ABH reports on some tangible progress toward the creation of a county-wide greenway network.
Thanks to the purchase of 7 acres near Atlanta Hwy, a tract named
the Rowland Natural Area and Preserve will become the keystone for a new greenway stretching from Ben Burton Park off Mitchell Bridge Road to the shops and restaurants in the Beechwood neighborhood.

"It's hugely significant, because that's your entry point," county Commissioner Carl Jordan said. "It's your gateway."

The tract probably would have been developed as apartments if the county had not stepped in to buy it, county Natural Resources Administrator Mike Wharton said.

Now, it will serve as a buffer between the river and surrounding developments, a green gateway for visitors entering Athens and one of the bookends to a new trail to allow westside residents to walk or bike while avoiding the car traffic along the city's busiest road.

Well played, Clarke county!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Promoting alt-trans to incoming UGA students

Athens Living, a magazine-sized guide to Athens for new students distributed by The Red & Black, features a nice story on the benefits and growing popularity of biking and choosing other ways to get around campus. Thanks to R&B for the BikeAthens shout-out!

The magazine is not available online, unfortunately. JPEGs of the 2-page story below or here and here:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Tour de Farm" ride!

An announcement from our friends at PLACE:

Mini-Athens Tour de Farm
Farm to Fork Ride. Ride will be led by Justin Ellis.

Must pre-register by emailing

First come, first serve. Maximum 20 participants. Cost $10/person.
7/19, 8am-12pm.

Participants will ride from the Athens Farmers' Market at Bishop Park to Woodland Gardens in
Winterville to Mama's Boy for lunch. Part of the Taste Your Place event.

Craig Page
Executive Director, PLACE

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Athens Transit gives it away

Tomorrow, you can ride Athens Transit for free!

Give it a try. The buses are well air conditioned and comfortable, and you'll be surprised how convenient it can be with a little planning. You can check out where your bus is in real time here.

As more people use transit, more funding will be dedicated for it, fueling a positive feedback loop of enhanced transit service and convenience.

Thanks to Athens Transit for this generous offer!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Athens reels 'em in

According to new population estimates out of the U.S. Census Bureau, Athens "is the second fastest-growing city of more than 75,000 in the state," adding nearly 12,500 residents to the incorporated metro area since 2000.

The growth in Athens and Atlanta reflects a national trend, said Jeff Dufresne, executive director of Atlanta's Urban Land Institute. Atlanta and many other central cities lost population from the 1960s up to the 1990s, but now people are moving back to avoid traffic hassles, and to be closer to jobs and urban amenities, he said.

But "Athens has done a lot of good things in the last 25 years," Dufresne said, citing bike paths and National Trust for Historic Preservation revitalization programs.

Watkinsville, too, has seen some astronomical growth in this same period:

Though Athens' growth is impressive compared to other large Georgia cities, the city's population increase pales in comparison to growth in many smaller towns in Northeast Georgia.

In fast-growing Jackson County, Braselton (which also straddles Hall, Barrow and Gwinnett counties) more than doubled and Watkinsville grew by nearly 35 percent, according to the estimates.

[Watkinsville Mayor Jim] Luken said two major factors driving the town's growth are the Oconee County school system and quality of life.

"You can walk to downtown like they did 100 years ago" from many parts of town, Luken said.

Full story from the ABH here.

With more people coming to enjoy Athens' many amenities, and oil definitively on its way out as our means for powering society, we ought to carefully consider and manage our future growth and transportation infrastructure. We need transportation choices, networking a localized economy that does not rely on the whims & chance of increasingly volatile energy markets.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Suffering suburbs

This article from the US Daily describes the nationwide trend pushing people away from car-based suburbia and toward walkable, bike-friendly, and transit-oriented developments.

The iconic white picket fence [of suburbia] comes with a hefty price tag in the form of the cost of the gasoline needed to drive to work and to the supermarket, and the suburban idyll is under review.

Tracy McKelvey and his wife Jan lived in a ... suburb and used to commute two hours each day to their jobs in Phoenix. But, a few years ago, they traded in their three-bedroom, two-garage house in the Phoenix valley for a downtown loft.

Both McKelveys now travel to work by scooter and enjoy restaurants, cafes, sports arenas and shops within walking distance of home, taking advantage of the $2.3 billion that the country's fifth-largest city is spending to build housing, a university campus and a mass transit rail system.

"We save money on gas. It's a good feeling. I haven't sat in a traffic jam for years," Tracy McKelvey said.


"These are not the cyclical changes that recessions cause every few years. These are game-changing structural changes," [University of Michigan real estate development professor Christopher] Leinberger said. "The market is demanding walkable urban product."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Heads Up: "CycleAthens"

A new online community has formed for Athens area cyclists: CycleAthens is on Google Groups.
According to the home page, this online forum is for:
  • Info on bicycle racing
  • Routes within Athens and surrounding areas
  • Club information
  • Special cycling events
  • Requests for information by prospective visiting cyclists
  • Bicycle Commuter Information
  • Advocacy Information
  • Posting for sale or trade notices
  • Posting impromptu rides
  • Major tour announcements
  • Anything cycling related

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The dinosaur days

Part II in a long Telegraph series on America & China discusses Detroit, cars, suburbia, and these "dinosaur days" of all three.


Mass production...soon moved from [Detroit] to all places of American industry 'and set the pattern of abundance for 20th-century living'.

It is a wonderfully evocative phrase that stops you in your tracks - the pattern of abundance for 20th-century living. From here came the principles of mass production that provided the goods that fuelled the consumer society; from here, the automobile that begat the roads and the freeways that carried people and goods from sea - as America the Beautiful has it - to shining sea, and then to the world beyond.


Driving around Detroit one was forcefully struck by how the city had been irrevocably shaped - and continued to be shaped - by the car.

Detroit has the second largest amount of freeway lane miles of any metropolitan area in America, after Kansas City. And it is the only city in America without a rapid transport system - the legacy of years of resistance by the powerful lobby of the car industry that dictated that workers should drive their own products rather than taking public transport.

One of the city's most astonishing architectural relics is the Michigan Central Station, a towering, beaux-arts structure built in 1913. The last train pulled out in 1988. But like many of Detroit's great ruins it had proved too expensive to renovate, too expensive to demolish, and so had been left to stand, an enduring testament to the city's decline, and a reproof to its plans for regeneration.


Ford's greatest legacy was the car and all that grew from it. As Christopher Leinberger, a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan, points out, the nature of the American dream has always been driven by the underlying economy of the age. In 1800, at the time of the first census, more than 90 per cent of Americans were engaged in agriculture. 'The American dream at that point could be summarised by the Civil War expression "40 acres and a mule". In the post-war era, one-third of the American economy was related directly, or indirectly, to the building of automobiles - steel, cars, roads, petroleum, insurance. There was an expression that GM used "See the USA in your Chevrolet" - so as you travelled the roads of America in your car you were making yourself and the country wealthier'.

The car become synonymous with America's most cherished ideal - freedom: the freedom to go, to move, to be wherever you chose.

Full story here.