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.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Twilight pics

We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In the U.S., stats show less driving, more transit use

Reuters discusses the decline in American automobile dependence and the concurrent rise in public transportation ridership.
"[It's] as if people... started a new travel behavior, a new habit. And they have stuck with their habit."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bike to Work Day

Pictures from this morning's Bike to Work Day event here.

Thanks to all the sponsors, organizers & participants!

UPDATE: See the Banner-Herald's coverage of the event.

Bike auction: sweet 70's Jeunet

BikeAthens is auctioning this bicycle during Twilight weekend. It's a 70's Jeunet (Franche-Compte). This is the 630 model which is reynolds double butted steel. The frame is 60cm (center of BB to top of seat tube).

Stop by our tent on College Ave, in front of Walker's Pub, to see the bike and make your bid. You may also bid by emailing your full name, telephone, email, and bid amount, to bicyclerecycling[at]

Minimum bid is $200.

We will stop taking bids at 3 pm on Sunday, 4/26.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twilight, intra-city light rail

Flagpole features an edifying history of the Twilight Criterium - this weekend's race is the 30th for this annual event!

Full event details & schedule here.

Be sure to visit our tent in the College Ave expo area!

Also in this week's issue, columnist Kevan Williams explores the viability of intra-city rail for Athens, as opposed to the long-postponed inter-city "Brain Train" from Athens to Atlanta. Definitely an intriguing idea!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Public meeting: Oak Street/Oconee Street and the Prince Avenue Corridor

A community-wide public meeting regarding the Oak Street/Oconee Street and the Prince
Avenue Corridor Studies will take place on Thursday, April 30 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the
Planning Department Auditorium:

View Larger Map

The Mayor and Commission of Athens-Clarke County have requested that the Planning
Department evaluate the existing conditions along Prince Avenue and Oak Street/Oconee
Street. Based on what is discovered, recommendations will be prepared regarding the future
of these corridors. These recommendations can include changes or additions to public
policies and development regulations designed to improve, enhance, alter and/or conserve
the future quality of these corridors.

The primary focus of this project is on land use and design outside of the right-of-way, with a
secondary focus on right-of-way improvements as they relate to the land use and design

Planning Staff will give a short presentation at the beginning of the meeting and then again
at 6:30. Public comment on the future of these corridors will be welcomed and is

The Oak/Oconee Street study area boundary includes an area on either side of the corridor
from the intersection with Broad Street, east to the intersection with the Athens Perimeter.

The Prince Avenue study area includes an area on either side of the corridor from the
intersection of West Dougherty Street with North Hull Street, west to the intersection of Prince
Avenue with the Athens Perimeter.

For more information, contact the Planning Department at 706-613-3515, or visit our website

MACORTS surveying interest in rural bus routes

MACORTS, our regional transportation planning body, is conducting a survey to measure interest in running public transit to Madison & Oconee counties.
Officials said any rural transit system likely would consist of smaller vans that would, for example, ferry elderly residents from home to the doctor and back.

There are no plans to expand Athens-Clarke bus service into outlying counties, Athens Transit Director Butch McDuffie said, but he does get requests from carless commuters in small towns like Winder, Danielsville, Watkinsville and Lexington for some form of public transit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This Friday: Bike to Work Day

Join other riders from your neighborhood to try out or show support for bike commuting.

Group rides will converge on College Square (College Ave. between Clayton and Broad) at 8:00 am for refreshments and speakers.

UGA Bike Planning Workshop

If you cycle to, on, or around the UGA campus, you are invited to a ...

UGA Bike Planning Workshop

When: Monday 27, 2009, drop in between 4:00 - 5:30 PM

Where: Jittery Joe's Roasting Co. (780 E. Broad St. Athens, GA)

Why: The Office of University Architects is working with a graduate student in Community and Regional Planning to develop a Bicycle Plan for UGA. The intent of this workshop is to verify existing conditions; identify areas of concern for cyclists; and document ideas for improving bike facilities to, from and within the UGA campus. Feedback from the workshop will provide a basis for planning and design. The result of this study will be a refined bicycle plan for campus with recommended steps toward implementation.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Multi-Modal Madness a huge success!

Many thanks to all of our volunteers, sponsors, and participants for making this inaugural event a great success! We will definitely be doing this one again.

See the Banner-Herald's recap, and view some pics from the event below:

Friday, April 17, 2009

National rail plan includes GA

"President Barack Obama announced plans Thursday for a national high-speed rail network that would include lines crisscrossing North and South Georgia connected through a hub in Atlanta."

Full story.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Now Hiring: part-time Administrator

BikeAthens is now accepting applications for our part-time Administrator position. We are looking for someone who can give us at least a 1-year commitment and who has experience with database management, membership recruitment, event organization, and fund development.

See the full job description.

To apply, email your resume' and a cover letter to chair[at]

Anti-public services mobs ride public transit


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tying it all together

Tom Crawford, author of the "Capitol Impact" column run in Flagpole, provides an excellent summary of - and insightful predictions based on - the dramatic reorganization of transportation planning in Georgia:

SB 200 will drastically revamp the Department of Transportation, shifting much of the power over the agency’s $2 billion yearly budget to the governor and, to a lesser extent, the legislators. The office of governor, already one of the strongest in the country, becomes that much more powerful with the ability to control which highways get built and which do not.

“Mark my words,” said Rep. Alan Powell (D-Hartwell), a longtime House member. “It may take three years; it may take six months, but we just changed the face of politics in Georgia.”


Perdue’s ultimate goal in getting SB 200 adopted may be to facilitate the awarding of major contracts to private companies that want to take over the construction and management of public highways in Georgia. One of the world’s leading private developers of toll roads is Cintra, an international conglomerate based in Spain. Cintra has built and operated such major American highways as the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road.

When Perdue flew to Spain last September with a contingent of business leaders - at the same time that Georgia motorists were struggling to cope with a severe gasoline shortage - one of the companies he met with was Cintra. That could be the ultimate legacy of SB 200 - Georgians paying high tolls to drive on highways owned by a European conglomerate. You heard it here first.

Bike commuting & tax benefits

This NYT article discusses the federal stimulus bill's provision offering a monthly tax benefit of $20 for bicycle commuters.

Accor Services USA, one of the nation’s larger administrators of commuter tax-free benefits, began offering a bicycle commuter check to employers only last month, said Jeremy Doak, a marketing manager with Accor. But interest in the program was high. Mr. Doak estimated that an average of 100 businesses per month since the law was passed had asked about offering the credit to their employees.

So far, the company has set up accounts only with smaller companies, those with fewer than 50 employees. And a majority of those that have actually ordered credits, perhaps not surprisingly, come from the West Coast, primarily from the San Francisco Bay area. Mr. Doak noted that the company had orders from Illinois and Massachusetts as well.

For more information, look at Commuter Check, and definitely talk to your workplace about offering this tax incentive!

I've already written UGA administrators about this. I'll pass along the response I receive.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Saturday: Multi-Modal Madness!

Register Online Now!

...or use the mail-in form

Quick! How would you get from downtown to south campus, then to the east side and on to Normaltown, as quickly as possible without using a car,a moped, or taxi?

Multi-Modal Madness is your chance to find out.

In the MMM challenge, teams will try to reach as many checkpoints as possible in three hours- no private combustion engines allowed! Checkpoints will feature trivia and transportation-related challenges. Teams will accumulate points by completing challenges, correctly answering trivia, and reaching more checkpoints than other teams.

On the day of the event, each team will receive a packet, that will include a BikeAthens Bike Map, Athens Transit's Saturday bus schedules, and a list of checkpoints where teams can earn points by completing challenges. Teams will try to complete as many challenges as possible before returning to the event HQ by 3:00 pm.

Prizes available from The Hub and Athens Downtown Development Association!

Registration forms are now being accepted- register online today to ensure your team's participation. We will also accept hard copy registrations the morning of the event, but space is limited.

Email chair[at] to express your interest in helping to make this happen, come to one of our weekly meetings at Trappeze Pub (5:30 pm, Tuesdays), or join the planning team list-serv.

MMM is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2009

Event schedule

11am: Mandatory team arrival & check-in at the Jittery Joe's Roaster (we recommend arriving at 10:30am)

12 pm: Event begins

3 pm: Teams must return to Jittery Joe's Roaster

UGA-ACC land deal opens door for greenway expansion

From the Banner-Herald:
The University System Board of Regents today should approve the University of Georgia's decision to donate 1.35 acres of land off East Campus Road to the Athens-Clarke County government.

[R]iverside acreage [will] extend the North Oconee River Greenway from Oconee Hill Cemetery all the way south to College Station Road.

Athens-Clarke will get land along the North Oconee River to extend the North Oconee River Greenway from Oconee Hill Cemetery to College Station Road. The planned bridge will allow cyclists on the greenway to get to bike lanes on College Station Road.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A serious form of transportation

The Infrastructurist brings you "A Vehicle for the Times":

MACORTS hosting public transit feasibility meetings in Madison & Oconee counties


Public Transportation Feasibility Study

The Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) has contracted with Street Smarts to assess the need and evaluate the options available to provide public transportation service within the MACORTS region.

A public meeting will be conducted in both Madison County and in Oconee County to obtain public input on various service concepts for meeting public transportation needs in the community. The meetings will be held as follows:

Oconee County
Thursday, April 23 4:00 to 7:00 PM
Oconee Veterans Park Community Center
3500A Hog Mountain RoadWatkinsville, GA 30677

Madison County
Tuesday, April 28 4:00 to 7:00 PM
Madison County Government Complex
91 Albany AvenueDanielsville, GA 30633

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Athens gets green kudos

Athens has been named a "green destination of the week" by
The small college town of Athens, Ga., is thinking big when it comes to going green.
It's evident from the products sold in trendy shops, the food in local restaurants, and the pedestrian-friendly University of Georgia and vibrant downtown, just across Broad Street from campus.
The city pays special attention to its large community of cyclists, with dedicated bike lanes and a must-see cycling competition every spring, and has earned kudos for its transportation station, where city and university buses pick up students, residents and visitors.
It's also common to share the road with cyclists either commuting to work or school or preparing for competition, and the city hosts the annual Twilight Criterium each April. The professional cycling event culminates in an exhilarating Saturday night race through downtown streets. Groups such as BikeAthens and Athens Grow Green Coalition also work to promote alternative forms of transportation and to protect the town's environmental quality.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Park-n-ride gets go ahead

At their meeting last night, commissioners approved "plans for a federally-funded $2.2 million Athens Transit park-and-ride lot on Oconee Street near the Athens Perimeter."

View Larger Map

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reminder: BTWD 2009

Downtown parking

The Commission has decided to revise its downtown parking plans, keeping the higher expired meter fines but raising every meter to a 2-hour limit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


ABH wraps up the sorry tale of this recently adjourned legislative session.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Givin' us the ole one-two

For the second year in a row, T-SPLOST "legislation has failed on the last night of the session."

Meanwhile, a revised version of the GDOT overhaul bill passed and awaits Perdue's signature. The legislation undoubtedly gives the governor's office far more direct control over transportation planning and decision making.

Good ole boys, sprawl, congestion and lower air quality win this round. Georgia's decision makers are utterly committed to keeping the state last in serious-minded solutions to transportation issues, last in overall quality of life, and last in building a near-term future with any chance of survival.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Commuter rail at risk

Thanks to the persistent impasse at the capitol, commuter rail in Georgia may be at serious risk:

As state House and Senate teams slog through negotiations on transportation funding, more pressure is pouring on.

The state has had $87 million in federal funds sitting around to build commuter rail, but not much has happened. Now that money may be in serious jeopardy.

Gov. Sonny Perdue said last year that he would support building the line through Lovejoy as a pilot project. But when the economy crashed and he submitted his budget, the matching state funds for commuter rail weren’t in it.
The letter made waves in the office of Congressman David Scott. “This has been threatened before but this is real now,” said Scott’s chief of staff, Michael Andel.

UPDATE: A potential compromise has the Senate's regional plan in ascendance, but it might allow for 5% of taxes collected to head to the state.

Climate Ride 2009

Climate Ride Logo
**The 2nd Annual Brita Climate Ride invites you to pedal your way to a new energy future!**

More than two hundred cyclists will join together from September 26 - 30, 2009 to embark on a journey from New York City to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. We’ll be making a powerful statement about the need for renewable energy and climate change awareness throughout this beautiful 300-mile bicycle ride.

As a valued member of the green community, we invite you to participate in this historic event. Here are five good reasons why you’ll want to sign up:
  • Be Part of a Grassroots Effort – You’ll meet everyone from knowledgeable renewable energy experts, scientists and climate activists, to recent college graduates and everyday folks committed to making a difference.
  • Make an Important Statement – As you wind through the Delaware River Valley, Valley Forge, and Amish Country, your congressional representatives await your arrival at our nation’s Capitol. There, you’ll have the opportunity to voice your concerns and encourage action.
  • It’s a Climate Conference on Wheels – Hear informative talks each evening after a day of enthusiastic cycling through beautiful countryside. Discuss climate science, green technology, and solutions to the climate crisis while re-energizing for the next day’s ride.
  • The Time is Now – We’re at a climatic tipping point. With the upcoming COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, the 2009 Brita Climate Ride is more timely than ever.
  • It’s Fun! – This unforgettable, fully-supported event allows you the chance to unite with fellow cyclists while having the time of your life. Experienced leaders mind all the logistics, so you can strike up new friendships, network, and engage in stimulating conversation.
Are you ready to ride? Take five minutes to explore the Climate Ride website . We've posted photos and videos from the 2008 Ride that will entice and excite you – we guarantee it! Mark your calendar and register here. For a limited time, early registrants will receive a discounted sign-up fee of $60 (regularly $100) through May 1st. We have a number of fundraising prizes and incentives this year including an all-expense paid trip to the COP15 Conference in Denmark!

The Brita Climate Ride supports essential climate projects at two beneficiary organizations. Focus the Nation and Clean Air – Cool Planet . When you become a 2009 Climate Rider your fundraising effort (minimum $2,400) helps support their projects. In order to accommodate more riders, we’ve doubled the number of available openings to 250. They will fill up fast, so register today, and we'll see you there!

Austin, TX bike sharing program

Our big sister city is introducing a new bike-sharing program for city employees. Good idea!

Is this thing on?

No progress on TSPLOST. Drama continues:

Sen. Jeff Mullis, (R-Chickamauga) the lead negotiator, offered to use a penny from the four-cent gas tax to fund statewide road projects to the tune of $165 million annually. That was a concession to the House, which wants a statewide penny sales tax for transportation funding. The Senate prefers a regional approach.

But House negotiators, led by Rep. Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain) balked, arguing that money already had been promised for mass transit.

Mullis started speaking, calmly, at 3:38 p.m. By 3:50 p.m., an agitated Mullis was poking papers on the table and insisting the House was not hearing him. He leaned into his microphone and said sarcastically, “Is my mic on?”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tell Athens Transit what you want

Athens Transit is taking public comment on its Long Range Plan for transit service in Athens.

Story in this week's Flagpole.

"Fool's bill" passes by 1 vote

SB 200, the bill to dramatically overhaul Georgia's transportation oversight, passed thanks to House Speaker Glenn Richardson's last-minute vote.

From the AJC's Gold Dome Live political blog:

A bill that gives lawmakers direct control over how billions in tax dollars are spent on state transportation cleared the House today by the barest of margins after House leaders twisted arms to gain five key votes.

Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) cast the deciding vote to give House approval to S.B. 200 after holding the vote open while his lieutenants persuaded skeptics to switch their vote.
When the vote on the transportation governance bill finally came, it appeared to be on its way to defeat, judging by the live vote recorded on the electronic boards in the House. Even Transportation Committee Chairman Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain) voted against it.

The bill is a key component in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s legislative agenda for the year. In fact, Perdue has demanded the state’s transportation governance be overhauled before he would consider a new method for paying for transportation projects.

Perdue’s original proposal was to abolish the Department of Transportation — and its board — and replace it with a new agency controlled by the governor, speaker of the House, the lieutenant governor and a newly created secretary of transportation.

That’s largely the plan the Senate has adopted. But the House version that squeaked out today dumps most of that plan, leaves in place the DOT and its board and creates a new position there of director of planning who would oversee much of the actual work of building roads and bridges.
Richardson was the last to speak and regaled the House with the woeful tale of his failed 17-year effort to get a road in his home of Paulding County widened.

Boo. Hoo.

More context on all this here.

Since the passage of this bill was a condition for Perdue & Co. to support the T-SPLOST initiative, we'll see what happens with that legislation tomorrow & Friday.

Please contact your elected officials and demand that they support the regional TSPLOST plan.

Backyard Bash this Saturday

Bike repair, live music, climbing wall, & a Bike Recycling Drive to benefit our Bike Recycling Program.

At Hub Bikes in 5 Points, Saturday from 10-7.

More at

Bike to Work Day- ride leaders wanted

This year’s Bike to Work Day will take place on Friday, April 24.

Riders will meet at several locations around town and ride with experienced bike commuters to a meeting point downtown at 8 am for coffee, a light breakfast, and other festivities.

We are currently looking for ride leaders; if you are interested or would like to suggest a location, please contact Katie Learnard at


Twilight '09: Volunteers needed

Our friends at the upcoming Twilight Criterium 2009 need your help!

Check out their volunteer opportunities here, and commit to helping out one of the greatest events our fair town has to offer.

Some pics from last year's Twilight here:

Frenzied negotiations at the capitol building

"Georgia's Republican leaders are giving a final push to support plans to overhaul Georgia's transportation setup and transform the way key taxes are collected as they rush toward another hectic end of the legislative session."

House lawmakers are readying for a vote over a massive makeover of Georgia's transportation bureaucracy that would hand the governor and state legislators vast new powers over how infrastructure money is spent.

Georgia's Republican leaders have staked enormous political capital on the proposals, which represent a wholesale shift in long-standing state policy. But an array of opponents has lined up against each, setting the stage for a frenzied final push before the session's end Friday.