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, April 30, 2010

May is National Bike Month!

You couldn't ask for better biking weather, and a host of events and circumstances are converging to shine a light on the many benefits of cycling.

For our part, we're hosting Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 21st. The pre-party will be at Jittery Joe's Roaster on the 20th from 4-7!

Also, we are the fortunate Charity of the Month at the Terrapin Brewery throughout May - take a tour, buy a souvenir glass, and support transportation choices! Be sure to stop by the brewery on Friday, May 7th, for our Bike Month kickoff party.

Get out there and ride, and get noticed!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bring Bike Sharing to Athens!

Learn more about it here, or watch the video below.

Vote for Athens here!

UGA budget cuts impact Athens Transit

ABH: "The University of Georgia will cut subsidies for students and employees to ride Athens Transit, costing the bus system $150,000 next year, officials said Thursday."
The Athens-Clarke government does not plan to cut service or spend more local tax money on buses, Athens-Clarke Manager Alan Reddish said, because federal grant money will make up the difference.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

T-SPLOST passes!

After grim 11th hour letdowns last year and the year before, Georgia's legislature finally passed a bill that would allow for a transportation-specific SPLOST (aka T-SPLOST, and not to be confused with our Athens-specific SPLOST):
Taking to the well for the first time this session, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston in a rousing speech led the House to pass HB 277, a bill for transportation funding by a vote of 141-29. The Senate passed it shortly afterward, breaking a logjam that has bottled up the issue for at least three years.

It now goes to the desk of Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The bill would divide the state into 12 regions. A “roundtable” of local elected officials in each region would draw up a list of projects for the region, and could then submit the list to voters for their approval in a referendum, along with a 1 percent sales tax to fund them. No county could opt out of a region’s tax, but a roundtable could decline to hold a referendum in the region.

[If a region opts out,] they will lose out on some new state benefits, including a bit more money for small local road projects. And it wouldn’t be able to try again for a vote for two years.
Well, it took us long enough to get here, and this money, if it's even approved by our region, won't be available for three years.

That said, this legislation is a great step forward.

Between these funds, federal transportation dollars, grants, Safe Routes to School funds, an increased gasoline tax (Georgia's is among the nation's lowest, as is our general funding for transit) and a commitment to better transportation planning overall, we may finally enjoy the kind of multi-modal transportation choices enjoyed by forward-thinking cities around the nation.

Good news

The latest roster of SPLOST projects for voters to consider this fall has some exciting prospects for expanded transportation options:

The recommended list includes a mix of transportation, recreation and public safety projects, including money for buses, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, parks, trails, an Atlanta Highway fire station, public art, police equipment, the county animal shelter, library books, a cooperative extension headquarters and a center for hard-to-recycle materials.

Not all transportation improvements made the cut, however:
Among the likely casualties are road and intersection improvements, [as well as] bike lane [installation] along College Station Road.

All told, we are very pleased with the list, as it addresses bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure. Be sure to tell your commissioner that you support these projects!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

T-SPLOST grinds forward

"A bill to allow regions in Georgia to vote for transportation funding has cleared a major roadblock," reports the AJC's "Gold Dome Live" blog.

The bill – still in progress, and still in the conference committee – also may contain moderate incentives for ... mass transit.

It’s still under negotiation, details are changing, and no copy [of the bill] has been circulated publicly yet.

The bill (HB 277, formerly HB 1218) would ...divide the state into 12 predefined regions, allowing each region to submit a referendum to voters for a 1 percent sales tax to fund a list of projects within the region. However, there’s a change allowing more local choice.

In the new version discussed Tuesday, Senate and House negotiators said counties still would not be able to opt out of a region or its tax.

The bill as it stands now would offer a couple of carrots to regions that do vote on a list. First, it would increase the state subsidy they currently get for a category of small paving and local projects. Also, in most of the state, 25 percent of the region’s new tax proceeds would stay in the local governments where the money came from.

Too soon to hope? Help this happen. Given the state's budget woes, especially with transportation projects, your support of T-SPLOST may be our only hope.

In the , um, metaphor, this would be you.


The 30th annual Twilight Criterium is this Saturday!

See: Flagpole's coverage & the official event website.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Car Free Day

Three University of Georgia organizations are promoting next Friday as "Car Free Day," asking people to use alternative transportation to work and school.

The School of Ecology, in collaboration with the GoGreen Alliance and Students for Environmental Action, will station "commute captains" off campus and offer free food, drinks and prizes to participants.

Commute captains will be located at College Station Road and International Drive at 7:10 and 9 a.m. and at South Milledge and Oakland avenues at 7:15 and 8 a.m. to lead groups to campus.

Organizers will set up a refreshment stand at the front entrance of Memorial Hall between 7:30 and 11 a.m. with free food, drinks and a chance to win prizes including gift certificates for gear and a free bike check from Sunshine Cycles.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art & bikes, bikes in art

Live Free or Drive
Bike-themed Art Show at Anchor Gallery supports BikeAthens
660 W. Broad Street

Friday, April 23, 2-10 pm

A portion of the proceeds will go towards BikeAthens to help support transportation choices in Athens, and anyone who arrives on a BIKE will receive a free print!

It will be an all day event with an open house at Ben's Bikes, plus music, food and drinks, and plenty of good times! Get out, and ride your bike!

And speaking of bike-themed art...
Check out our sweet new safety poster, designed by local artist Nash Hogan:

We'll be placing this image in media outlets very soon to spread the gospel on being an eye-catching cyclist. In the meantime, here's a full-size, hi-res version for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Street improvements

From Flagpole:
Street repaving and streetscape improvements will be among the last sales tax-funded projects under the current round of SPLOST collections (a new list of projects goes before voters in November).
Eleven downtown streets are under consideration, along with (if enough money is available) Baxter, Milledge, Prince, Oconee and Lexington.

The money will go to repaving downtown and other streets that need repaving the worst, under guidelines drawn up by county staffers, with streetscape improvements added. Streets where commercial "redevelopment" is especially desired will also get priority. Any plans for Atlanta Highway will have to wait; Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he'd like to see a planted center median along that road, and designated lanes for buses. Federal "smart growth" grants are available, Girtz says; he suggests Athens needs a staff person who would apply for such grants.

In May commissioners will review new planning department studies of Prince Avenue and Oconee Street that are intended to guide future developments there. The studies will inventory existing conditions along both streets and make long-term recommendations for sidewalks, minor zoning changes, or "overlay districts" with special requirements.

Also in Flagpole, some creative suggestions for cheap, grassroots transportation choices.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Childhood obesity rates high in Georgia

The AJC covers the distressingly high percent of Georgia's youth who are severely overweight and obese:
Georgia’s children rank as some of the heaviest in the country, with about 37 percent of children ages 10 to 17 overweight or obese, according to a 2009 Robert Wood Johnson study.

The extra pounds put youngsters at risk for obesity-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which used to be seen mainly in adults.

The article focuses on eating habits, alluding to the epidemic of physical inactivity but not connecting the dots between the built environment and inactivity. When our neighborhoods and cities are built to accommodate automobiles, and not people, people (big surprise!) do not engage in much activity: sit in the car, sit in the classroom, sit in the den, etc.

In communities that make biking and walking safe, convenient transportation options, obesity levels are much lower and children are healthier.

In light of these facts, Georgians shouldn't be too surprised by the obesity issue in the state but ought to be embarrassed by this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Bike Maps have arrived!

The 2010 edition of our popular Bike Map of Athens is hot off the press!

We'll be distributing them soon to a number of locations around town (full list via link above).

Pick one up, and enjoy your ride!

Thank you to all of our advertisers & supporters for making the 2010 map possible!

Special thanks to:

Burman Printing

New Belgium Brewing Company

Oconee River Greenway Commission

and Athens Transit !

To Do: Submit SPLOST projects support letter!

The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) 2011 Committee has made its preliminary recommendation of projects to be placed on a November 2011 referendum. The current list must be pared down to match projected revenue from the tax.

On Tuesday, April 13, the SPLOST committee chair will present this list to the Athens Clarke County Commission, seeking the commission's input on further reducing the list.

BikeAthens supports a subset of the selected projects related to expanding transportation options and encourages citizens to contact the commissioners to express their individual support.

Use our convenient web form to send an email to all ACC Commissioners. Feel free to change the message to reflect your individual preferences!

The comment period ends on Monday, April 12, 2010 at midnight.

More information about the SPLOST 2011 committee and submitted projects is available here.

Thanks for taking a minute to send in your comments!