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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Georgia Intermodal Leadership Summit

On October 22, BikeAthens Board members Anna Gore, Tracie Sanchez, and Amy Johnson attended the Georgia Intermodal Leadership Summit in Macon on a Friday. This Summit was coordinated by the Georgians for Passenger Rail, a statewide group focused on implementing and further developing existing passenger rail plans for our entire state. Topics of special note were:

  • US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood emphasized in his speech to a room full of state legislators "Georgia better get its act together" (feds won't give funding without local matched commitments)
  • HB277 (T-SPLOST) will likely generate $714 Million its first year
  • T-SPLOST is necessary to fulfill funding losses from people driving less and paying less in gas tax, and it's multi-modal!!
  • Focus is on alternate funding ideas and HB277 is a certainly a start; Dubose Porter insisted the 4th penny sales tax is the way to take existing money and reallocate it to transportation funding and to show the feds we have a plan!
  • Richard Mendoza, Atlanta Public Works Commissioner (like our David Clark) said priorities should be on fixing existing infrastructure and diversifying mode investment (yeah to bike/ped!!) He referenced bikes and the recent Streets Alive event in Atlanta that attracted over 5,000 folks for cicolovia afternoon festival.
  • Athens Multi-Modal Transportation Center (future passenger rail terminal) got a shout out from Dubose Porter for being ready to go!
  • GA road systems are excellent, but we've passed up huge federal funding for passenger rail and other modalities
  • If we get passenger rail, the Macon - Atlanta line will likely be first recipient and is a perfect first project because the Ford plant closure has left the line much freer from former heavy freight use so its a perfect time to put passengers on the line.
  • NC passenger rail story is a huge success and the result of decades of vision
  • Major economic development benefits from passenger rail investment referenced
  • Kudos to existing infrastructure which positions us best when applying for federal funding (including Athens Multi-Modal Center)
  • The intermodal family of Georgia also includes sea & air and referenced the support for the plan to deepen Savannah's port 47 feet to accommodate freight once the Panama Canal opens and is deemed as a huge coup for the state if Georgia is ready; also of note is 90% of Georgians are now 2 hours from an airport according to Carol Comer, DOT Aviation Program Mgr
  • Regional commissions will need to collaborate with other regions along rail corridors
  • Strategies for making it happen: POLITICAL WILL, LEADERSHIP, and COLLABORATION

Let us know your thoughts on the Discussion listserv (, and we'll pass that on to these state leaders. We will be meeting with the Board of Georgians for Passenger Rail again soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sipprelle supporting BikeAthens nonprofit

BikeAthens recently named Cara Sipprelle as its administrator. Sipprelle will be responsible for general administration, membership coordination, event planning, bike map distribution and other activities.

Sipprelle recently earned her master's degree in anthropology from the University of Georgia, and served for two years as coordinator for the Southern Seed Legacy, a local organization dedicated to preserving the cultural and biological diversity of Southern agriculture. In this capacity, she was responsible for managing membership; recruiting and supervising volunteers; planning events; and coordinating communications for the organization.

Original story here:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Georgia Bikes! Inaugural Summit

Georgia Bikes Summit 2010
On October 9 BikeAthens members Tracie, Amy, Mike, and Jeff attended the inaugural bike summit in Savannah over the weekend. The keynote speaker was League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke who gave a super pep talk about how advocacy isn't rocket science and we are doing it right...and to keep on keeping on. USDOT Sec Ray Lahood made a surprise video appearance and spoke directly to Georgia. A few of the dozen topics covered were:

  • Connecting the DOTs - Working with transportation agencies and planners
  • Broadening the Community of Cyclists
  • State of GDOT update
  • Effecting Public Policy with Multi-Use Trails
  • Building a Bicycle-Friendly Community, The Case for Complete Streets
  • Designing and building All-Weather Mountain Bike Trails

Attendees enjoyed a meet and greet at 2 local, bikeable establishments and a Sunday morning 10-mile bike ride/tour around downtown Savannah.
Please visit for a full recap of the event, plus powerpoint slides for most of the breakout sessions, and a photo slideshow.

FYI: BikeAthens was just selected to host the 2nd Georgia Bike Summit in fall 2011! We'll keep you posted.