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!
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.)
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.