First Two-Way Cycle Track Comes to Atlanta

Paving the way for a greener and more sustainable city, the new lanes will eventually connect over six miles of roadway.

Photo by: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images Parts of Midtown and Downtown just got a little safer and more navigable for the city's cyclists. 

Atlanta is nosing its way along with its effort to become a more bike-friendly city with the construction of a new two-way “cycle track,” the city’s first. Construction along 10 th Street in Midtown between Charles Allen Drive and Monroe Drive began last week. The lanes will eventually connect to trails within Piedmont Park, the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and then all the way to Peachtree Street.

The lanes will be painted bright green and be protected by a series of plastic posts to separate motorists and bikers. Also, a two-stage left-turn queue box and new bicycle push-button signal will help facilitate left bicycle turns onto Charles Allen Drive from the cycle track.

“Riding safety for cyclists continues to be a top priority for my administration,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Creating new, family-friendly bicycle routes for our citizens and visitors demonstrates our commitment to improving the quality of life for our citizens and creating a sustainable future.”

This is only one of 26 new projects designed to enhance bicycle safety and efficiency for cyclists. A partnership between Midtown Alliance, the City of Atlanta and PATH Foundation is making the project possible.

Photo by: Atlanta Bicycle Coalition This spot marks where a signal will help facilitate left bicycle turns onto Charles Allen Drive from the cycle track.

Throughout his three-year tenure, Mayor Reed has continually supported biking advocacy programs within the city, both financially and vocally. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Atlanta’s bicycle lobby, even deemed him the “most bike-friendly elected official” at an awards ceremony earlier this year. Through Mayor Reed's advocacy and leadership, the Atlanta City Council approved an ordinance to allocate $2.47 million in remaining bond funds to high-priority bicycle projects citywide.

The 10th Street cycle track is another puzzle piece of the city’s “Connect Atlanta” plan and an extension of the Midtown Alliance’s EcoDistrict.

“By 2014 you’ll see several new bicycle paths and routes created to help citizens safely get to work, school, shopping or events,” said Commissioner James E. Shelby, Department of Planning and Community Development. “Six miles of existing trails along the Atlanta BeltLine and Freedom Parkway will seamlessly be connected once the project is complete in August.”

The decision to put the cycle track in this location was partly made by data gathered from Atlanta bikers using an app called CycleAtlanta. Unveiled in 2012, Apple- and Android- friendly CycleAtlanta allows cyclists to report details of their route in real time with the opportunity to give direct feedback to city planners about the condition of roads and bicycle routes.

We’re nowhere close to Portland, Ore., or Boulder, Colo., and we’ll never catch Amsterdam, but at least we’re trying.

Some good biking resources: 

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, the city’s cycling lobby.

The PATH Foundation builds networks of off-road trails in and around Atlanta for walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters.

Bike Emory is not only a great resource for students and residents living near the university, but also for those interested in bike safety and cycle-centric city planning. 

The Sopo Bicycle Cooperative is a non-profit, community-based bicycle repair shop in the city that helps make bike transportation affordable, accessible and sustainable.

And just because, we love Rides a Bike, a Tumblr page containing oodles of old photographs of celebrities riding bicycles.

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