New bike path plans aim to make Atlanta more bicycle-friendly

by: Jeff Dore Updated:

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The Atlanta mayor and City Council want to make the city more bicycle friendly and recently allocated $2.5 million for 26 projects designed to increase safety and the number pedal powered commuters.

“I was totally dismayed at the lack of infrastructure in the city,” said bike rider Doug Ollerenshaw. “It’s so far behind the rest of the U.S.”

The projects range from painting share-the-road signs on asphalt to creating dedicated bike lanes and are planned to serve recreational and commuting riders.

“Quality of life is really important,” said bike rider Mike Wojtowski. “People will want to live here if there’s quality of life.”

Joshua Mello, Atlanta's assistant director of planning and transportation, said improvements will begin in the city's core and connect to neighborhoods and destinations.

The plans call for extending safe bike routes to the edge of the city.

“A car ran in front of me and I fell and had to have my face redid,” said bike rider Charles Minter. “So I got plates here and plates there.”

A "bike track" connecting the Beltline's completed to paths in Piedmont Park was recently completed.

“Come over here to the park on the beltline and its usually a little dicey getting over here,” said bike rider David Suess. “So its nice to have that connector.

Atlanta ranks 17th in the United States in biking safety, according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking. It aims to be in the top 10 by 2016. The city is 23rd in percent of commuters traveling by bicycle and aims to double that rate from 1.1 percent to 2.2 percent.