Today, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the details of the “plan to change our streets by creating safer, dedicated spaces for cyclists and scooter riders.” The promise of an “accelerated” plan came packaged with the announcement of a temporary night-time ban (9 p.m. to 4 a.m.) on permitted e-bikes & e-scooters following the deaths of three scooter riders struck by cars and killed while riding e-scooters in the city of Atlanta and our advocacy calling for a rapid response from the City.
We appreciate the mayor’s expressed commitment to building a safe & equitable transportation network as a top priority of her ONE Atlanta agenda. With $5 million benchmarked to make 20 miles of streets safer for people regardless of how they get around, the projected plan would add much-needed safe spaces for people using bikes, scooters, and other light individual transportation, or what we call LIT.
We are cautiously optimistic about the plan and eager to see a detailed timeline that reflects how it will be implemented with the urgency expressed in the mayor’s announcement. Last month, we called on the mayor to assemble a rapid response team to expedite an infrastructure plan and to grant the team the authority to advance a network of protected lanes while we wait for more permanent projects. We also pointed to the opportunity to use this time to address safety and equity by prioritizing High-Injury Network (HIN) streets, the most dangerous streets in the city.
It’s encouraging to see the inclusion of several HIN streets in the mayor’s plan, including Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Lee Street, and Campbellton Road. Cascade Avenue and Dekalb Avenue, two critical corridors that we’ve advocated for, were also included on the list. In addition, two projects on the list directly affect the safety of areas where scooter riders were killed this year - the West Lake MARTA station and West Peachtree near 15th Street and the Arts Center MARTA station. Last-mile connections to help people safely get to MARTA stations were a priority of Cycle Atlanta 2.0, and the mayor’s action plan meets the growing demand for LIT access to transit.
The mayor acknowledges that Atlantans want safer streets and that we have a desire to see real changes before another tragedy occurs. The action plan, although inclusive of roads that are critical in reaching the goal of safe streets for all, also restates plans included in Cycle Atlanta 2.0, ATP Bicycle Network, Downtown and Midtown plans, Renew Atlanta, TSPLOST, and the Turner Field Livable Centers Initiative. The plan shows skilled planners at work, but now is the time to activate the plan and to do so with haste.
We’re asking the City to provide a way for organizations like ours to install interim solutions in partnership with groups already poised to take action. The City could do this by creating a Tactical Urbanism permit to ensure the designs are safe and in line with other city plans.
We look forward to volunteering with the mayor's temporary pop-up bike lane being planned for Biketober and welcome any opportunity to support a rapid response with quick build materials to address the problems we have today -- because we can’t wait for 2021. We’re all planned out. Now’s the time to move the plans to fruition.