BikeAthens' weekly newsletter highlights upcoming events, news of volunteers, and opportunities to advocate for multi-modes of transportation in Athens Clarke County, GA. Consider joining our organization and becoming active in our work or simply support us by continuing to be apprised of what we're about. Either way, you're important to us. ~BikeAthens
Tyler Dewey--BikeAthens Executive Director
Elliott Caldwell--Chair, BikeAthens Board
Richard Shoemaker--Editor, BikeAthens Newsletter
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In this November 13, 2013 issue...

  • ACC Votes to Ease Sidewalk Requirements!

  • Georgia Desperately Needs a State Trails Summit

  • Please Donate Used Bicycles to Holiday Bikes for Kids Project

  • Down the Road and Elsewhere: 11/15 - America Recycles Day;12/5 - BikeAthens in Parade of Lights; 12/18 - Webinar: Integrating Equity in Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning;  3/3-5/14 - National Bike Summit, Washington, DC; 4/11-12 - GA Trail Summit in Athens

  • Poster: Why Build Protected Bike Lanes?

  • BikeAthens Newsletter Archives...

BikeAthens Opposed Changes

ACC Votes to Ease Sidewalk Requirements

The ACC Commission voted 9 to 1 last week to alter its previous requirement and allow certain industrial developments in Clarke County to build without providing sidewalks around their facility. BikeAthens opposed the alteration that will now allow redevelopers to receive a pass in building sidewalks in industrial zones (I).

Nov. 5 ACC Commission Meeting Video: Click on Item #17 to go directly to public comment, Commissioners' comments, and the vote on the Text Amendments. 

Tim Reid, a longtime BikeAthens member, told the Commission that changing the sidewalk requirement “sets a bad precedent.” Reid suggested the proposed changes needed further study
and alternative solutions made. He said that while it was important to not “overburden” those who wish to develop in our region, it’s not fair to ease their burdens while increasing the burdens of citizens.
“Sidewalks are not something you want to give up,” Melissa Link told the Commissioners. “You never know which direction these areas are going to develop, and quite frankly, we want to encourage mixed use development. We want to encourage people to live close to where they work, so they can walk, and they can bike.”  Link said that if you have sidewalks are nearby, citizens are more encouraged to walk.  “Georgia is the most expensive state in the union to own a car.”

“Sidewalks are not something you want to give up. You never know which direction these areas are going to develop...." ~Melissa Link

Elliott Caldwell, BikeAthens Chairman of the Board, told the mayor and Commissioners that the amendments don’t violate the letter of the Complete Streets policy that ACC adopted, but it violates the “spirit” of the policy. “The safety of Clarke County citizens should come first.”
Commissioner Kelly Girtz said that he believes the text amendments are a balanced attempt to meet industrial redevelopment needs and support walkability in areas where walking is generally safe from heavy large vehicular traffic.
Kathy Hoard, another Commissioner, said that the impetus behind the text amendments was a broad-based economic development taskforce.  Commissioner Andy Herod said he felt confident about making the text amendments because the ruling would still require that sidewalks be built by any industrial redevelopments within 500 feet of residential areas.

ACC Commissioner Jared Bailey called the proposed change “regressive” and added that he thought that the community would be “losing ground in its efforts to become a more walkable city.” He cast the single dissenting vote.

ACC Commissioner Jared Bailey called the proposed change “regressive” and added that he thought that the community would be “losing ground in its efforts to become a more walkable city.” He cast the single dissenting vote.
Elliott Caldwell summarized the evening’s events by saying he was “disappointed that ACC is looking at hiking bus fares, reducing sidewalks through this vote and taking no action on pressing areas for bicycle and pedestrian safety (Prince Ave and other dangerous corridors). Leadership is needed on these issues in ACC.”

GA Bike Summit Report #3

Georgia Desperately Needs a State Trail Summit

In this 3rd and final report from the GA Bike Summit that took place in Roswell several weeks ago, we look at why a Georgia Trail Summit is essential.

“With 82 trail or greenway projects ongoing in Georgia, and a multitude of knowledge to share and lessons learned, yet no existing trail commission to guide us, we think its time to bring trail gurus together....” That is the sentiment of Tracie Sanchez who is leading the charge to hold the Georgia Trail Summit April 11-12, 2014, in Athens.
“We hope to deliver outcomes like a 

resource directory for trail builders, planners, designers, funders, an updated statewide trail plan, and possible partnerships with the GA Dept. of Natural Resources, the GA Dept. of Economic Development, and the GA Dept. of Tourism, to name a few,” Tracie says.

“With 82 trail or greenway projects ongoing in Georgia, and a multitude of knowledge to share and lessons learned, yet no existing trail commission to guide us, we think its time to bring trail gurus together....” ~Tracie Sanchez

One of the surprises that Tracie discovered in her research was that
while states are required to provide a statewide comprehensive trail plan or outdoor recreational plan, Georgia hasn’t produced one in 15 years. Other Southern states are ahead of Georgia, Tracie says, and she cites this data about the states and their last comprehensive trail/outdoor recreation plans: Florida, 2013; North Carolina & Louisiana, 2012; Alabama, 2010; South Carolina, 2002; and 
Georgia, 1998. According to Tracie, Georgia is now seeking public input until Nov. 22 on its comprehensive outdoor recreation plan.

"A Trail Summit is valuable because there are many differences between the planning, funding, and design of on-street bicycle facilities and paved paths such as rail-to-trails,” declares Brent Buice, the Executive Director of Georgia Bikes. “The Trail Summit will focus on the unique challenges and opportunities of building these facilities, which can serve as both major tourist, recreational destinations as well as 'spines' for urban bicycling networks.”
 â€œAthens is a perfect location for the inaugural Trail Summit since we already have a partially integrated urban Greenway and exciting plans for a major regional trail with the Firefly project," Brent says.

Tracie Sanchez is the Program Coordinator at 
Decatur Active Living.

More on local trails can be found below:

North Oconee River Greenway â€“ “The Greenway is a linear park system that provides wildlife corridors, open spaces and a family friendly multi use path for the public's enjoyment.  Currently, the North Oconee River Greenway provides 3.75 miles of concrete path that is designated for non-motorized use.” (from North Oconee River Greenway website)

Cook’s Trail â€“ “Cook's Trail is a 4.1 mile natural surface trail that runs between Sandy Creek Nature Center and Sandy Creek Park.  (Foot traffic only)” (from Cook’s Trail website)

Firefly Trail â€“ “Northeast Georgia's 39-mile rails-to-trails project, connecting Athens-Clarke, Oglethorpe, and Greene counties.” (from Firefly Trail website)

Photos: (Top two) Cook's Trail. (Next two) North Oconee River Greenway. (Below) Map of the Firefly Trail

Jason Perry, BRP manager and coordinator of the Holiday Bikes for Kids 2013 project, loads a refurbished bike for delivery during the HB4K campaign last year. 

BRP Request

Please Donate Used Bicycles to Holiday Bikes For Kids 2013 Project

The Bike Recycling Program officially kicked off Sunday for its annual push to refurbish 70 or more bicycles for the Holiday Bikes for Kids Project that ends a few days before Christmas.

Please spread the word to families with children that BRP will make good use of gently-used kids' bikes that children have outgrown. Donated bikes are thoroughly cleaned to look new and thoroughly reconditioned to be solid rides for children for whom social services make requests.  Schools and churches also request bikes for children in need. BRP attempts to fill all requests as time and resources allow.

BRP is located in the Chase Park Warehouse, behind the large silos of the cement plant.  Open hours are Sundays 2-4:30PM, and Mon. - Wed. 6-8:30PM.

While gently-used children's bikes can be donated to needy children, BRP can make use of all children's bikes no matter the condition by re-purposing usable parts.

Down the Road and Elsewhere

11/15 - America Recycles Day

"One day to educate. One day to motivate. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year. Get Involved! Give your Garbage Another Life." Those words and others are being spoken to motivate America to recycle, especially in response to America Recycles Day, Friday.
Among the numerous ways BikeAthens stays involved in recycling is through the work of its Bike Recycling Program (BRP). Among numerous benefits to the Athens-Clarke County community, BRP prevents discarded bicycles from ending up in the landfill. BRP's bike shop takes used bikes, refurbishes them, and recycles all rubber and metal parts that are no longer usable. Hundreds of pounds each year are kept from the trash pile, and most bikes are returned to the community in the form of solid "rides" for both adults and children in need.

Donation bikes are accepted during all open hours: Sun. 2-4:30PM; Mon., Tue., Wed. 6-8:30PM. The shop is located at 149 Tracy St. in the Chase Park Warehouse.

12/5 - Bike Bells to Make 'Sounds of Christmas' in Parade

Now's the time to get your bike lights, holiday attire, and bike bells ready for the Parade of Lights in Downtown Athens. The annual event occurs the Thursday after Thanksgiving. 

Plans are being made to orchestrate some bike bell tunes by all BikeAthens participants. Please make plans to join
us! This family event is always fun, and it's a safe way to walk or cycle with friends and children of all ages.  BikeAthens traditionally meets on Dougherty St. around 6:30PM.

4/11-12 - Georgia Trail Summit in Athens

The inaugural Georgia Trail Summit will be held at the Classic Center in Athens, GA on April 11-12, 2014. This event will be the first in 15 years. (See More)

12/18 - Webinar: Integrating Equity in Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning 

Online Webinar: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. Hosted by: Association of 
Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. This webinar session considers equity in the context of three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, social. Learn how to define equity and integrate it as a planning factor; what are the standards and requirements of transportation equity?

3/3-5/14 - National Bike Summit, Washington, DC

The Highway Trust Fund is scheduled to run out of funds in October 2014, leaving Congress with the choice of cutting transportation funding, raising the gas tax or other revenue, or choosing to increase the deficit for transportation funding. The 2014 National Bike Summit will be our opportunity to promote our agenda and ensure that the next generation of transportation policy learns from your experience in MAP -21 — and push for the best possible outcomes for bicycling in transportation policy.
Poster from

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