I’m gonna go out on a limb and give the City of Johns Creek, Georgia a bravo for what’s happening on a 55-mph completely-non-human-scaled stretch of road named Peachtree Parkway. It’s not the hair-raising unprotected bike lanes on either side of the street (that change size and disappear occasionally) that caught my attention. It’s the fact that there is also a wide sidewalk/multi-use path along one stretch of the road for miles (and I’m guessing it’s gonna go even farther). This beautifully-designed path (complete with landscaping, a solar seating area, and even a few sculptures) even has access points (but without curb cuts — hey, let’s not get picky, right?) to the new mixed-use developments (with every fast-casual place to eat you can imagine) sprinkled along the way (although my kingdom for a bike rack! It’s no surprise the Zoe’s Kitchen got my business two weeks in a row now because it’s in the only development I found with a bike rack).
I can see the bones of a master plan here, and I think perhaps it’s good. Cyclists trying to log serious miles can zip along unimpeded on the road (if they don’t get killed by distracted or impaired drivers, of course), and those of us who like to take it a little more casually can meander along happily and (relatively) safely (if you watch out for right hooks at intersections) on the path. If Johns Creek really wants to go to town, why not make those bike lanes protected and take the lead in bike safety Outside the Perimeter in metro Atlanta?
The Bike Ride in a Blink above shows the same stretch of road from two different points of view — that harrowing bike lane (during which I used my street skills but didn’t have my bike noodle with me and was a bit white-knuckled when too-close vehicles, not shown, passed), and its parallel multi-use path (as I went in the other direction).
People walking and riding bikes, you ask? No, I don’t see many of that yet. But build it and they will come, right?
I have much more to say about the three hours I’m spending in Johns Creek every week this spring (for family reasons), but not yet.
Note: I offer rideability audits to cities trying to become more accessible for all. If I can’t ride a bike safely in your city, your city is not safe for bike riding. See my list of services here. Free advice to the City of Johns Creek: curb cuts at access points on the path, and bike racks at your strip centers (like the perfect one at Dunkin Donuts and elsewhere in that center) are low-hanging fruit (plus aren’t curb cuts an Americans with Disabilities Act requirement?). Also, a bike rack at your police station would be nice (yes,I swung by to see if they had a bike map of the area — the station was closed, so I did laps around Technology Park — nice commuter bus shelters, by the way!). And, my goodness, how do you expect guests at Hyatt Place to get across Peachtree Parkway to the multi-use path without some infrastructure design help? Even just a pedestrian island would help — I ran like a bat out of hell and only made it halfway across and stood there praying! How nice would it be for guests to be able to get across safely with perhaps a bike share bike! (the cities of Alpharetta, Roswell, Smyrna, and Atlanta all offer bike shares as do numerous apartment complexes near the Atlanta Beltline and colleges such as Agnes Scott College in the City of Decatur, where you can check the bike out at the college library!)