Which path will our cities follow?
Leaders of one of the newest cities in the USA (my metro Atlanta suburb city — Dunwoody, Georgia) are voting to adopt the Comprehensive Transportation Plan update Monday night. It includes no safe, connected bike network that provides access-for-all (please note: sharrows on busy roads do not serve as effective bike infrastructure — see more about that here). Not in the short-term. Not in the long-term (see page 61 — it doesn’t add up, not even in twenty years, to a cohesive, connected network accessible for ages 8-80). There is no grand vision with stated goals to increase the percentage of people commuting by bike, riding bikes to school, or reducing car trips in general (such as to go to the supermarket or city hall) due to the availability of other options such as bike riding. There is no plan to apply to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, thereby incorporating enforcement, education, encouragement, engineering, and evaluation/planning into our way of operating and thus increasing our resiliency while serving as a beacon to new businesses and citizens. There is no Dunwoody Woodline (read the media release about what that could be).
This is wrong. I am doing what I can to help leaders make a more informed decision about what it’s like when the rubber hits the road in our city, but there’s a strong chance that what I do simply won’t matter. That’s where you come in, right there where you live. I’ve provided a very short list of things you can do in chapter 10 in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, that could make a difference in cities all over the USA. You are needed.
And as for my local leaders:
Dear City Leaders: If you vote for this plan, please do not pretend that the baby I saw in a stroller at Brook Run Park today will be able to ride his bike safely to the middle school or high school after he can no longer ride his bike legally on the sidewalk. Please do not pretend that the senior on an e-bike will be able to ride to the supermarket or city hall. Please do not pretend that the person in a wheelchair with the hand–bike attachment will be able to go to the mall or the medical center. Please do not pretend that the surging Millenial workforce in this city that shares the claim to the largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the southeastern United States will have commuting options beyond the automobile if they live locally. Please do not pretend that this is a family or business-friendly city. Please do not pretend you are anticipating and preparing for the future.