Buckhead’s bicycle battles rolled into NPU-B’s September board meeting as the neighborhood planning group debated proposals intended to make the city of Atlanta more bike friendly.
Many of the 50 or so residents who packed into the Sept. 1 meeting appeared to reject the city’s bike plans as well as a proposal recently outlined by state transportation officials to add bike lanes along portions of Peachtree Road through south Buckhead.
“I think Peachtree is just one of those roads where cycling is a bad idea,” said resident Valerie Taylor, who attended the Sept. 1 meeting of the board of Neighborhood Planning Unit B.
But resident Mike McLeod defended bike lanes, saying they were not a new idea. “It’s a perfect opportunity to have a bike network,” he said. “You can get people out of their cars. There’s data that shows traffic flow with improve. I know it’s difficult to believe, but if you take cars away, you can improve traffic flow.”
State transportation officials are considering redrawing the lanes on Peachtree Road through Buckhead to add a central left turn lane and to add bicycle lanes along the portion of Peachtree south of Peachtree Battle Avenue.
“Peachtree changes character at Peachtree Battle,” Andrew Heath, traffic engineer with the Georgia Department of Transportation, told members of the board of the Buckhead Community Improvement District when outlying the project on Aug. 25.
The DOT’s new plan will be presented for public comment in October, Heath said. An earlier plan was widely panned by residents, so DOT planners took a new look at ways to restripe the lanes on Peachtree between Dearing and Pharr roads after the road is repaved.
I don’t fault the Buckhead residents who have trouble imagining Peachtree as a good option for bicycle commuters. But they need to understand that the reason it doesn’t make sense to them is because of the current design of the street. This project gives us an opportunity to fix that design.
By giving people a place to safely cycle, you’re reducing the number of cars on the street. Even if you don’t care at all about public transit or pedestrian access, you should care about that.
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