Dear Decaturish – PATH provides opportunity to make Decatur bike friendlyA Path Trail along West Howard Avenue in Decatur. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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Decatur has a longstanding reputation as a bike-friendly city. However, it is clear from the results of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Survey that a significant percentage of Decatur residents see bicycle and pedestrian connectivity as lacking in our community. For example, The survey results showed that more than half of all respondents thought that Decatur does not provide adequate bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between its residential neighborhoods and its commercial districts. And, a majority of respondents indicated that they would like to see more bicycle lanes separated from automobiles by buffers.
Fortunately, Decatur has excellent leadership. Officials in both the City Commission and the City Manager’s Office took the survey results seriously. They met with members of the Decatur Bicycle Coalition and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Executive Director on several occasions and listened to our explanations of why painted bike lanes are inadequate cycling infrastructure for children, the elderly, and, frankly, everyone. Based in part on the evidence that we presented they concluded that protected bike lanes are indeed, the right way to provide a safe cycling environment for residents of all ages.
Not only did our officials listen, they acted. This past July, the City Commission entered an agreement with the PATH Foundation to develop a master plan for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Several Decatur Bicycle Coalition board members have seen the initial draft and simply put, believe it is outstanding and truly innovative. The PATH Foundation’s plan provides amazing bicycle and pedestrian connectivity throughout the city and one proposed route would eventually connect Decatur to Kirkwood and the Beltline.
The City Commission, the City Manager’s Office, and the PATH Foundation efforts have produced a plan that will provide a safe network of protected bicycle and pedestrian facilities so that people of all ages can safely enjoy our city either by bike or by walking. However, to turn this amazing plan into a reality, residents of Decatur and also residents of surrounding neighborhoods such as Kirkwood, Edgewood, East Lake, and Medlock Park, need to voice their support for this plan.
On Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 8 pm in the Decatur Recreation Center (231 Sycamore Street) there will be a public meeting where the PATH Foundation will present the Decatur pedestrian and bike master plan. If you want your kids, your parents, and yourself to be able to safely bike around Decatur and to have direct access to the Beltline from Decatur via protected bike lanes, please attend this meeting.
– The Decatur Bicycle Coalition Executive Board