Tucker mayor and council split on Brockett Road bike lanesTucker City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Tucker, GA — Tucker City Council is deciding how to keep drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians safe on Brockett Road. A part of the FY23 budget planning, council members and the mayor are split on the validity of bike lanes on Brockett Road.
Council members Noelle Monferdini and Alexis Weaver favor bike lanes.
At the May 23 City Council meeting, Monferdini said residents across the city use bikes for transportation. She asked council members: How can we make it safe for everyone?
“We already have people riding bicycles on Brockett Road. We need to figure out how to make it safe for them to be on Brockett Road,” said Monferdini. “Our design does not fit the needs of our community.”
The city is considering how to spend around $2 million to improve Brockett Road.
Crashes on Brockett Road, including the death of pedestrian Kuldip Kaur who was hit by a speeding vehicle in June 2021 and a serious bicycle crash near Lawrenceville Highway earlier this month, have caused the city to take a hard look at speed and safety.
Mayor Frank Auman and Councilmembers Cara Schroeder and Virginia Rece aren’t convinced bike lanes are the answer to slowing traffic.
Schroeder, who lives off Brockett Road, said City Council should keep talking about adding bike lanes on other streets.
“For now, it’s really important to keep our people who are driving and walking on Brockett safe. Yes, it does include the kids who go to school and the families that walk every day. Maybe Brockett could be a complete street that includes bicycle lanes; however, it doesn’t have to be a complete street with bicycle lanes. People could have other [complete] streets that they ride on,” said Schroeder.
Auman suggested bike riders should stay on the sidewalk. He referred to the Tucker Transportation Master Plan, which says sidewalks provide safe connections for people of all ages and abilities and especially for people in wheelchairs and minors (under age 16) on bicycles.
“If they’re in the roadway, that’s by choice, and I would say a bad choice,” said Auman.
However, Georgia law states age 12 and under are permitted to ride on the sidewalk.
“At what point do we decide $5 million dollars is worth it on that stretch of road to enable a bona fide separated bike lane?” said Auman.
“Every person’s life is important,” said Monferdini.
The city’s transportation plan, written in 2019, lists complete street projects as Brockett Road, Fellowship Road, Idlewood Road and Cooledge Road. It estimates $1.3 million to build out bike lanes and sidewalks on each side of Brockett Road, and add a traffic signal and two right hand turn lanes.
“I looked at the purpose and the intent and that was to reduce speed to protect the community. I’m not seeing where adding bike lanes is going to do that,” said Rece. “I am failing to see how this is going to make our community safe.”
A report by Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) states pedestrian safety is improved by separating bicycle traffic from pedestrian space and providing additional separation from motor vehicle traffic. Bicyclists are much less likely to ride on the sidewalk when facilities are provided on the roadway, the ARC reports.
There are 63 driveways on Brockett Road, City Engineer Ken Hildebrandt said, which would make a separated bike lane difficult.
“We have to think about all the different users that we have here,” said Councilmember Anne Lerner.
The next public hearing of the FY23 budget is planned for June 13.
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