Atlanta Gets on Track

20130726_12For years PATH has pecked away at building trails into the center of the City. The closer we get to town, the more difficult it becomes to find real estate suitable for a bicycle venue separated from traffic.

All that may change if the recently completed Tenth Street Cycle Track is successful. The City of Atlanta, PATH, and the Midtown Alliance collaborated to build Atlanta’s first cycle track alongside Piedmont Park near Monroe Drive. The City provided the vision and the right of way,

Midtown Alliance oversaw and paid for the design, and your contributions to PATH funded construction of the facility.

Cycle tracks are a relatively new facility type. For decades, traffic and safety engineers argued that two-way bicycle traffic on one side of a road was a safety issue, thus the proliferation of one-way bike lanes mixed with traffic. Recent studies indicate it is no safer to put cyclists on one-way bike lanes than in a two-way cycle track on one side of the road. The difference is, cycle tracks result in a dramatic increase in ridership.

The Tenth Street cycle track begins where the Eastside BeltLine Trail ends and continues along Tenth Street to Charles Allen Drive. It is significant in that it creates a traffic-free connection between the BeltLine and bike/ped facilities within the park. This means anyone living along the periphery of the park can ride a bike to destinations along the BeltLine, Stone Mountain, and downtown without mixing with traffic on busy streets. The planned extension of the cycle track to Peachtree will connect all of Midtown and the proposed Juniper Street bicycle facility to the network.

PATH and City planners are looking at other streets where road widths and traffic volumes may be conducive for cycle track deveopment. There are numerous streets in the city with multiple lanes and low traffic volumes that could be altered. Meanwhile give the new facility a try and let us know what you think.