The Capital of the Dirty South is gonna get a little cleaner, thanks to its new bike lanes. The Green Lane Project, a program of PeopleforBikes, recently chose Atlanta as one of the second batch of six cities in the US to assist.
Part of the recently inaugurated Atlanta BeltLine trail is a 2.5 mile (4 km) part in the city center that already has 7,000 users on a daily basis. The BeltLine is a 33 mile (52.8 km.) network of multi-use trails that promote “walking, jogging, biking and living.” At its core is a 22 mile (35.2 km.) corridor that traces the old train tracks. It connects the city’s “in-town neighborhoods and will eventually link to a broader path network for the entire metro area.”
The project aims to transform the city starting with a reimagination of the city’s transport infrastructure. It plans to reduce car traffic with bike commuting – by doubling the number of people biking to work as well as doubling the number of miles of the bike lanes.
This is all part of Mayor Kasim Reed’s vision to make Atlanta into one of the top 10 biking cities in the US. While it is a challenge in a big sprawling city like Atlanta, its citizens have supported the move. The city recently held an open-street event dubbed “Atlanta Streets Alive” last September 28 and residents of the Big Peach showed up in force – an estimated 95,000 to 106,000 revelers joined the event, exceeding the previous record by at least 12,000 people.
With the Atlanta Beltline, Atlanta’s latest highway is going to be a lot quieter, and safer too. Americans say that if they had a safe area to ride, they’d bike more often. With protected bike lanes like that in Atlanta, we will see even more two wheelers going around.