When I heard that the nation’s first Chief Bicycle Officer, Becky Katz, right here in Atlanta, was leaving (for Berlin, I believe), I got interested in that position. I’ll be available full-time September 15 for my next big calling in life, and why not this?
Then (as last time when they advertised the position a couple of years ago), I saw they still want an engineer; someone with certifications I don’t even recognize. I thought, “I don’t qualify.”
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about taking the lane (on bike, in life), it’s to own my space and not eliminate myself from the best route forward before even trying. So here goes. As Atlanta’s new Chief Bicycle Officer, I will build on the astounding success that Becky Katz has achieved by utilizing my very different skill set to take Atlanta, and thus the entire metropolitan region, to the next level. I will:
- Showcase and share the extraordinary economic, environmental, and social resiliency benefits of bike riding in the City of Atlanta to the larger region, country, and world through the power of storytelling (I already sing Atlanta’s praises in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, and that’s just the start of what I have in mind);
- Make substantial pedal strokes forward on ambitious plans that represent global best practices tailored to our unique conditions to create a more complete network for ages 8-80, including perfecting final-mile connectivity from mass transit;
- Address choke points (it’s time to separate the bike riders and pedestrians on the Eastside Trail, like they do in NYC and LA), current contractual limitations (those blocked cycle tracks during park events and Mart weeks), and other daily impacts (including street harassment and motor vehicle violence) so that the existing investment in bike access results in a network that is reliable and dignified at all times;
- Expand the inclusivity of bikeshare to pilot-test adult tricycles and ebikes to embrace those with mobility limitations (due to health, heat, or hills!), and further explore bike accessibility for road users who are vulnerable for a wide range of reasons;
- Create an innovative mobility lab in partnership with other agencies/organizations (and potentially sponsored by corporations), that would serve as a hands-on, immersive, rubber-hits-the-road learning and resource center for the entire metropolitan Atlanta region, and beyond, as municipalities everywhere are updating and advancing transportation plans and public works projects;
- Build “bike playgrounds” as well as a permanent or portable Safety Town in partnership with other organizations/agencies where schoolchildren can learn how to navigate our cities through multiple modes of transportation;
- Develop an app, perhaps in partnership with a university, that includes bikeshare, bike shops, bike co-ops, used-bikes-for-sale or trade, and donated bikes; suggested routes (including multimodal solutions) and available bike parking (such as at retail businesses); upcoming bike-friendly events, meetups, tours, classes, and volunteer opportunities; and more ways to support bike-related and other businesses/organizations while enabling anyone who lives in, works in, or visits Atlanta to access and use a bike.
So I’ll apply. If I don’t get the job, I’ve at least planted the seeds of these ideas out there in the universe. As always, I trust the journey.
Note: If interested, see Bonus Resources for my View from the Handlebars photo album, Seniors-on-Trikes Recommendations, I’m Routing for You bike maps, The Art of Bike Riding photo album, and more.
See here for links to buy my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, on Amazon in all global markets. I’m an indie author and your support is greatly appreciated. A portion of proceeds from the sale of all books is donated to help more women and girls ride bikes. Currently, that means funding my ability to do “Pedal Power with Pattie” Basic Bike Skills Classes for Women for free.