Multiuse paths for “commuters”

Here’s what it looks like to “commute”* on busy Ashford Dunwoody Road in the self-proclaimed “family friendly” metro-Atlanta suburb-city of Dunwoody, Georgia. Please note (and expand your definition if you haven’t already done so) that “commuting” includes:

* riding to/from an office building for a corporate employee;

* riding to/from meetings for a sales person or entrepreneur;

* riding to/from a coffee shop, library, co-working office, or other “third place” for a freelancer;

* running errands via bike for a stay-at-home parent;

* riding to school (elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges and trade schools) for children, young adults,  life-long learners and  teachers;

* riding to stores/restaurants/hotels as well as hospitals and other medical facilities for shifts that are not 9-5 in service-industry, hospitality, and medical jobs;

* and riding to civic events or volunteer opportunities for a retiree.

As a writer (author of Traveling at the Speed of Bike, and more), I “commute” every day all over metro-Atlanta (and beyond) to do the majority of my research via bike. I will only ride in the City of Dunwoody (which, along with its neighboring city, Sandy Springs, is the home of the largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the southeastern United States) if I am using BikeNoodle (as I am doing in the video above) because it is simply too dangerous otherwise (even in bike lanes because they do not meet NACTO guidelines for the volume and speed of motor vehicle traffic on the roads in which they have been added). (See Chapter 6: Noodle Lady in my book. Here is the USA link.) (See photos of #BikeNoodle on Instagram and Twitter.)

The good news? A multiuse path system for this road is kicking off tomorrow as the city council will vote to fund its design (I hope). As this project moves forward, all the different types of commuters mentioned above belong at the table. What’s more, increased necessity for assistive mobility devices such as wheelchairs, ebikes, hand bikes, and adult tricycles (see here for more about this) as well as the proliferation and popularity of additional micro-mobility devices such as cargo bikes and scooters means, frankly, that a multiuse path system benefits literally everyone.

By the way, there is no plan (not today, not in twenty years) to add a multiuse path to this other main road (shown in the video below) that leads to a community center, several places of worship, numerous schools, and the city’s main park, despite the community involvement meetings (which I attended) where most people said they wanted one.

I offer you a glimpse, yet again, of a different way forward. See here for the Dunwoody Woodline media release. This is possible, but you are needed.

* Additionally, this path would be used by people riding for exercise, shopping, going to restaurants, attending church, visiting the new park, or taking MARTA to go to the High Museum or the Atlanta Beltline or a million other places not related to their work. I, in fact, also rode this way to visit my mother at a rehab facility by the hospitals over the city line in Sandy Springs. The video below is from one of those visits. See a related post about scooters in the burgeoning ‘burbs here