Olympian challenge

c2254376010a85296d66598cb89c4d23People. We did this before. Atlanta hosted the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996. I was here, and I was hired to write the Commute Connections suite of materials (including the newsletter pictured plus a separate four-page brochure for each of about eight different commute options) that employers used to encourage their employees to not drive motor vehicles during the Games.

The roads ended up practically empty. My husband telecommuted during that time; I was already self-employed and working remotely;  and my family (including out-of-town visitors) had no problem getting to events via mass transit. Granted, there were other problems (including the complete eradication of legacy neighborhoods, one-way tickets out of Palookaville* for those who were homeless, and a bombing) but transportation was an unexpected success story for Atlanta for those two weeks. (And those misting machines? Oh my goodness, please bring them back during our sweltering summers.)

Now, here we are 22 years later, just a day or two out from when people start pouring in to the City of Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII, and all indications lead me to think we are about to have a major transportation saga. And that’s not even considering the government shutdown’s effect on our nation’s airports and within the City of Atlanta as increasingly-strained federal law enforcement employees serve on numerous security details.

There are those of us who are happy to help by being #OneLessCar as we go about our business or attend events leading up to the Big Game. However, that may not be possible in a city that aspires to be one of the top 10 Bicycle Friendly Communities in the USA (and is already number 2 in the USA for scooter use). Here’s the email I just sent to the Georgia Department of Transportation (which released the road closure info) in an attempt to clarify, for sure, that bike riders are not welcome in Downtown Atlanta** for the next week, not even (ironically) on the brand-new two-way protected bike lane running alongside Centennial Olympic Park (which I believe was rushed to be finished — in time for the Super Bowl). I’ll let you know if I hear back, and I’ll try to bear witness when and where I can so that perhaps, next time, we can do this even better.

Hi. I am confused by your road closure information available online. When you refer to “road closures,” do you mean roads closed to motor vehicles, but open to those on bike, foot, scooters, wheelchairs and other micro-mobility methods? If so, do you have a map of bike parking availability, such as public racks/corrals and temporary bike valet locations? Is any effort being made to make dockless choices such as scooters and Jump ebikes more consistently available in the downtown area during the extended event timeframe? Are you incentivizing “alternative travel” in any way? If you can provide clarification, I can communicate it via my blog, TravelingAtTheSpeedofBike.comThank you.

Trust the journey,
Pattie Baker
* Reference to the movie, On the Waterfront 
fullsizeoutput_1d83* By the way, Mercedes Benz Stadium, the greenest sports stadium in the world (shown in the video above, with me Traveling at the Speed of Bike) has some excellent bike parking info on its website, but this may be unusable during the Super Bowl week and game. And speaking of Traveling at the Speed of Bike as a solution during transportation challenges, you may enjoy reading about metro Atlanta’s infamous Snowpocalypse and the even-more-recent time the highway collapsed, in my bookOf course, now I’m wondering if Streety, which is all dressed up for the Super Bowl, is even gonna be running . . .