The suburb-city where I Iive fully admits that “walking or biking along this busy road in its current state is nearly impossible” (see the summaries/visuals below). A “commuter trail” (please see my definition of commuter here), consisting of a two-way protected cycle track and a multiuse path (hello, scooters!), using a combination of hotel/motel taxes and federal funds, has been approved for a section of this road. Design is still underway, and construction won’t start for two more years. This is great news, of course. It’s a definite step forward that may finally show people what’s actually possible. However, it’s not enough, and not fast enough.
Quick aside here (because I know you’re sick of reading about this topic, and I’m sick of writing about it): I’m losing interest in spending my nonrenewable resource of time sharing my rubber-hits-the-road truth locally when my city’s recently-updated Master Transportation Plan won’t enable safe access for the majority of residents to supermarkets, schools, City Hall, the mall, parks, and anywhere after dark in twenty years. (Here’s the media release I’d love to see instead.)
However, I know that silence equals death in so many ways in our society, and I refuse to be silent since my documented experiences may be helpful to someone else down the line, including in a court of law following an avoidable catastrophe. I see increasing numbers of people riding bikes in the parks (bravo to Dunwoody for the almost-four-miles of lovely recreational parks trails) and it’s only a matter of time before they actually try to go somewhere (such as after the bridge to the business/retail district across this creek opens this month). Their lives will be at risk. This is no small matter.
The city is now on record for admitting the inaccessibility of this road, and is also on notice regarding many other roads in this supposedly family-friendly, business-friendly city where access-for-all via multiple transportation modes is a core tenet in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
To be sure you are following the letter of the law while Traveling at the Speed of Bike, consider taking one of my classes (please note that 20% of the heavily-discounted fee goes to the City of Dunwoody to improve bike safety for all). If anything were to happen to you while riding a bike here, please contact a lawyer who specializes in bike law. He or she may want to make an Open Records Request to City Hall for emails sent over the years alerting city leaders to these dangers. They know about them. In many cases, they are doing nothing or waiting too long to take action (including innovative, affordable solutions that follow Best Practices of elsewhere to immediately prioritize vulnerable road users — for instance, see The Big Jump projects from People for Bikes, plus here are four buffered bike lanes that currently exist in Dunwoody that could become the first protected bike lanes Outside the Perimeter in Metro Atlanta right now, today). The list at the top of this post is the list in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, for known, documented unsafe issues here in Dunwoody, GA, USA. Photos below show examples of infrastructure that does not provide safe access.
We can do better. In fact, we must.