Yet another email to city hall

GOPR7116-4.jpgFor what it’s worth — here’s yet another in a long line of emails I’ve sent to my local city hall over the past decade (some of which I’ve featured on my blogs as well) to advocate for safe access for all. I sent this to the mayor and all city councilors. See my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, for more suggestions of how you can advocate where you live. 

Dear Mayor Shortal and Councilor Lambert: Thank you for participating in the Ride to Lunch with the Mayor this past Wednesday, May 8 in celebration of National Bike Month. Your support and public visibility matters. Here is a 30-second video compilation from the ride, plus 56 seconds of raw footage when we crossed Ashford Dunwoody to make that left to head to the bridge. I have published both in this post on my blog. If you would like to discuss tactical urbanism or additional micromobility best practices or opportunities (such as the #RedCupProject that I mentioned to you) to provide safe and reliable access for all, please let me know.

Here is the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Street Design Guide I mentioned when we discussed the possibility of Dunwoody taking a leadership position to create the first Protected Bike Lane Outside the Perimeter. We have at least four already-buffered bike lanes in our city that would be easy to transition to this desired level of protection as a pilot example, even if just for a short distance. Here are two examples of planter-protected bike lanes in the City of Atlanta (the first is from an AJC story covering an Atlanta Regional Commission pop-up project for Livability — I am the woman pictured). There are many other ways to do this as well, but I think the planters have an elegance befitting our city (they don’t have to be as big as those pictured in the second photo).
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FYI, below is its Contextual Guidance for Selecting All Ages and Abilities Bikeways. The book goes into precise guidelines for every single aspect. Please also consider taking the Sustainability-in-Action Bike Tour I created and lead for Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, or recommending others involved in these issues take it. There are several examples of nationally and globally-renowned bike infrastructure on the tour.
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If you are perhaps considering officially pursuing the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community certification (which includes bike skills education as a component), please note that I am a League Cycling Instructor (#5382) and I offer classes, specifically to women (who are underrepresented on bikes in our public spaces*) at a significant discount to what REI charges, in partnership with our Parks and Recreation Department. If interested, see here for details. I have also reached out to the Parks and Recreation Department to see if there is interest in pursuing a grant or allocating funds to mount a seniors-on-trikes program, such as both the City of Decatur and City of Alpharetta are doing. Here are my templated recommendations from the year I was hired to teach this class in Decatur.

 

Thank you for all you do, but please note that compromises that don’t meet best practices and proven solutions put lives in danger. I believe we are at a turning point, and you hold the power in your hands right now to make sure that what we actually do in our city with the intention of fulfilling our Comprehensive Land Use Plan objectives is not merely putting lipstick on a pig. People are depending on you for more than that. It matters. You matter.
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Trust the journey,
Pattie Baker

 

* Women (who make up 51% of our city) make or influence 80% of all consumer purchase decisions, and bike riders shop local more, and more often, than those in cars, so there is an economic incentive for cities to make it easier for women to ride bikes to get places (please note that women are more likely to make multiple short-distance transportation trips during the day, and that the overwhelmingly majority of motor vehicle traffic is for trips under four miles). (Note: In addition to bike lanes that do not meet NACTO guidelines, there is also severely inadequate bike parking in our city, including where we had lunch at this week’s event, which serves as an additional disincentive). Since women, in general, ride more slowly than men, it has been shown they are subjected to more and closer illegal motor vehicle passing and taunts to get off the road (please see the Epilogue of my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike  for a prime example). This serves to make women feel unwelcome and unsafe without protected access or other design considerations that protect vulnerable road users, for which we have continually voiced our desire (as have seniors and parents of both genders).

 

Regarding men: I see men riding on the sidewalk in the City of Dunwoody all the time, so women are not the only ones who are feeling unsafe. Anytime you see an adult riding on the sidewalk, it means the city has failed to provide safe access. As scooters and dockless bikeshare increasingly come to Dunwoody, our unsafe road access will become even more obvious (check your Uber app, as we did at lunch with the mayor —you will see on the map that they are already here. Also, John’s recent blog post makes this clear as well). (Note: I see them getting off MARTA with me all the time. See my post, Scooters in the Burgeoning ‘Burbs.) The time for informed action is now.

 

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