My next free, self-guided bike tour* as a PeopleForBikes Ambassador and Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor was going to take place in the cute and increasingly vibrant city of Chamblee, GA — but the rubber-hits-the-road reality raises questions.
Biggest question: Are people on bikes even wanted in Chamblee? Signs on the Rail Trail say walking and jogging only (and there is no way I would be comfortable under Peachtree Industrial Boulevard without my bike — despite the inviting musical instruments, ping pong and foosball tables, and bocce court). Plus, it currently ends before you get to any of the local shops and restaurants in the revitalized “downtown,” and there is no bike parking anywhere (except one u-rack at City Hall down the road) even if I did decide to leave the bike and walk the rest of the way.
Especially concerning, drivers are VERY dangerously aggressive even in the 25 mph zone in the heart of the village. Unreasonable risks are required in order to buy an ice cream cone at the super-cute Frosty Caboose, especially for women (who studies show are passed illegally 3.8 times more and harassed more often — and yes, as I “took the lane” — as necessary, legal, and recommended — both these things happened).
Stay tuned as I read the city’s plans and try to find out what the actual intention of the Rail Trail is. I was excited to share a cute little route, like the one I created in the City of Norcross, GA (which has no bike infrastructure at all, except for bike racks, but you can still muddle through a welcoming mile or so) but now am concerned as I got, shall we say, a frosty reception.
I’m rooting for you, Chamblee, but for now I can’t include your city in my recommended routes. If things change, I would be happy to do so.
In the meantime, buses start running again from my city on April 24, and one of them goes from the main road near my home right to Frosty Caboose and the rest of Chamblee’s diverse restaurants. Maybe I’ll travel there by bus next time instead.
I’m getting tired of having to take a Leap of Faith that I’ll come home alive every time I ride a bike.
*See all tour routes here.