Tuesday, February 17, 2009

March 3 - www.GeorgiaRidesToTheCapitol.org

From GoDeKalb.com (Hat Tip to InDecatur):

March 3: Bicycle Ride Promotes Alternative Transportation Options
Written by Aileen Harris
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 01:20

On March 3 2009, the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association (MAMA) will co-sponsor the Fourth Annual “Georgia Rides to the Capitol” event to raise support for the development of a regional-scale bicycle network of both on-road facilities and multi-use-trails, and cycling connections focused around major transit facilities and activity centers and near schools. “Transportation is not just moving cars, it's about moving people,” says Decatur City Commissioner Fred Boykin, owner of Bicycle South and one of the event organizers. “The majority of vehicle trips are less than two miles which is an easy distance to bicycle. If we can keep improving our local infrastructure to make it safe and appealing to cycle instead of drive, then we can help reduce congestion, improve our air quality, and encourage a healthy way to travel.” While many local governments fund bicycle and pedestrian projects and nearly $1 million in local, state and federal funding is programmed into both the Atlanta region’s short term Transportation Improvement Plan and the long range Regional Transportation Plan, “Current funding amounts do not even come close to accommodating what is needed as far as bike/pedestrian infrastructure,” says Regan Hammond, a planner in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Division. ARC is the planning agency that develops the regional transportation plans. “In Georgia, on average, 11 percent of traffic deaths involve bicycles or pedestrians but generally only 1.4 percent of federal safety set-aside funding goes towards bike/pedestrian projects,” said Lisa Safstrom, State Scenic Byways Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Transportation. “While bike/pedestrian projects are often thought of as frivolous or unimportant, given the region’s congestion, air quality, and obesity problems, providing more support for bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure could end up saving the state a considerable amount in the long term.”

The bicycle ride, which will have routes departing from the cities of Roswell and Decatur, attracts more than 1,000 cyclists and will culminate in a press conference on the Capitol steps with metro mayors, state legislators and other state officials speaking on the importance of funding bicycle infrastructure and other alternative forms of transportation. “The ride to the Capitol is my favorite bicycle ride of the year,” said Roswell Mayor Jere Wood, who will lead the bicycle ride from Roswell. “It's not only fun, it's a great way to demonstrate to the state that there is strong support for bicycling in Georgia.”

Bicyclists are estimated to arrive at the Capitol at 11:40 a.m. The estimated departure time from originating cities are: Decatur at 10:45 a.m. and Roswell at 9:45 a.m. The routes will vary in length and difficulty. Decatur will be 5 miles one-way, with some hills, and ridden at a slow pace. The Decatur route starts at the north parking lot of the East Lake MARTA rail station. Roswell will be 21 miles one-way, very hilly, and ridden at a 12 MPH pace. The Roswell route starts at Roswell City Hall. Novice and family (and even intermediate) cyclists are encouraged to ride the Decatur route or join the Roswell route closer to downtown Atlanta. Detailed route and time information can be found at www.GeorgiaRidesToTheCapitol.org

“The Georgia Rides to the Capitol bicycle event draws attention to transportation options in our communities,” notes David Crites, executive director of Georgia BIKES!, a bicycle advocacy program that spearheaded the “Share the Road” campaign. “Many Georgia cities and towns have the potential to offer an alternative to the car by providing connections that help and encourage folks to walk or cycle instead of drive. Pathways and trails (like the Silver Comet Trail) can connect communities while working to accommodate cyclists on local streets can link neighborhoods and downtowns.”

The bicycle ride is free and open to the public. Those who want to ride are invited to pre-register at www.GeorgiaRidesToTheCapitol.org. In addition to the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association, the 2009 Georgia Rides To The Capitol Day is sponsored by: National Multiple Sclerosis Society Georgia Chapter; North Georgia Bicycle Dealers Association; Southern Bicycle League; Hope-Beckham; Georgia Municipal Association; the cities of Atlanta, Decatur, Roswell, and Sandy Springs; bicycle companies Trek and Raleigh; bicycle stores Bicycle South, CycleWorks, Free-Flite Bicycles, and Roswell Bicycles; and bicycling interests Atlanta Bicycle Campaign, BikeCobb, BikeRoswell!, Georgia Bikes!, Ken Rosskopf PC, Southern Crescent Cycling, and Tony Serrano Century.

No comments: