Georgia City Sets Standard for Introducing Bicycle Lanes
MACON, GA. – May 18, 2018 (philly.com) In an opinion piece on philly.com, a writer advocates for Philadelphia to take a page from Macon’s book and introduce bike lanes on its roads starting with a temporary bike grid.*
In 2016, the nonprofit group Newtown Macon completed a temporary bike grid in the city of Macon, Georgia. At a time when the city was strongly against spending public funds to build a permanent bike grid (which could cost around $25 million), Newtown Macon implemented a different type of grid, featuring temporary painted bike lanes, protective barriers, and bike counters. With a $500,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, the group constructed a grid cyclists could safely use but that could be easily removed if the city decided it was not working as planned.
Upon completion of the project, bicyclists, motorists, and city officials have been seen a shift in conversation around bicycling. The grid brought cyclists out in droves — streets with bike lanes saw an 854-percent increase in bicycle traffic — and helped members of the community understand how drivers and cyclists could harmoniously share the road, all without spending massive amounts of city money. By all measures, the project appears to be a huge success and a likely gateway to more permanent biking infrastructure.
People around the county have taken note and believe their cities might benefit from the same type of project. Though a temporary grid would be much more complicated and expensive to implement in a city the size of Philadelphia, members of the community have long been advocating for safer bicycle transportation. It might be worth the Philadelphia City Council’s time to consider the feasibility of such a project, using Macon as an example of its positive potential.
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