Let’s say you’ve just finished some Christmas shopping in Buckhead, and while riding shotgun, you notice fresh bike lanes that have been implemented along ever-changing Spring Street in Midtown.
You start snapping photos, eager to boast about your city’s infrastructural sophistication.
All’s well until you see a Honda parked in the middle of the bicycle lane. Then a delivery truck. And another. And another. And another. In the span of 10 blocks, no less than a half dozen vehicles have blatantly hogged alternate-transportation lanes on the right shoulder, as if mistaking them for elongated parking spaces, negating their effectiveness as safety measures.
If you’re perplexed, you’re not alone, as Dan Hourigan, Midtown Alliance’s director of transportation and sustainability explains.
“For good reason, there’s plenty of confusion about whether the Spring Street bike lanes are done or not,” Hourigan tells Urbanize Atlanta. “In short, they’re not.”
The Spring Street bike lane project—an effort to help usher nondrivers on wheels more safely through the rapidly developing subdistrict—has been broken down into a few phases to capitalize on City of Atlanta street repaving, while dealing with a generally longer approval process for construction, Hourigan says.
Spanning from 13th down to 3rd Street, the initial phase has finished its repaving and has mostly been restriped. However, the installation of crucial components called flex posts and wheel stops in select locations is pending.
“As you’ve seen, cars and trucks are ignoring the striping and parking in the bike lane because the flex posts and wheel stops have not been installed,” Hourigan says. “Unfortunately, the timeline for completing this work is hard to pin down as the lane striping—the next thing that has to happen—is heavily dependent on warmer, dryer weather.”
Also designed by Midtown Alliance, the project’s next phase will see improved bus-boarding areas on Spring Street and an extension of bike lanes from 13th up to 16th Street, as constructed by the city.
Two-wheel travelers can also expect an upgrade of existing bike lanes on West Peachtree Street, extending from Linden Avenue (near Emory University Hospital Midtown) up to 16th Street.
That work will include Georgia Department of Transportation right-of-way, requiring additional studies and approvals, Hourigan notes.
Finally, the last phase will see bike lanes on both Spring and West Peachtree streets extended to 17th Street, where they’ll connect with existing bike lanes that lead west to Atlantic Station, or east toward Peachtree Street.
That phase will kick off once the mammoth Midtown Union mixed-use project removes its existing lane closure along 17th Street. Developers have said Midtown Union will deliver in the final quarter of next year.
• Midtown (Urbanize Atlanta)