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Nov. 5-6 Fall Camp-Out Registration!

The Broad River

Look at the weather it outside–it’s glorious–and perfect for a fun, easy fall camp-out!  Join us this weekend as we cruise up toward Danielsville and camp on the shores of the Broad River (well, close enough).  We have a new destination for the Fall Tour–we are riding to and camping at Camp Kiwanis / Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta.  We have reserved the Pavilion and the Nature Center; we’ll have a big field to camp and a kitchen to make dinner.  We will also have access to bathroom and showers! So fancy! Plus, the Broad River is just a short walk from the camp site.

Like our spring ride, we’ll be providing lunch and dinner; of course, you can bring your own food if you’d like.  The Fall Camp-out will be BYOB, but during registration you can pitch-in to a fund to make sure the campground is stocked.  We are in the process of finalizing the routes, we should have them up tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 1).  We will probably have different routes going there and coming back, but both will be about 30 miles.  As with all our camping rides, you will have the option of dropping gear at the BikeAthens shop (1075 W. Broad St.), and we’ll drive it up for you.  We are planning a 10:00am roll out if you want to ride with other folks.  You can also ride by yourself, or have friends and family meet you at the campground. (They still have to register.)  If you have questions–we’ll answer them at the Facebook Event Page!  Awesome! See y’all this weekend!

UPDATE: There are 2 heated cabins, with 6 beds each available for rent (12 beds total): 1st come, 1st served. If you want a cabin bed, it’s $10 extra, per bed. Pay upon arrival at the campground.  Send us an email or FB message to reserve your spot(s)!


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Living the Island Life

 

Athens-Clarke County and GDOT bring the latest innovations in safe-walking improvements to Milledge Avenue

Y’all have probably seen the minor construction on Milledge as you ride, walk, drive, run, and bus up and down the popular route.  After obtaining the proper GDOT permits, ACC has begun construction on an archipelago of cool refuge islands designed to make crossing the street a little safer (and it will also reduce drivers using the center turn lane as a high-speed passing lane).

Primarily, the median island provides a safe space to wait while crossing the street. No longer will people have to choose between dashing across all three lanes or waiting, unshielded, in the center turn lane.  Now, people will be able to cross one lane, wait “on” the island until traffic clears, and then finish crossing.

Safety Dance!

These refuge islands, however, also include a subtle design change intended to foster better situational awareness.  Look closely at the space cut into the median.

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Oriented toward on-coming traffic.

It does not cut straight across; it angles towards traffic.  This small tweak to the angle of the refuge space, orients us to face traffic.  Rather than turning ours heads 180 back and forth, as we wait to cross, the refuge island turns us toward traffic.  This will make it easier for people to see oncoming vehicles, and it will make it easier for drivers to make eye contact with people crossing the street. (Assuming of course that both parties are not looking at their phones. Seriously, folks, be present. DON”T USE A PHONE WHILE DRIVING OR CROSSING THE STREET.)  Safety lecture aside, these islands are the leading edge design and engineering.  Thank you to ACC and GDOT for funding, proposing, permitting (Milledge is a state road), and constructing these medians.  We know more Athens neighborhoods want & need medians like this.  Where would y’all like to see some these islands?

New curb cuts

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Macon Connects, with a pop-up bike lane network

Macon, Ga

This past weekend, Macon installed the world’s largest temporary bike lane network.  (Update: the Mayor is keeping the bike lanes up for the whole week!).  Volunteers worked tirelessly for a week to create 6 miles of new bike lanes, and a few more miles of shared street (with sharrows) to tie everything together.  For background, check out this short video from GPB: so cool!

With the world’s largest pop-up bike lane network only a short drive away, we had to visit.  Here are our pictures (click on the photos twice to see them full size).  For more information on the Macon Connects project, click here

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MACORTS Public Comment: Lexington Connectivity

From July 25-August 8, MACORTS, our local MPO, is accepting public comment on revisions to two planning documents (the 2015-2018 TIP and the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan) that touch on 3 projects:

  1. The Loop 10 / Lexington Interchange UPDATE (7.28.16): the proposed revision would accelerate the ROW-phase for this project from FY 19 to FY 17.
  2. “The addition of the SR 316 at Oconee Connector Interchange Project
  3. “and the deletion of the Union Church Road Improvement Project and Simonton Bridge Road Project.”

As a reminder, this is a partial view of what the new Loop 10 Interchange will look like.  Frankly, and we’ve raised this issue with GDOT, the project as currently configured will disrupt connectivity between the Firefly Trail and the soon to be built greenway “Waffle House Connector” (which will run between Grove St. and the Loop SB Ramps):

Does this crossing work for families?

Does this crossing work for families?

For full project map, see here: https://por.dot.ga.gov/projectInfo/122600-/PDF/122600_NEPA_PIOH%20Layout2015.01.29.pdf

On the plus side, Lexington Rd will include bike lanes from just east of the Ovation Cinema to just past Old Winterville Rd.  Unfortunately, as GDOT informed us last year, due to ROW restrictions, the bike lanes will only be 4 ft. (next to 9 lanes at the widest).

Again, here is the link to submit public comment. http://www.macorts.org/tippublic.html

 

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BikeAthens Headquarters

It’s only been about 10 days since we sealed the deal to move the BRP shop and BikeAthens HQ into 1075 West Broad, but we’ve accomplished a ton of work in that time.  Our wonderful BRP volunteers disassembled the existing, dilapidated office, creating 0.85 tons of “garbage burritos.” A process that also uncovered a pair of sandals, half a cricket bat, two baseball bats, and a load of old car keys.  In its place, we are slowly building up the new BikeAthens HQ.
Jason and Brian finish it off
For the first time since its founding, BikeAthens and the BikeRecycling Program will be under the same roof.  We will now have enough space to host meetings, full bike-safety education classes, repair workshops, and social gatherings (for example, the upcoming move-in / thank you party.)  This new space will more firmly tie us to the community, and it allows us to open our doors to you–our members and supporters!
With all our progress, there is still a lot left to do fully maximize the new HQ . While we’re doing our best to re-use and scrounge materials to keep costs down, there are some things that we really need to buy or get donated that are beyond our budget. If we can raise $4,000 we can really make this place incredible!
Among our needs are:
  • LED shop lights
  • rubber floor matting
  • primer and paint
  • drywall
  • infrared heaters
  • utility sink
  • steel office door and lockset
  • AC Unit
  • insulation and tile for the ceiling

Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Give

-BikeAthens Board of Directors & Bike Recycling Program Management Council

 

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2nd Annual Quarry Ride & Camp-Out

UPDATE: Registration is now closed

May 21-22: We couldn’t wait until August to head back to our favorite swimming hole; so in continuing celebration of National Bike Month, we are hosting our 2nd Annual Quarry Ride & Camp-out!  If you ride with us from the Bike Recycling Program Shop, it’s a beautiful 35 mile ride through Watson Mill State Park, ultimately ending at a private quarry with a campground, swimming, grills/campfires, and canoeing. The quarry is located outside of Comer, Ga. and features a gorgeous swimming hole, full-service camp kitchen (with running water, covered dinning area, working stove, fridge, electric outlets, and plenty of camping spots).   Just look at the pictures from last year!

Interested? Ok, here are the details. In many ways, this is a DIY event–we’ll be leading an informal ride that will roll-out from BRP at 10:00am.  The route is unmarked and there are no SAG stops, but we’ll probably stop for a snack break along the way (we’ll post a turn by turn queue sheet soon).  Some folks who have work obligations may announce a second wave that will ride up later in the day.  If you want to go full bike-tourer, we encourage you to take this opportunity to load up your bike and kick-off the summer bike-camp season in style.  However, if you bring your camping gear to BRP, we’ve arranged transportation, and we’ll gladly ferry your gear up and back.  Sack lunch will be provided for all riders.

35 Miles too far, or maybe you don’t think you can convince the whole family to ride?  No worries! If you and the family want to drive-up, cool!  The quarry has plenty of car-parking! If you want to create your own route and meet us at the quarry, awesome!

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Moving on up!

Y’all may have heard rumors recently that BikeAthens is on the move–now it’s official! After 8 great years in the Chase Street Warehouses, BikeAthens and the Bike Recycling Program are moving to 1075 Broad Street! More excitingly, we’ll be sharing the building with board member, and friend of the program, Pedal Driven Cycles (and we may also add a few other office-mates shortly).  Our new space will be home to the BRP shop & warehouse, and we will move the BikeAthens offices, to unify all our programs under one roof.   This allows us to create a central BikeAthens location, be more open to the public & volunteers, and host more educational classes & community events!   We are really stoked about the opportunities provided by our new location, but moving will not be easy!  Our tasks (many happening simultaneously):

  1. Prep our new space–clean out some weird clutter left by the previous tenants (baseball bats, bumpers, spark plugs), paint, and build  office space.
  2. Start triaging the current space in preparation for the physical move.
  3. Actually move all the bikes, stands, tools, parts, desks, and other related materials
  4. Set up the new space
  5. Celebrate and thank everyone who helped us move (more on “helping” part in a second ;-)
  6. Get back to work!

Clearly, this is a big project and we will need the help of the community to pull this off.   We aim to move-in as close to June 1 as possible, but the work will come in fits and starts; most likely with a couple of “all-hands-on-deck” days.  We’ve added a volunteer sign-up sheet below, with the tasks are delineated by your potential availability: 9-5, Weekends, Evenings, and “Any-Time.” As you can see, the sheets do not create an obligation for a specific date; they merely share your contact information and general availability with us.  As we create a more specific schedule, we’ll email you directly with specific times and tasks.  For example, if we plan to do some painting on a Tuesday night, we can email everyone on the “Evenings” and “Any Time” lists to let them know where and when we’ll be rolling up our sleeves!  Thank you all so much!

Current Sign-up Sheets

Title Date Open Spots  
Moving!!!! May to Early June N/A 6
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Why Chase St. Underscores the Need for an Improved Complete Streets Policy

UPDATE: Commissioner Melissa Link will likely introduce a Commission Defined-Option to address drivers’ concerns about the re-design of Chase St. between Boulevard and Rowe.  We appreciate her work on the issue; here is our take on the year-long effort to improve Chase Street for all modes of travel.

After a year of review, ACC recently released plans for new designs for Chase Street.  Near Chase Elementary, the designs included a crosswalk to serve students walking to school from the east; further down the street, the plans removed the center turn lane between Boulevard and Rowe. Staff presented this design after their professional analysis revealed the reconfiguration would introduce minimal delay, while creating space for bike improvements.  The previously suggested 4-lane to 5-lane conversion (2 travel lanes /  center turn lane / 2 bike lanes) between Rowe and Newton Bridge remained unchanged from the last round of public comment.  Not surprisingly, BikeAthens supports increasing the number of bike lanes in town and on Chase St.  Arterials without bike infrastructure carry a higher crash risk, and contradicts ACC’s mission of “facilitating a positive environment for individuals to obtain a high quality of life […] by providing innovating, high quality services and responsible stewardship of the community’s resources.”  In the next few years, new developments, like the Southern Mills, will bring even more people to the Chase St. area—people that will be expecting transportation choices.

At the April 19th Mayor and Commission Agenda Setting meeting, two residents of N. Chase Street worried about removing the center turn lane because of concerns the removal may make it more dangerous to enter and exit their driveways.  Now, we will not discount their experience, just as they would not discount ours.  So we have a terrible situation: people who bike on Chase risk being hit by fast moving traffic; people who live on the street think removing a shared center turn lane will place them at greater risk for a car collision as they enter and exit their driveways.  How can the Commission balance such scales?  Who must bear the brunt of the Commission’s final decision?

Ultimately, this dilemma reveals the limitations of the existing ACC Complete Streets Policy. Complete Streets aim to make our streets safer for all users.  If a street becomes safe for people on bike by making it more dangerous for people in cars, it is an incomplete street.  If a street can only stay safe for people in cars by shifting all the risk to people on foot and on bike, it is an incomplete street. Putting the safety of one group against the safety of another is not a solution. Simply suggesting people avoid the corridor altogether is not a solution.  Nor is is making the street so intimidating, people on bike simply avoid it (of course, some do not have a choice but ride everywhere). We can do better.

Complete Streets

ACC Complete Streets Checklist (PDF)

As ACC’s Complete Streets Resolution states: “ WHEREAS, Athens-Clarke County’s Complete Streets guiding principle is to design, operate and maintain Athens-Clarke County’s streets to promote safe and convenient access and travel of all users.”  (p. 5 emphasis ours. Note: the policy available online does not incorporate changes made in the adopted Commission Defined Option.) Or as similarly affirmed by the National Complete Streets Coalition: “Everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, race, or ethnicity, ought to have safe, comfortable, and convenient access to community destinations and public places–whether walking, driving, bicycling, or taking public transportation.”  The debate about Chase St. has fallen far from this ideal. If we had a stronger Complete Streets Policy, perhaps we could have created a stronger community vision, focusing on connecting Chase while remaining sensitive to the different community contexts.  If the Complete Streets Policy contained a more nuanced implementation plan, perhaps we would not find ourselves playing a zero-sum game even as the street remains incomplete.

In the end, we are left with a process that forces neighbors to ask the Commission to protect their safety by making the street more dangerous for others. This cannot be how we move toward promoting safe and convenient travel of all users.  Therefore, regardless of the final decision on the configuration of Chase, we hold to our vision of vibrant, walkable streets across all of Athens-Clarke County, and we renew our request to strengthen the Complete Streets Policy to ensure Chase Street, indeed all our streets, are safe for ALL users.

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Twilight Cafe Area Volunteers Needed!

Yep, that’s right! BikeAthens will be back at Twilight, hosting a Cafe Area for the 3rd time!  We’ll be watching the races from 5:00PM till the end of the Men’s Race.  It’s going to be epic, as always.

To organize such a fun event, we will need your help!  We are looking for volunteers to work “back of house” selling drink and food, and we will need a few folks at the door to handle tickets and wristbands.  Once your shift is over, all volunteers are welcome to stay and watch the race!

Current Sign-up Sheets

Title Date Open Spots  
Moving!!!! May to Early June N/A 6

 

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Top 5 Ways to Celebrate #BikeMonth (a little early)

Here are 5 activities to get you ready for National Bike Month.

National Bike Month officially starts May 1, but can’t wait that long so we are getting a jump on the festivities!  Just look at what we have planned for next week…

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