Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’

CHOMP

Tomorrow Cabbagetown will host what is inarguably the city’s best festival of the year – that’s right kids, it’s Chomp and Stomp time! As the website says, what’s better than chili on a sunny November afternoon? Oh – chili and beer and music in the coolest, most welcoming neighborhood in the city, that’s what.

Things will get kicked off in the morning with a 5k (my participation in this will be sitting on my porch drinking coffee and blasting music for the runners), then chili starts being served exactly at noon. You’ve got about an hour to taste the individual entrants’ chili, a few more for the restaurants. Spoons are $5.

This year it’s bigger than ever before, which means more celebration, more chili, more vendors and volunteers and revelers, and more street closings. So if you’re headed our way, I’d say don’t bother driving. They’ll be running free fur buses between the MLK Marta station and the festival, and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will have a bike valet. You might be able to park in Inman Park, but honestly, after all that chili you might want to go for a little walk or bike ride anyway.

Every year it's the most gorgeous fall day. Thanks to jramspott on flickr for the photo.

One more change this year: thanks to Milltown Arms, we are finally able to stop using the Styrofoam chili cups and plastic spoons! They provided compostable alternatives, which is huge, but the organizers are asking for help because no one ever puts things in the correct bin. So I’m helping spread the word – CHILI SPOONS AND CHILI CUPS GO IN RED BINS. Red. Bins. Thanks.

Here’s a map with all the details, or you can check out the Chomp and Stomp website.

I will be pouring Sweetwaters in Esther Peachy Park (the little one at Powell and Wylie) at 3:00, so swing by and say hello!

Atlanta Streets Alive – Again

ASA fall posterIf you missed it (or had a great time at) the first one, there’s another chance to stroll the center city at Atlanta Streets Alive tomorrow, October 17.

The 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot is the same as in May, but the street closures are a little less ambitious this time. Activities will be centered on Woodruff Park and Hurt Park, and along Edgewood Avenue between Peachtree and Raldolph Streets. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition-led bike loop is back too, this time at 4.4 miles.

Even if you’re not into biking, skating, jumping, hula hooping, drumming or dancing, ASA will be a chance to sample the wares from several Atlanta Street Food Coalition members’ food trucks, with plenty of ensembles providing music to eat by. And all on a day when the high is expected to be around 75, rather than 95. Can’t beat that.

Does anyone actually WANT to share the road?

Thanks CL ATL for the photo from Critical Mass a few months ago.

A friend of mine, Jim, posted yesterday about the endless bike versus car debates, sparked by the latest “SUV plows through group of cyclists” news story, this time in Augusta. (Okay, so actually that’s the first time I see a story just like this one, but in fairness, you do read about SUVs hitting single cyclists all the time).

The size of Atlanta’s cycling community apparently jumped 111% in 2009, and according to my personal anecdotal evidence, there are a lot more bikes out there than there ever were.  I see a lot more inexperienced riders flying down the sidewalks or not positioning themselves to be visible to traffic, but I also see a lot more visible, safe, cautious commuters and people just going places.  It’s an exciting time, I think, especially as the weather gets to be a more reasonable temperature for biking and people rediscover how frigging fun just running errands can be.

Jim’s concern (and honestly, the concern of anyone in the country who bikes with any regularity), is the disconnect between humans in automobiles and humans on bicycles. Both are viable means of transportation, but we tend to separate into groups and then villianize each other. As Jake the commenter in Jim’s blog points out, each side sees the worst and most egregious member of the other side as representative. The vegan jerks who blow through red lights and swerve around moving cars, with their Toms shoes and clouds of smug – those are the people I assume everyone’s up in arms about. Oh, them, or the roving bands of goo-eating spandex clad men with their clippy shoes and smooth legs. (To my friends who vaguely fit in one or the other of these categories… sorry, but you know it’s true).  And on the other hand, when I’m on a bike, just to be on the safe side, I assume that every SUV is driven by someone who is late, angry about it, drinking coffee, on the phone, and putting on makeup/shaving, all very small things that put my life in serious danger. What’s really fun is that since these are the representatives that leave comments on every news story, generally the flame wars are loud, angry, stupid, and long-lasting.

I think it’s pretty obvious that people need to show more respect to each other, but I don’t see an obvious solution to Atlanta’s (or the country’s) car-bike faceoff. I assumed it was a simple need for infrastructure – and I do still think dedicated bike lanes would encourage more people to bike, which would create more hybrid bike-car users who recognize both sides of the issues on the streets, but it clearly doesn’t stop there. What else can help?

Zero Dollars for Biking in Atlanta?

Ah, crap, I’m a little last-minute on this, but this one’s it’s worth ten minutes of your time!  As reported earlier, the transportation legislation this year has divided the state up into 12 regions, and each region will vote (yea or nay) on a list of transportation projects and their accompanying 1% sales tax. TODAY is the last day to submit your comments to the Atlanta Regional Commission, who has developed the first bit of the first bit of this list. See details here, and the criteria for the list here (PDF).

My concern, which is cited more eloquently and with more detail at the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition here and here, is that they’ve set aside a whopping 0-5% to use on non-motorized projects.

Record numbers of Atlantans are hopping on bikes.  25% of our trips are made within a mile of the home and 40% are made within two miles – these are distances that, barring extreme temperatures, we should almost always bike. Or at least they are distances for which we should have the option to safely and comfortably bike.  Each of the 25 or so bicycles locked up outside my office represents one less car, less wear and tear on the roads, less pollution, more vibrant communities, healthier citizens, and less sprawl. I cannot imagine not encouraging this sort of transportation.

The culture is changing, and we need our infrastructure to keep up! All this to say that a 0-5% allocation for bike and ped programs is not acceptable for the Atlanta region to do so. Other cities (with which we are competing for jobs and investment) are adding bike lanes, installing bike racks, and encouraging alternative means of getting to work, and I worry that Georgia is stuck in a paradigm of an unsustainable, auto-focused transportation network. I ask you to check out the criteria the ARC has posted, and consider sending off a quick email to let them know how you feel about the future of transportation in Atlanta.

(I recognize that this may be as simple as “Don’t tax us anymore!”, which is another correct opinion. Make your voice heard!)

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