Okay, We’re a Bike-Friendly Town (Not Yet)

Bob moved to Atlanta with his family fifty years ago, and save for a few years spent in Athens and Knoxville, he’s lived here ever since. He and his wife reside in the city’s Margaret Mitchell neighborhood, a leafy enclave of Buckhead located north of Moores Mill Road and west of I-75. Bob has been a licensed realtor, mostly working in Atlanta’s affluent northern communities. “Generally speaking, it’s my car that gets me where I need to go,” he says when speaking of how he commutes throughout the city. “It’s about a mile and a half to the closest shopping center from my house. I supposed I could walk, but since there aren’t really any sidewalks, it would be a treacherous walk.”

As a real estate professional and long-time Atlanta resident, Bob believes the explosion of new residential developments over the past decade has worsened the city’s already unpleasant traffic situation. “I think with the quantity of new construction, particularly residential construction, and the density that we’re creating means there are going to be a lot more vehicles on the road,” he says. Bob also thinks that public transit isn’t really a viable option for most residents. “I don’t think our public transportation system is all that accessible for people. Even the bus routes have been cut back. MARTA just isn’t adequate to get most people where they need to go.”

With Atlanta’s bike share program now up and running, Bob thinks the city has taken a step in the right direction. “I would think that bike share would indicate [that Atlanta is] a more progressive city,” he says. “If a city has a bike share program, it means they’re thinking about alternative transportation and accommodating cyclists.” Bob was quick to add, however, that Atlanta needs to do a lot more than implement a bike share program to create a safe environment for the city’s cyclists:

“I don’t think you can just put bikes out around the city and say, ‘okay, we’re a bike-friendly town.’ That’s just not going to cut it. You’ve got to have the infrastructure.”