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Atlanta Erases Major New Bike Lane Segment, Replaces It With Parking

After a city installs a bike lane, there's typically some pushback for a while from people who object to the change. What's unusual is when a city loses its nerve and decides to remove the bike lane. But that's what Atlanta has done on a 1,000-foot stretch of Westview Drive. The effect extends beyond the 1,000 feet that were erased -- the whole bike lane corridor now has a significant gap.

The two-way bike lane was built with support from retailer REI and the national non-profit People for Bikes. Atlanta advocates were taken by surprise when the city abruptly replaced the bike lane with a parking lane last week, reports Darin Givens at ThreadATL, despite documented safety improvements:

Data from the City of Atlanta shows that in the past year that the bike lane existed, crashes (car, bike, pedestrian) decreased 38%! Even more compelling, crashes that caused serious injuries fell 68%! Local residents were safer because of the project.

The city had previously removed some plastic posts separating the bike lane from traffic, in response to nearby Shiloh Baptist Church, and allowed parking on Sundays and during church events.

That interrupted the bikeway at some times, but now this stretch is completely gone. A church spokesperson denied that it asked for the removal of the bike lane. Though the city is supposed to enact an ordinance if it erases a bike lane, that didn't happen in this case.

Givens writes that people deserve answers:

What are we saying to the residents who participated in the planning of this bike lane and others when we undo those plans? What are we saying to all Atlantans when our government doesn’t follow its own rules?

More recommended reading today: Urban Milwaukee highlights the city's impressive and varied collection of parklets. And Greater Greater Washington documents the precipitous decline of affordable housing in transit-accessible Alexandria, Virginia, over the last 17 years.

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