Bicycle and pedestrian (Bike/Ped) transportation systems refer to the networks of sidewalks and trails, and their related facilities, that permit non-motorized mobility. These are becoming more critical to communities not purely as an alternative means of transportation but are increasingly seen as a vital quality-of-life feature espousing physical activity, outdoor recreation, and spurring communal interaction. As these systems grow in importance planning for their expansion and sustainability grows equally important. Such systems are regarded as a facet of community infrastructure that needs programming, maintenance, monitoring, and long-term planning as the systems try to keep up with increasing demand.
For these reasons and more the GMRC supports local and State Bike/Ped efforts in multiple ways and champions the advancement of sidewalks, trails, and multi-use paths. Assessments and strategies for such infrastructure are incorporated into local comprehensive plans, plus the GMRC can also assist with grants for trail development, perform conceptual studies, and works with the State Department of Transportation in advancing programs and policies regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety.
For more about Georgia DOT’s bicycle and pedestrian, programming support, visit their website.
Regional Bike/Ped plan
The GMRC Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is a first step toward integrating bicycles and pedestrians into the infrastructure and land development processes throughout the region. The goal of the plan is to help realize the most expansive and efficient set of networks across the region, with several targeted corridors serving as regional–scale attractions. The projects identified within represent a place to begin planning efforts and feasibility studies for future implementation. While each local government will need to determine their own priorities in planning and budgeting for local projects, the GMRC can assist the State and local governments with regionally significant projects that require inter-governmental cooperation and coordination.
US Bike Route System
Bicycle tourism is becoming increasingly popular. To aid this growing phenomenon and improve the safety of travelers, the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a developing national network of public bike travel routes. The idea is to link routes (both on-road and independent trails) all across the country like an Interstate Highway system for cyclists.
The GMRC is supporting this effort by working to formalize and initiate Route 15, traveling north-south between Athens, Georgia, and the Franklin, NC, area. View a copy of the working USBRS Route 15 assessment here.
Safe Routes to Schools
One national effort designed to improve pedestrian safety in critical neighborhoods is the Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) program. SRTS is about ensuring schools within suburban and urban settings take every opportunity to provide access to their campus via sidewalks, trails, and bike paths. The program is also very keen to ensure these facilities are designed with safety as a priority. To help with this the program supports site audits to identify needs and opportunities, plus it promotes best practices to help schools and communities adopt policies and take actions that endow healthy pedestrian access.
The GMRC supports the State’s SRTS efforts by assisting with on-site walk audits, performing system-scale needs assessments, and by working with schools looking to install local programs.
For more about Georgia’s Safe Routes to School program visit their website.