Friday, August 24, 2012

Bicycle Lanes in Duwnoody


So for the first time ever I road a bike in Dunwoody last weekend.  No, it was not a bike ride to Marlow's for a beer; it was a leisurely ride to the Dunwoody Nature Center.  I wanted to see all the action over at the DNC and eat a hot dog from the Knights of Columbus booth.  A tipster informed me parking was full and traffic was heavy.  So instead of driving, I rode my bike.  I made it there and back without having cardiac arrest and without getting hit by a car. That's a successful ride in my book.

I used the bike lane on Roberts, and the bike lane made it the easiest part of the trip.  Chamblee Dunwoody Road from Spalding to Roberts was not bad, but not much of a designated bike lane there.

A big issue is coming up in regards to Dunwoody Parkway.  I support the Village Renaissance (Dunwoody Parkway) project as a whole, with details to be worked out.  The big issue on Dunwoody parkway is to add or not add two five-feet wide bike lanes.  It's obvious the current trees in the median need to go - they are not the best choice for median trees.  The root system is destroying the pavement.  Don't worry - we can plant new trees.  That's the great thing about trees - they are a renewable resource. All you do is plant new ones and they grow.  Simple.  In fact, if the council decides to cut those median trees one of the high school clubs could sell raffle tickets to win the right to fire up a chain saw and take out a tree.  Better than a car wash at Burger King that nets you $118 after 200+ man hours in a parking lot on a Saturday.

So should we include bike lanes on Dunwoody Parkway? It depends.  Will these bike lanes connect to other 4 or 5 feet wide bike lanes in the near future?  If yes, then go ahead.  If no, then put in wide sidewalks instead.

I don't think the bike lanes in Dunwoody should be built simply for the enjoyment of the hard-core bike group(s) in the area.  I know we have a dedicated cycling club of some sort here in Dunwoody.  They bike for fun and exercise.  We don’t need to build a million dollars of bike lanes for 20 or 30 guys.  If the city wants to commit to building things for the benefit of fun and excersie, let's do it in the form of athletic fields for kids.  

If the city commits to bike lanes then the bike lanes need to connect the neighborhoods to the restaurants, pools, schools, and the parks.  I’m not sure of the technical term, but I’ll call it intra-city bike lanes.  My point is that I think bike lanes in Dunwoody should focus on people moving around Dunwoody on bikes more so than trying to connect Dunwoody to some non-existent bicycle lane network in the north metro area. A family being able to ride bikes to a local business for an ice cream, burger, or a beer would reduce traffic and help keep the community active.  Connecting Dunwoody to Alpharetta or Buckhead via a bike lane does little for local families and semi-active adults, and serves only the desire of the hard-core bikers.

I think Dunwoody residents would appreciate seeing a long-term bicycle route plan for the city.  Questions to answer would include:

Can a Dunwoody North resident ride in a 4 or 5 foot wide bike lane from Peachtree Middle School to Dunwoody Village?

Can a resident in Redfield ride in a bike lane from Chamblee Dunwoody Road to Brook Run?

Can a rider in Village Mill ride in bike lanes all the way to Mellow Mushroom?

Can you get to the library from Springfield using bike lanes?

Can you ride from Kingsley to Los Rancheros?

Most Dunwoody residents are not going to ride a bike to Perimeter Mall.  No one rides a bike to a mall.  You go to a mall to shop and buy goods.  How you going to transport those goods on a bike?  

Most Dunwoody residents are not going to ride their bike to the Square in Roswell or to Virgina Highlands or to Hal's steak house in Buckhead.

But some Dunwoody residents would like to be able to ride to the Village or library or Brook Run or maybe to the future Georgetown parks. Piecemealing random bike lanes across the city is not a plan.  Let's see a map of long-term bike lane possibilities.