Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Cobb County SPLOST: $280M for Transportation, $0 for on-street Bicycle Facilities
I just had a WTF moment. But this future isn’t won for bicyclists in Cobb County. Yesterday the 4-year SPLOST vote was narrowly passed and there's not a dime dedicated to on-street bicycle facilities.
I’d be curious to know if anyone that rides a bicycle in Cobb County; or someone who might have an inkling to help the county and it's cities be more bike-friendly, or even belong to BikeCobb, an all-volunteer organization focused on bicycle advocacy and education:
a) knew there was a new SPLOST & vote for Cobb County & their cities; and
b) went to any public meetings or contacted any elected officials in Cobb or their cities to ask about incorporating bicycle projects on this SPLOST?
Because if you look at any of the SPLOST documents and do a search for BICYCLE, you won’t find any. There’s $280 Million in Transportation Funding over the four year period and I didn’t see a single entry for on-street bicycle facilities such as Bike Lanes or Cycle Tracks. I’d love to be big-time wrong, and maybe in some individual transportation project plan there’s bike facilities.
I’ve been living in Dunwoody for the past two years, turned over leadership of Bike Cobb last August and have not kept up with the goings on in Cobb. I didn’t even know there was a new SPLOST and vote held. Can someone please turn back the clock, get some residents of the county to attend the public input meetings and get some of the Bike Projects as defined in the 2009 Bike/Ped Plan incorporated into this SPLOST? How about getting yourself appointed to the citizen SPLOST oversight committee?
Does Cobb County and its cities think that we are supposed to NOT “Share the Road” and only ride on those intermittent 10-ft wide cement sidewalks aka “Multi-Use Trails”? Yes, those are nice for the casual and novice user once there is a network built that actually goes somewhere to benefit more than just recreational weekend riders or triathlon training, but we need some on-street facilities, too. Remember: Bikes are vehicles. I did a ride last weekend and crossed from DeKalb, to Fulton to Cobb. The only time I got honked at and "buzzed" was in Cobb…. This is not the message that needs to be sent – that we’re supposed to stay off the road.
Now fellow roadies, don’t try to give me the “I don't want bike lanes because they get dirty” argument. Do you really think that New York City just said “Share the Road” and magically they're well on the way to doubing their bicyclists out on the streets? No. They have the political will and are adding real AASHTO standard and recognized Bicycle Facilities and Accommodations … of ALL types.
I’m just one person and I’m already spreading myself too thin in the non-paying / volunteer bicycle advocacy world. I don’t know if this puts fire in someone's belly in Cobb County enough to take this on, act as a "Champion” and see about us getting some on-street bike facilities…Otherwise, let’s just ride back & forth on Columns Drive on the weekends, or just stay out of Cobb to go bike riding.
I apologize in advance for butting in on your problem in Cobb. If you folks have been active in the SPLOST process and nothing came of it, that sucks. Did anyone at least talk to the County Commissioners? In the future, why not “circle the wagons”, use the Bike Cobb organization to get the word out and take a call for action?
The next step is up to you.