Bike to Ride! Recognized for Outstanding Planning and Analysis

By: Kat Maines and Collin Chesston, Alta Planning + Design

Our Atlanta office was busy over the weekend!

Senior Planner Kat Maines attended the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Georgia Chapter’s Awards Gala, to receive an Honor Award in the Planning and Analysis category.

Alta worked with the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to develop Bike to Ride: An Idea Book of Regional Strategies for Improving Bicycling Access to Transit, which explores the common challenges to linking bicycle and transit trips and aspirational solutions to create a world-class bicycling experience.

“We are really excited for Alta to win the Georgia ASLA Honor Award for Planning and Analysis,” said Byron Rushing, ARC Bicycling & Walking Program Manager. “Clear strategy and evidence-based actions are critical to building safer, healthier, and more active communities in Metropolitan Atlanta. ‘Bike-to-Ride’ informs vital transportation decisions for connecting people across our region.”

The ARC initiated this project to improve active transportation connections to transit hubs for the population in the region that live and work within a five minute bike ride to transit. The agency’s previous analysis showed a disconnect between the number of people who live and work near transit but do not currently access transit by bike. ARC also wanted to expand the transit shed through improved bicycle networks adjacent to transit stations.

The report focuses on four strategies:

1. Improve roadways around transit stops and stations

2. Improve access to transit system at stops and stations

3. Mitigate transit and bikeway conflicts

4. Improve bike parking at transit stops and stations

The report includes proven infrastructure tools to support these four strategies, including key design features and typical application. The infrastructure tools are specifically designed to meet the needs of the unique Atlanta context, much of which includes suburban areas served by local and express bus service only. The report offers examples from other cities with bike and transit networks that support and strengthen one another, intended to inspire the local agencies of the Atlanta region to increase their local share of people who can choose to bike to transit safely, comfortably, and conveniently.

Unique project aspects to consider

Walk.Bike.Thrive!, the agency’s recent plan for walking and biking, documented that while a full third of Atlanta region residents live within a 5 minute bike ride of a transit stop, only 0.3% of people ride their bikes to or from transit stops. This finding highlights the fact that there are tremendous opportunities, as well as serious challenges, associated with increasing rates of bike-to-transit trips.

Rates of biking to and from transit stops are low in large part due to challenging conditions for bicycling along many of the major corridors that connect to transit, a common challenge posed to bikability. This project was unique in that it also faces other psychological barriers, such as mode switch logistics associated with accessing the transit service by bike, annoyance thresholds for added factors like adverse weather or poor pavement quality, and time thresholds that may make added travel time undesirable. The infrastructure solutions in the report are designed to overcome these psychological barriers by making connections legible and intuitive, accommodating all ages and abilities, and expanding bicycle networks to minimize out-of-direction travel.

“Bikes are well suited for shorter trips, while transit is good at supporting longer regional trips. Well connected and supportive bike and transit network can have an immense impact on the number of people in Atlanta served by high quality transit service,” said Kat Maines. “There is opportunity here for Atlanta’s sprawling region to reorganize around neighborhood and city centers, crossed by high quality bike infrastructure and trails. This project has helped spark discussion locally, regionally, and nationally about how these types of mega-regions can start to build more sustainable transportation networks that work for a variety of trip distances and purposes.”

Read more about why few people bike to and from transit, and how Alta is working to change that here. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter for daily updates.

For more information, check out the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Walk.Bike.Thrive! page here.

Creating active, healthy communities.

Creating active, healthy communities.