Create a safer Atlanta Beltline by providing a separate path for bikes and scooters

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City of Atanta: Please create a safer Atlanta Beltline by separating bikes from pedestrians with a new bike path, while moving forward with transit for the full Beltline loop.

Include a separate cycling path for bikes and scooters, while retaining a walkway for pedestrians and casual bike/scooter riders. (Walkways could be 2/3 narrower on new sections, with a bike path on the other side of a center transit route to avoid crossing in front of people boarding on the walkway side.)

The Atlanta Beltline has a multi-use path on one side. It's the most wonderful escape in the city, but it can also be stressful as children and dogs dart between bikes, e-bikes, scooters and e-scooters.

The 2005 Beltline proposal included transit with overhead wires and no automation features (no lidar, radar or cameras). It relied solely on drivers to respond quickly if people walked in front of vehicles. Technology has changed significantly since then, making it possible for bikes to safely share routes with automated electric shuttles. Overhead power is no longer necessary thanks to batteries, so bikes, Bird/Lime scooters and shuttles can now ride adjacent to transit vehicles.

Let's allow eScooters (Lime, Bird, etc) and eBikes (Jump, etc.) on the Beltline trails, but add restrictions based on vehicle noise level. Enforce slower speeds when near pedestrians. Require that silent vehicles make an audible, low decibel noise when approaching others.

Today the Beltine is forbidden from eBikes and eScooters, though these rules are not being enforced. Thousands of shared eBikes will arrive in the next couple years. The sooner rules are adjusted to allow more sidewalks to be shared (while setting aside special car-free routes for faster cycling and scootering), the fewer injuries we'll have from eBikes and eScooters in our roadways. Fortunately, Atlanta's new shared mobility ordinance will likely include requirements that apps provide a means to report bad driving and poor parking, with penalties charged in real-time to operators who clutter the right of way.

The Beltline width ranges from 36 to 60 feet. The Berne Street underpass south of Glenwood Park is 60 feet wide. The walkway could be separated from transit by a 2' to 30' grassy median.

Two approaches to consider:

1. Green space down center with tracks in grass. Bike and scooter path on opposite side from walkway. One foot of paved surface inside each rail to allow for shuttles where streets do not otherwise provide connectivity. Here are proposed dimensions for two tracks with pathways:

10’ Walkway
16’ Transit (Two sets of rails over grass)
10’ Bike path

These dimensions accommodate the Atlanta streetcar tracks, which are 5’ wide (62" including 2.75" rails).

2. A paved pathway could be used by the streetcar and shuttles, with a side walkway for bikes and scooters.

10' Walkway
26' Transit and Bike Route

Altering between these two approaches would allow for street-focused areas along the Beltline, like at Glenwood Park where retail stores border the rail route, and the walkway goes by the Glenwood Kroger. Sometimes bike and scooter routes will use nearby neighborhood streets to allow for wider walkways.

A Beltline shuttle from Jackson High School to ANCS Middle School would allow parents with kids in both schools to drop and run. Currently we drive through a maze of local streets.

Learn about the May Mobility Shuttle being used in Detroit.

Learn about the Toyota e-Palette Shuttle for in-transit markets.

Thank you for for considering. Please sign if you think this idea is worth pursuing and share with your friends, dog lovers, scooter enthusiasts, bike riders, the whole crew.

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