City planners in Atlanta, Georgia, are getting excited about starting a bike-sharing plan, pointing to a study that suggests it might just work there. The article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was revealing:
Despite metro Atlanta’s car-centric reputation, bike advocates believe [that] reduced gas costs, connections from buses and trains to jobs centers and the opportunity to burn a few calories while seeing the city on two wheels would prove appealing if bike-sharing goes mainstream. [Emphases added.]
“Car-centric” may just be an understatement. Fodor’s Travel Intelligence outlines the hazards facing travelers to Atlanta, which is laced with heavily traveled interstate highways populated with crazy drivers:
The city is encircled by Interstate 285. Three interstates also crisscross Atlanta: Interstate 85, running northeast-southwest from Virginia to Alabama; Interstate 75, [one of the ten most-congested interstate highways in the United States] running north-south from Michigan to Florida; and Interstate 20, running east-west from South Carolina to Texas.
Some refer to Atlanta as the "Los Angeles of the South," because driving is virtually the only way to get around. Atlantans have grown accustomed to frequent delays at rush hour — the morning and late-afternoon commuting periods seem to get longer every year. The South as a whole may be laid-back, but Atlanta drivers are not; they tend to drive faster and more aggressively than drivers in other Southern cities. Rarely do Atlantans slow down at a yellow light.
Nevertheless, city planners “believe” that saving gas will offset the hazards, while giving those who survive “the opportunity to burn a few calories” and should “prove appealing” to them, but only “if bike sharing goes mainstream.”
Atlanta wants to keep up. Josh Mello, one of the bureaucrats excited about the plan, says: “Given where our peer cities are ... we could easily fall behind ... if we don’t move quickly.”
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