The City of Atlanta announced Monday that it has been selected to host the 2019 PeopleForBikes annual Conference. The appointment highlights the achievements and progress made by the City to build a transportation system that is safe, convenient and affordable for all.

Launched in 1999 as Bikes Belong, PeopleForBikes is a national transportation advocacy organization that includes both an industry coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers, along with a charitable foundation.

Convening hundreds of local leaders and bike-industry representatives from across the U.S., this annual conference offers tools, ideas, and strategies to achieve broader community goals through biking.

“I am pleased to welcome the PeopleForBikes annual conference to Atlanta next year,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Incorporating quality bicycle transportation and infrastructure offers more options for our residents and visitors to navigate our beautiful city and perhaps to see it in a new and different light.”

Over the past three years, the Department of City Planning’s partnership with various city departments has accelerated the progress of expanding bikeways. During the PeopleForBikes conference, City of Atlanta staff will highlight local transportation developments which include:

  • Relay Bike Share, Atlanta’s first-ever public bicycle share program;
  • Bikeway infrastructure projects such as the Atlanta BeltLine, Path400 and Path Parkway, which was voted “Best Bikeway in the Country” in 2017;
  • Placemaking projects such as Broad Street Plaza, Cascade Heights Bus Shelter, and the Virginia Highland Parklet projects;
  • the Atlanta City Design, Atlanta Transportation Plan and the Cycle Atlanta Plan 2.0; as well as artist-based bikeway improvements which include the Mural Bike Rack program.
  • PeopleForBikes released a new City Rating System, which ranks Atlanta in the Top 20 “Best Places to Bike.” Atlanta scored particularly well in the ‘Acceleration’ category which indicates how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and increasing ridership.

“Being a bike-friendly city is a constant and consistent evolution,” explained City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane. “We’re thrilled and committed to implementing additional improvements including protected bike lanes, expanding Relay Bike Share and ensuring all residents have the option to travel safely and with dignity by bicycle.”

Under Keane’s leadership, many of the City’s bike accomplishments can be accredited to the dedication of Becky Katz, the City’s first Chief Bicycle Officer, who was hired by former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Katz was directly responsible for guiding significant municipal investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure with a diverse range of partners including:

  • the Livable Centers Initiative,
  • Atlanta BeltLine,
  • PATH Foundation,
  • Invest Atlanta,
  • Buckhead Community Improvement District,
  • Livable Buckhead,
  • Midtown Alliance,
  • Georgia Tech,
  • Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and
  • the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

Katz was also responsible for a number of activities related to bicycle transportation, including public outreach, project development, and oversight of the city’s Relay Bike Share program.

Last fall, Katz with the Metro Planning Commission issued the inaugural City of Atlanta Bicycle Annual Report; the report shared highlights about the City of Atlanta’s progress toward becoming a top-tier bicycle friendly city and includes ridership and bike share data, key 2017 bicycle infrastructure projects and bicycle planning initiatives.

Katz will soon pursue a Robert Bosch Foundation fellowship in Germany, ending her tenure as the City’s Chief Bicycle Officer. According to the Mayor’s Office of Communications, a search for Katz’s replacement is underway.

(Freepik.com)

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