As the Atlanta BeltLine continues to take form, residents are welcoming the return of bicycles all around the city. Thanks to the continuous development of bike-friendly infrastructure and the arrival of bike share programs in local neighborhoods, commuting by bike is growing more popular among residents.
The next step forward: Connecting the bike ways into an extensive network that complements the rest of the BeltLine’s multi-use trails and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) public transportation system.
The Road to a Bike-Friendly Atlanta
Launched in 2005, the BeltLine project is a sustainable urban redevelopment initiative that aims to link 40 Intown Atlanta neighborhoods with a33-mile multi-use trail network.
Since 2008, five trails have been opened for public access, along with three interim trails available for recreational hiking and cycling.
Targeted efforts to develop bike-friendly infrastructure have increased in recent years.
Spurred by the $250-million Renew Atlanta Bond Program in March 2015, Atlanta has embraced the potential economic and social advantages of creating bike-friendly communities. The launch of the Relay Bike Share program a year later introduced 500 bike share units across 15 intown neighborhoods.
In 2017, approximately $8 million was spent on bike-related infrastructure, giving the city close to 116 miles of bikeways to date. An additional 10 miles are being developed for 2018.
2017’s notable bike-related projects include:
- Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail
The most recent addition to the extensive BeltLine trail network provides access to historic southwest Atlanta neighborhoods and over 40 acres of green space, including an urban farm.
- PATH Parkway
Named America’s Best New Bikeway of 2017, this joint project between the city government, Georgia Tech, and the PATH Foundation features a 1.5-mile tree-lined protected bikeway that connects to West Midtown, Georgia Tech, the Coca-Cola Company Headquarters, and the Centennial Olympic Park.
- Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard Resurfacing
Buffered bikeways were added along this road, connecting riders to the BeltLine’s Westside Trail, Westview commercial node, and the West Lake MARTA station.
Local nonprofit organization, Midtown Alliance, confirms that bicycle usage in Atlanta has grown significantly in recent years. Ridership along Midtown’s 10th Street, for example, increased by 225% from 2013 to 2017.
While the fact that local residents are embracing healthy and sustainable means of travelling is encouraging news, for Atlanta city officials it also means that more work needs to be done.
Authorities are doubling down on improving the connections between bikeways, MARTA stations, and the rest of the Atlanta BeltLine. Ultimately, these developments will streamline the local bike-riding experience, as well as make bicycles a practical alternative for one’s daily commute.
How Bikes Make Atlanta, GA Real Estate More Attractive
Urban advocacy blog, ThisBigCity.net, highlights how the growth of bike culture has helped local real estate markets grow:
- In North Carolina, prices of 40 properties adjacent to the Shepherd’s Vineway bike lane showed increases of at least $5,000.
- In Pittsburgh, with bike lanes attracting the growth of residential neighborhoods since 2007, commercial activity soon followed suit helping these communities sustain their growth.
- In Vancouver, 65% of agents used neighborhood bikeways as an effective selling point in 2010.
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition executive director believes that Atlanta’s growing bike-friendly communities will lead to real estate trends consistent with the previous examples.
“When people realize the savings of not relying solely on a car,” Sernasaid,“they’re much more inclined to pay a little more now in exchange for saving a lot later.”
She added that bike lanes are not only profitable for real estate sellers and local businesses, but also an important ingredient in building a strong sense of community – a crucial factor for discerning home buyers.