The construction equipment that has shown up at the corner of Williams Street and John Portman Boulevard marks the start of something great for bicycle enthusiasts, a cycling track that will run from Piedmont Avenue to Centennial Olympic Park. The Portman Cycling Track will convert the northern-most lane of Portman Boulevard into a separate lane designated for bikers and separated from car traffic by flexible plastic delineators (the difference between a cycling track and a bike lane), making biking seem way less like a death wish. While that half-mile stretch alone doesn't seem so huge, the PATH Foundation project connects PATH's Stone Mountain Trail and oh, the places you'll go with a lane like that. By the end of next year, you'll be able to ride from Stone Mountain and the Eastside Beltline Trail into Centennial Olympic Park and other areas of downtown on a dedicated cycling lane.
The Portman Boulevard project will also include sidewalk repairs, landscaped tree planters, storm water infrastructure and upgraded street lights and is expected to be wrapped up in about 18 months.
Similar lanes will be built along Peachtree Center Boulevard between Edgewood Avenue and Peachtree Street, on Tenth Street between Charles Allen and Myrtle Streets and on Fifth Street between Georgia Tech and Peachtree Street. PATH is also looking at a combination trail/cycle track between West Midtown, Georgia Tech and Centennial Olympic Park. The goal is for the park to provide a home for Atlanta's forthcoming bike-share program as well as a bike depot. The PATH Foundation claims that, "All of this will make Atlanta one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the U.S. and should dramatically increase bicycle commuting in the city."