Pro-bicycling Atlantans have a new champion in their fight to make the city a word-class, human-powered transit hub, and anti-bike-lane detractors have an official lighting rod. For the first time in Atlanta history, the city has hired a Chief Bicycle Officer — an experienced strategist named Becky Katz, who will start her duties next week, Mayor Kasim Reed's office announced today. On a broad scale, Katz's appointment "will support Atlanta's efforts to achieve national recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community and to become a top 10 city in the U.S. for cycling," officials said. Katz will work alongside city planning and development departments and the Georgia Department of Transportation to basically put bicycling facilities at a premium in roadway maintenance and capital projects — and goodness knows there are plenty of those puppies in the pipeline.
More specifically, Katz will be responsible for "a wide range of activities related to bicycle transportation, including planning bicycle projects to completion, public outreach, project development, grant writing, implementation of the city's bike share program and ensuring new development is consistent with Cycle Atlanta and the Connect Atlanta plan," officials said. She'll also be in cahoots with Invest Atlanta, to bolster "bike projects that advance Atlanta's economic competitiveness."
Katz has more than 10 years of experience in these realms and currently serves as project manager at Park Pride, officials said. Hizzoner sounds positively giddy about the appointment — and confident the ATL is on the path to two-wheeled glory.
Said Mayor Reed, in a press release: "Katz is joining an administration that is energized and organized around the many opportunities before us to make Atlanta the most bikeable, walkable, livable city in the Southeast."