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New Cycle Tracks Cause Excitement and Concern

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All daytime images courtesy of Angel Luis Poventud. Night images by Curbed Atlanta.

A decade ago, only the boldest of the bold would brave the mean streets of Midtown and downtown on a bike, but things are changing fast for Atlanta cyclists. The Midtown Alliance has announced that the second and final phase of the 10th Street Cycle Track is under way and should be completed by mid-June. Meanwhile, Wesley Brown of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) tells Curbed Atlanta that the Peachtree Center Avenue Cycle Track is expected to open near the end of May. These cycle tracks (which differ from simple bike lanes in that they separate cyclists from car traffic with flexible plastic bollards) are a huge step toward making Atlanta more bicycle-friendly, but some experienced riders are a bit nervous about the Peachtree Center project.

Before we get to the potential issues, here are the plans: In Midtown, the second phase of the two-way 10th Street Cycle Track will run along the north lane of 10th street between Charles Allen Drive and Myrtle Street and will use shared lane markings to and across Piedmont Avenue to connect with the existing 10th Street shared lanes. There will be a new pedestrian/cyclist-activated crosswalk with a flashing beacon at Myrtle.

The second project, the downtown Peachtree Center Cycle Track, will run north-south along Peachtree Center Avenue between Edgewood Avenue and Peachtree Street. The two-way, eight-foot-wide lane will have bollards, spaced 25 feet apart, to separate motorists from cyclists. That's the good news.

The bad news is that there are a total of 25 mid-block curb cuts along that route and more than enough loading docks and parking decks to make some riders from the Bike Commuters of Atlanta feel uneasy. Photos were posted of an 18-wheeler making deliveries to the Hyatt and blocking the cycle track, but Wesley Brown of CAP told concerned cyclist Brad Troxel that "Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District have engaged property owners and stakeholders of Peachtree Center Ave ... to mitigate roadway conflicts such as the one you identified at the Hyatt. The hotel has agreed to make changes to their loading operation on a daily basis to allow the cycle track to clear of loading vehicles. With very few exceptions, the expectation going forward is an unobstructed bicycle facility."

Riders also note that northbound cars will be turning left across the cycle track at Auburn Avenue, John Wesley Dobbs, Andrew Young International Boulevard and Baker Street — and we all know how good Atlanta drivers are at maintaining awareness of cyclists. Signs warning drivers to check for southbound cyclists are in the plans, as are green pavement markings in conflict zones, but will those be enough?

· PATH to Greatness: Connecting the City With Cycling Tracks [Curbed Atlanta]
· 'Cycle Track' Coming to 10th Street (Like, Soon!) [Curbed Atlanta]
· Bike Commuters of Atlanta [Facebook Group]