Atlanta bicyclists fed up with what they feel is a dangerous intown corridor have planned a peaceable but relatively slow-moving demonstration for Friday’s morning rush hour.
The grassroots gathering, dubbed “Rush Hour Slow Roll,” will travel westbound on DeKalb Avenue from Kirkwood and Lake Claire to Inman Park.
The intent is to call attention to a need for “complete streets” safety improvements, such as protected bike lanes, on a route that many non-drivers avoid, fearing vehicle speeds and a disconcerting number of crashes, according to an announcement circulated Thursday.
Crowd expectations weren’t estimated, but participating cyclists are expected to gather at 7:45 a.m. just south of DeKalb Avenue, at Wisteria Way and Rocky Ford Road, and then pedal west to Hurt Street.
According to organizers, the demonstration is meant to send a message to Atlanta City Councilmembers that Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST dollars should fully fund the transformation of DeKalb Avenue into a complete street—thereby rejecting a final project list and funding breakdown revealed last month.
The council is expected to vote on that rejiggered list of infrastructure fixes and enhancements in coming weeks, after a funding miscalculation of some $400 million emerged last year, requiring a shift in priorities.
The Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST team opted not to fund the DeKalb Avenue complete-street overhaul in final recommendations to the City Council Transportation Committee, despite three years of community engagement that showed extensive neighborhood support, according to Bennett Foster, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition policy and campaigns manager.
Current plans call for removing DeKalb Avenue’s so-called “suicide” reversible lane and resurfacing lanes notoriously riddled with potholes.
Foster pointed out in Thursday’s announcement that his agency is not organizing the “Slow Roll,” but he stressed that neighbors along DeKalb Avenue are “frustrated by the lack of progress” and the recent news “that three years of public meetings...yielded a conventional resurfacing project that preserves the status quo.”
Foster pointed to Renew Atlanta statistics that counted 169 injuries on the east-west corridor between 2013 and 2015—and as many as 500 vehicle crashes last year alone.
Organizers noted that anyone who doesn’t feel safe biking DeKalb Avenue is invited to meet at Inman Park’s Proof Bakeshop to show support. Riders are expected to gather there by 8:30 a.m.