Friday, October 12, 2012

Atlanta's first, um, contra-track-path thingy

The Fifth Street bicycle lane has been a valuable low-traffic connection between Midtown West/ Georgia Tech and Midtown East/ Virginia Highland/ Old Fourth Ward (and now the BeltLine). But there was always the tricky spot at one-way W. Peachtree St where Fifth jogged and you couldn't travel eastbound on it without going the wrong way or on the sidewalk for half a block. At one point, Tech had a driveway that made the connection, but they replaced it with a plaza...

Now, there is a new facility to address this problem. Cyclists continuing east on Fifth follow a ramp that takes them upstream so they are aligned with the next segment of the Fifth Street bike lane using a reallocated portion of the sidewalk. It is being referred to as a cycle track, although it is different from tracks I have seen - it is marked with paint rather than separated by curbing or pavement surface, and it is along the back of the sidewalk. But it does get you where you need to go.

For westbound traffic, I'm told there is now a "Copenhagen left turn" in which you stop beside the bike lane and wait for the green light on the cross street. I'm afraid I didn't see it as I had merged over to the left lane before my turn, as usual. Lanes are marked with green paint and directional arrows through the intersection. It is a pilot project, so city and state transportation departments will try to learn from its performance.

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