May 25, 2016

Bike-Pedestrian Plan – Walk, Bike, Thrive!


From sidewalks and bike lanes to the completion of a regional trail network, ARC’s “Walk. Bike. Thrive!” plan provides a recipe for a better connected, healthier, and more competitive region.

Increasing walking and bicycling in metro Atlanta means offering residents safe, comfortable, and convenient places to walk and bike. ARC’s regional bike and pedestrian plan establishes a regional vision and uses data-driven strategies to support local initiatives and decision making throughout the region.

The plan includes a regional active transportation strategy, as well as a toolkit to help local communities across metro Atlanta become more walk-and bike-friendly.

“Walk. Bike. Thrive!” Goals

ARC’s plan establishes ambitious goals in support of The Atlanta Region’s Plan to help the region become “one of the most connected and safest regions in the United States for walking and bicycling:”

  • Create walking and bicycling options for everyone in every community
  • Ensure safer and more accessible bicycling and walking in the region
  • Tie walking and biking improvements to quality of life, economic competitiveness, and health
  • Establish a vision for a Regional Trail Network
  • Develop a strategy based on compounding growth and relentless incrementalism— i.e. where do we start and what do we do next?
  • Use the region’s pivoting growth and fresh momentum so that in five years, Atlanta can market itself as one of the most walk-friendly and bike-friendly regions in the nation

Using a Focused Approach to Regional Walking and Bicycling

ARC employs five key strategies to increase the share of trips made on foot or by bike:

  1. Focus investments in communities and activity centers: many communities in metro Atlanta already support walking or bicycling for short trips. These include cities, activity centers, Livable Centers Initiative study areas, Community Improvement Districts (CIDs), and town centers. With close proximity to schools, parks, commercial areas, and transit service as well as connected streets and diverse housing, investments in communities provide measurable impacts and clear opportunities.
  2. Address safety and equity issues: not all parts of metro Atlanta are well suited for walking and bicycling. Investments throughout the region should focus on decreasing pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries as well as providing sidewalks and bikeways for populations that rely on walking, bicycling, and transit out of necessity. For more information, see ARC’s “Walking & Bicycling Safety Action Plan” supplemental report [due 2017].
  3. Work closely with transit providers: increasing walking and bicycling often means improving access to transit stops and improving the quality and quantity of transit service between communities so that walking and bicycling can be easily combined with transit for longer regional trips. For more information, see ARC’s “Bike to Ride” supplemental report [due 2017].
  4. Pursue a strategy of relentless incrementalism: increasing walking and bicycling in the region’s suburban and lower-density residential neighborhoods, as well as in auto-oriented corridors often takes time and considerable financial investment. ARC helps communities identify barriers to walking and biking one at a time and works to address them as opportunities arise.
  5. Lead the development of the regional trail system: regional trails serve as “walking and bicycling highways” for people who use them as transportation, or for fitness or leisure. ARC is working closely with state and local government agencies and non-profit organizations to expand the regional trail system. For more information, see ARC’s regional trail supplemental report – “Envisioning a Regional Trail Network: a feasibility report for an interconnected trail network in metro Atlanta” supplemental report.