Public Comment on the 2013 – 2016 TIP

Below is a public comment letter BikeAthens submitted June 5, 2012, on behalf of BikeAthens’ membership to MACORTS, our metropolitan regional planning organization.  This letter will affect transportation project selection for the largest pot of funding available from the federal government.  The geography includes the MACORTS area (Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation study), and the list of projects, partially funded, is called the  Transportation Improvement Program:

Submission of Public Comment from BikeAthens

for the 2013 – 2016 TIP


 The following TIP projects stand out to provide needed improvements to our diverse transportation infrastructure and livability of Athens.  Per the Planning Factors MACORTS abides by via the SAFETEA-LU law, Section 5303 (metropolitan) and Section 5304 (statewide) of Title 49 of the United States Code, “[MACORTS] …shall…provide for consideration and implementation of projects and strategies…that will:

  • …(B) increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users;…
  • (D) increase the accessibility and mobility of people …
  • (E) protect and enhance the environment…improve the quality of life…
  • (F) enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes…for people and freight.”

 BikeAthens wishes to expressly support these specific TIP planned MACORTS projects:


 1.  Greenway Enhancement in Athens-Clarke County / Greenway Extension to College Station Road (TIP earmark)

            Description:  This project will provide an extension of the current Greenway along the east side of the North Oconee River from Oconee St. to College Station Road.  Bridge rehabilitation will be included on the vehicular bridge over the N. Oconee River.

 2.  Bike Trail in Athens Clarke County / Rail to Trail (TIP # EB-17)

            Description:  This project would provide for the conversion of the abandoned rail line to a multi-use trail connecting the Multi-Modal Center to Dudley Park and to the existing bicycle facilities along Barnett Shoals Road

 3.  Lump Sum ENHAN (TIP # LUMPL220)

            Description:  Federal Funds are available for STP Enhancement Projects.

 4.  Safe Routes to School Program (TIP # LUMPLU10/20/30)

            Description:  Federal and state funds available for the Safe Routes to School program for the MACORTS area. 

 5.  College Station Road Bridge over North Oconee River (TIP # B-1)

            Description:  Reconstruct/improve bridges to improve vehicular safety and to accommodate the development of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. 

 6.  All locally funded projects (SPLOST and General Fund) for bicycle, pedestrian, greenway, and transit users.

 BikeAthens requests the following changes to these projects:


 1. Old Hull Road (TIP # R-1)

            Description:  Widen from North Avenue to 4th Street to a 3-lane typical section with a 2-way turn lane. 

            Requested Change:  Add bike lanes and sidewalks, linking these commercial and residential areas. 

 2.  Mitchell Bridge Road Widening (TIP # R-4)

            Description:  Widen Mitchell Bridge Road to 3 lanes from Atlanta Highway to Athens West Parkway and provide for bicycle and pedestrian facilities.  Intersection improvements at Athens West Parkway are included. 

            Requested Change:  Also provide for additional bike lanes and sidewalks on the northern section of Mitchell Bridge, from Tallassee Road to Athens West Parkway. 

 3.  Lump Sum, Surface Transportation Program – LS30 (TIP # LumpLS30)

            Description:  Federal and State Funds are available for Safety Projects [on state routes].

            Requested Change:  Utilize these funds to mitigate notoriously unsafe bicycle facility routes with standard mitigation methods, as applicable, such as bike lanes, road diets, etc., per the 2008 GDOT Bike/Ped Safety Action Plan’s prioritized list of unsafe roads for bicyclists in Georgia (p. 24):  Prince Avenue, Baxter Street, W. Broad Street, Oconee Street, and Broad Street.  

 4.  Whitehead Road and Tallassee Road intersection improvements

            Description:  This project will improve the existing intersection by adding turn lanes and a traffic signal. 

            Requested Change:  Add bike lanes and sidewalks within this new intersection. 

 5.  Tallassee Road at Lavender Road realignment

            Description:  Realign the intersection to a typical 90 degree intersection with turn lanes as warranted. 

            Requested Change:  Add bike lanes and sidewalks within this new intersection. 

 6.  From the LRTP:  Reconstruction of Tallassee Road Bridge (B-2).

            Description:  Allows for 2 standard travel lanes, plus bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

            Requested Change:  Add this project to the TIP. 

 BikeAthens asks for the following changes to be made to the MACORTS public involvement process:

  • Seek out populations currently underserved by and underrepresented in the planning process
  • Provide a seat for BikeAthens, the only organization in Athens committed to Transportation Choices, on the MACORTS Technical Coordinating Committee.
  • Like many other MPO’s across the country, establish a Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee or a Citizens Advisory Committee to obtain true public input in developing a safer and more accessible bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure system for the nonmotorized user within the MACORTS boundary.