GDOT traffic engineer addresses the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting.
GDOT traffic engineer addresses the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is planning a final town hall meeting on the proposed re-striping of Peachtree Road – including the addition of bike lanes – on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Shepherd Center. If last night’s Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting is any indication, it will be a barn burner.

GDOT state traffic engineer Andrew Heath got an earful from a standing room only crowd of residents opposed to bike lanes on Peachtree Road. They encouraged the GDOT to come up with another alternative.

BCN President Tom Tidwell questioned whether the GDOT was “pandering to the bike lobby,” while other residents blamed the Buckhead Community Improvement District – and specifically its executive director Jim Durret – for pushing the bike lane option despite community opinion.

Heath said the GDOT looked at a number of plans and even built a computer simulator of Peachtree to monitor traffic flow before it arrived at the Peachtree Battle Hybrid Alternative. Under this plan, there would two traffic lanes north and south, a center turn lane and bike lanes on either side from I-85 to Peachtree Battle. Beyond that point, the road would shift to three southbound lanes, two northbound lanes and a center turn lane to Maple Drive.

Heath said traffic models showed removing the bike lanes at Peachtree Battle would help improve traffic flow wile giving cyclists access to the nearby Atlanta BeltLine trail. He said a similar “road diet” on Ponce de Leon Avenue had seen a 25 percent decrease in accidents in the past year. Heath said adding the turn lanes on Peachtree Road would decrease crashes by up to 20 percent.

Residents at the BCN meeting welcomed the turn lanes, but the conversation kept returning to the bike lanes. One resident said she was concerned about making right turns for fear she would hit a cyclist. “How many people check their right side mirror when making a right? Who has the right of way in that situation?”

“If there is a bike lane, then cyclists would have the right of way,” Heath responded to jeers and boos from the audience.

Another resident who lives in a Peachtree Road condo and who also described himself as a cyclist said he didn’t believe bike lanes were right for the corridor either. He suggested installing a center median and turn lanes rather than bike lanes.

Others said they were concerned about how narrow Peachtree is and the fact that there would be no dividers between the traffic and bike lanes.

District 8 City Councilmember Yolanda Adrean said she believed the GDOT needed to go back to the drawing board and find another solution, while At-Large Councilmember Mary Norwood said she believed there needed to be more focus on wider pedestrian sidewalks than bike lanes.

Another audience member called for a show of hands from residents in attendance who did not want bike lanes on Peachtree Road. The majority of the room raised their hands.

Heath encouraged the residents to attend the Oct. 29 town hall meeting and bring their concerns about the bike lanes.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

20 replies on “Buckhead residents voice opposition to bike lanes on Peachtree Road”

  1. “Jeers and boos” at hearing something about driver safety that every single person on the road should already know. What childishness.

    Also the “bicycle lobby” is an absolutely hilarious concept. I wonder how many local politicians the bicycle lobby can afford to pay off?

  2. “Jeers and boos” at hearing something about driver safety that every single person on the road should already know. What childishness.

    Also the “bicycle lobby” is an absolutely hilarious concept. I wonder how many local politicians the bicycle lobby can afford to pay off?

  3. You mean, I’m going to have to put my phone down, stop texting and check my blind spot before turning right! How do you expect me to do that? This is unacceptable!

  4. You mean, I’m going to have to put my phone down, stop texting and check my blind spot before turning right! How do you expect me to do that? This is unacceptable!

  5. I live just off Peachtree in Buckhead and would love to have some bike lanes. These idiots do not represent most people in the area who are sick to death with not being able to walk/cycle safely anywhere without nearly getting killed by selfish drivers.

  6. I live just off Peachtree in Buckhead and would love to have some bike lanes. These idiots do not represent most people in the area who are sick to death with not being able to walk/cycle safely anywhere without nearly getting killed by selfish drivers.

  7. So what if a pedestrian is crossing the road? You should always look to your right before turning right whether or not there’s a bike lane. How absurd.

  8. So what if a pedestrian is crossing the road? You should always look to your right before turning right whether or not there’s a bike lane. How absurd.

  9. Heath’s comment “If there is a bike lane, then cyclists would have the right of way” is a bit misleading. Turning drivers have to yield to to bikes, regardless of whether they are in a bike lane, a 10-foot travel lane (good luck passing), on a parallel bike path, or on the sidewalk (legally, they would have to be walking it as a pedestrian).

  10. Heath’s comment “If there is a bike lane, then cyclists would have the right of way” is a bit misleading. Turning drivers have to yield to to bikes, regardless of whether they are in a bike lane, a 10-foot travel lane (good luck passing), on a parallel bike path, or on the sidewalk (legally, they would have to be walking it as a pedestrian).

  11. I live in Buckhead and I want the bike lanes on Peachtree . Why are some so opposed to this ? I suppose its one of those left wing liberal things , give me a break ! What a novel idea, bikes sharing the road . I guess not in Buckhead .

  12. I live in Buckhead and I want the bike lanes on Peachtree . Why are some so opposed to this ? I suppose its one of those left wing liberal things , give me a break ! What a novel idea, bikes sharing the road . I guess not in Buckhead .

  13. If you support increased bicycle infrastructure and alternative modes of transportation (aka not just 1 person per car driving everywhere), please attend the meeting to voice your support and chat with your neighbors that oppose the bike lanes on why you think it’s important.

  14. If you support increased bicycle infrastructure and alternative modes of transportation (aka not just 1 person per car driving everywhere), please attend the meeting to voice your support and chat with your neighbors that oppose the bike lanes on why you think it’s important.

  15. I think what we need to is raise property taxes on big single stand alone mansions in urban area which do not fit the lay of the city. That will get the regressive mindset of opposition to bike lanes to move into the suburbia outside perimeter where they belong. This city has ample of challenges as it is, dealing with people stuck in the past is not helping the city attract actual talent to the city or improve its stale image.

  16. I think what we need to is raise property taxes on big single stand alone mansions in urban area which do not fit the lay of the city. That will get the regressive mindset of opposition to bike lanes to move into the suburbia outside perimeter where they belong. This city has ample of challenges as it is, dealing with people stuck in the past is not helping the city attract actual talent to the city or improve its stale image.

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