Photo Credit: Krysia Haag
Safe streets, whether they wind through a neighborhood or carry trucks and cars on their daily commutes, lead to a better community.
That is the mantra behind a group of residents who are starting an effort to align Athens-Clarke County’s policies with state and national transportation standards. Complete Streets Athens launches its community-wide effort with the event “Streets are for People” from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at Little Kings Shuffle Club, 223 W. Hancock Ave.
The event is free and open to the public, and will include bike light installations and an introduction to the mission of Complete Streets Athens.
“We are trying to advocate and engage the public to highlight and emphasize that streets are for people,” said Tony Eubanks, one of the organizers of Complete Streets Athens. “We want everyone in Clarke County to feel safe on their streets, no matter what form of transportation they use.”
Complete Streets Athens was formed after a series of traffic- and development-related events highlighted the need for more comprehensive transportation policies. Composed of concerned parents, policy experts and neighborhood advocates, Complete Streets Athens is asking residents to identify issues with their streets and work together toward comprehensive transportation solutions in Athens-Clarke County.
The goal, says Eubanks, is to work with Athens-Clarke County elected officials and staff to construct forward-thinking policies that consider all users—vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and transit users—rather than current policies that primarily consider vehicle traffic. The group recently claimed one small victory, the decision made by the ACC mayor and commission to postpone repaving Chase Street until a comprehensive assessment of bicycle and pedestrian improvements can be conducted for the entire corridor. Now volunteers are looking for suggestions from across the county for streets that could be made more friendly to various users.
The kick-off party is one way, organizers say, to get that input.
“We want residents from across the county to tell us about streets that are difficult to walk, bike or drive,” said Eubanks. “Let’s work together to find solutions.”