March 8, 2017

Upcoming Events Highlight Safe Streets and the West Broad Neighborhood

City Dope

Photo Credit: Matt Hardy/file

A memorial for Ashley Block, a cyclist killed by an allegedly impaired driver in 2016, who was the inspiration for Let's Meet in the Street.

Whether you jog, bike to work, walk to a bus stop or drive around town, an upcoming event presented by local activists and business owners aims to make your method of travel safer.

"Let's Meet on the Street" is a family-friendly event that aims to promote issues and opportunities around different modes of transportation. The event takes place from 4–6 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 11, at the Jittery Joe's Roaster on Barber Street.

It's a chance to raise awareness around safety and common sense on our roadways, said Brian Molloy, owner of The Hub bike shop and one of the event's supporters. "We as a community need to be thinking about making our streets and sidewalks safer. Period," he said. "We hope this event provides a significant step toward instilling a sense of common purpose and cooperation between all users of our streets."

The event will include games for kids and adults, door prizes, a raffle for kids’ bikes (must be present to win) and a trivia game. There will be snacks, and face painting will be provided by Twinklz the Clown. (The event will be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.)

The event also comes on the heels of the selection of a consulting firm to lead a county-wide bike and pedestrian master planning process, scheduled for Mayor and Commission vote on Mar. 7. With this process underway, there is a greater need to raise awareness about the benefits of a walkable, bikeable community. These are issues, say event organizers, that can also have an impact on other aspects of Athens, such as real estate prices and public safety.

Let's Meet on the Street is organized by BikeAthens, Complete Streets Athens and Georgia Bikes! with help from a coalition of bicycle and running gear stores, in an effort to reach a larger segment of the community. The business owners—which include representatives from The Hub, Georgia Cycle Sports, Sunshine Cycles, Athens Running Company and Fleet Feet Sports—reached out to advocacy organizations following discussions of ways to make streets safer after a University of Georgia student was killed during a group bike ride last year. [Tony Eubanks]

West Broad’s Future

Another noteworthy upcoming event is the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation’s brown-bag lecture on the future of the West Broad neighborhood at noon Wednesday, Mar. 15 at the Lyndon House Arts Center. Journalist and researcher Kimberly Davis will give a presentation on the history of the historic West Broad School, currently the site of the Athens Land Trust’s community garden and farmers market. A panel discussion will include CCSD Assistant Superintendent Ted Gilbert; Hope Iglehart, who led efforts to create the nearby Reese Street Historic District and is the great-granddaughter of longtime West Broad School principal Mamie Freeman; and Elizabeth Platt, a key participant in restoring and preserving the H.T. Edwards building, formerly Athens’ black high school and now the Athens Community Career Academy. [BA]