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A chaotic Atlanta corridor gets new bike lanes | News

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A chaotic Atlanta corridor gets new bike lanes

ATLANTA -- Atlanta is a city whose relationship with bicycles is a sometimes dicey work in progress. 

"(Such as) when drivers are inconsiderate or they don't consider bikes to have the right of way or any right on the road," said Wyatt Engwall, a bicycle rider who lives in Garden Hills. 

"Thankfully I've never actually been hit. I have a lot of friends who have been," said Danny Brewer, a cyclist who lives in Grant Park.

But bicyclists say the consciousness of motorists is emerging -- along with the presence of high profile bicycle lanes. 

They're already part of the Atlanta Beltline route on 10th street.  And bike lanes are imminent on one of Atlanta's least bicycle friendly thoroughfares: Ponce de Leon Avenue NE. 

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"There's no way I'd ride on Ponce," Engwall said.  

"I won't do it," said Rachel Williams, an Old Fourth Ward resident, who was riding with her daughter on the Beltline Tuesday.

Automobiles alone make Ponce de Leon Avenue one of Atlanta's most chaotic corridors. 

The Georgia DOT recently re-paved its six lanes, eliminating two of them and making room for new bike lanes between Juniper St. and Ponce de Leon Place. 

It goes past the Beltline overpass and in front of the Ponce City Market, currently under construction. 

The 1.1 mile stretch might impress the most timid cyclist. 

"They are definitely a step up as far as bike lanes go in Atlanta," said Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. 

"They'll have a painted buffer with (three-foot wide) hash marks that will give bicyclists a little bit more breathing room from the motorized traffic." 

The DOT says the project should be finished by October 1 or earlier, weather permitting. 

Serna said a recent study showed Ponce de Leon Avenue had more bicycle crashes than any other corridor in Georgia. 

The new lanes, she said, aim to change that. "There's a ton of demand for biking on Ponce because it's such an important connector street," Serna said.