Georgia DOT: Only People on Bikes Go Joyriding

It’s always fun to hear the explanations from transportation agencies about why they are shortchanging bike projects.

The state of Georgia would deny facilities to this group of "recreational" infrastructure users -- if they were riding bikes, that is. Photo: Sustainable Savannah

Money always makes a convenient excuse, though it’s rather specious being that a whole urban network of urban bike facilities often pales in comparison to the cost of, say, a few miles of interstate highway construction.

Well, here’s a new one we like from the Georgia Department of Transportation. GDOT is withholding money for the Coastal Georgia Greenway because, according to a spokesman, it is “purely recreational in nature” and, so, can’t be funded with transportation dollars.

Gosh, guess you got us there. Except… maybe. Wait, no. No one would ever use a greenway to, say, commute. And likewise, no one would ever use roads to go on a joyride.

Or would they? According to Josh Bennett at Network blog Sustainable Savannah it is not only possible, it is already happening — and frequently, even:

In other parts of the country, where similar facilities have been built, they are used by commuters and are never “purely recreational.”

If trips that are “purely recreational” are not appropriate uses, then a lot of traffic should be banned from roads and bridges that would be funded by [the transportation tax fund]. Recreational vehicles would be prohibited from using transportation facilities, right? After all, their purpose is “purely recreational.” It’s right there in the name of the thing. Passenger cars carrying families on vacation or even local folks heading to a picnic in Forsyth Park or a day on Tybee should be excluded, too. Again, these trips are “purely recreational” in nature. Savannah will lose millions of visitors and the local tourism industry will evaporate overnight, but at least we can be confident that [transportation tax] funding won’t be wasted to facilitate “purely recreational” trips.

Oh well, it’s not like there are any unsustainable traffic problems in any Georgia metropolitan areas anyway. That 23-lane highway GDOT is planning for Atlanta is sure to put a final end to the region’s notorious gridlock. And if not, 30 or 35 lanes ought to do the trick.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Vancouver gets in on the “parklet” trend, reports The Dirt. The state of New Jersey’s complete streets mandate remains partially unrealized three years after implementation, according to an analysis by New Jersey Future. And Boston’s new Hubway bike sharing program is getting rave reviews one month in, says Mobilizing the Region.