The public works department, led by Pete Sewczwicz, developed a plan for three bike loops with a larger outer loop that could be incorporated into the city’s roadway system.
During a workshop presentation of this proposed map to City Council, Sewczwicz said the biggest challenge in creating a path for bicyclists is the difficulty of adding bike lanes to narrow roads.
The easy way to add a bike lane to a road is to reduce the width of the motor vehicle lanes and paint in a four-foot lane for cyclists.
But, Sewczwicz mulled, “What do we do when we don’t quite have four feet?”
One possible solution is the use of “sharrows,” or shared-lane markings, he said.
These markings would signal to motorists that they are to “share the road” — meaning cyclists have the right to use the full lane.
According to Sewczwicz, the sharrows would be best suited for residential areas.
But some council members were skeptical of the idea, wondering if drivers would understand what they mean.
Mayor David Belle Isle said he would prefer to give cyclists their own lane in most areas, but would like to hear more public comment about the idea.
France Campbell, vice president of Bike Alpharetta, a cycling advocacy group, spoke at the workshop and told council he, too, would prefer a whole lane, but “a sharrow is better than nothing.”
The public works department has been working with Bike Alpharetta to make the proposed bike loops.
“These are the areas where they ride,” Sewczwicz said.
The first loop would consist of the main arterial corridor of the city, starting at Ga. 400 and wrapping around.
The second loop would be on the west side of the city near Mayfield Road and Rucker Road. The third loop would be located in Windward.
Sewczwicz said the goal is to have all the loops tie back into the new downtown Alpharetta development.
Sewczwicz said the department wants to gain public input on the bike paths and eventually present a plan for council to adopt, which would “ease confusion down the road with development and redevelopment.”