Response to recent conversation

Atlanta Forward readers responded to last week’s columns about how bike lanes can help business and traffic flow, and the need for drivers and cyclists to respect each other. Here are some select comments:

Jett Marks: We can't assume that because I ride a bike for most trips that I do not pay the expenses of maintaining a car. I'm contributing the same share of taxes for the car as anyone else who owns a car. The main difference is, I don't spend as much on fuel or oil. Just as there are motorists who have bikes, there are lots of cyclists who have cars. The cost of a bike lane is really low. This is done when re-surfacing occurs, so what you're doing is painting the lines in a different spot. Compared to the cost of re-surfacing, the cost of providing a lane for cyclists is tiny. A large portion of Atlanta's cycling infrastructure is paid for out of private funds and/or grants from federal agencies. I encourage everyone to find out how these public works projects are funded and the proportion of dollars for roads versus cycling infrastructure. The key point is that motorists do not pull their own weight and are heavily subsidized. The wear on the roadway (requiring re-surfacing, for example) is negligible for bicycles. If we wanted to go after road users who do not pay their fair share, the trucking industry would be a good target. I think we'd all be happier if there were fewer tractor-trailers to contend with.

Sawb: Having traveled to other cities, it is easy to see how bicycles can be an integral part of the overall transportation process. However, I've also seen several places around metro Atlanta where limited tax dollars were used to create bike lanes which are seldom, if ever, used. At the end of the day, we have limited resources, and the amount allocated to bike lanes should be proportional to the percentage of citizens actually utilizing the resource.

atlmom: We just moved to Portland where bicyclists are out everywhere. Traffic would be worse but for them. That's what I don't get. I'm a huge fan of mass transit, but people always say we shouldn't do it. Why? Every person who rides a bus or a train — or takes a bicycle — isn't on the roads with a car, tearing up the roads and creating more traffic. So why wouldn't everyone support those things? No, mass transit doesn't pay for itself — but neither do the roads.

Bici Cabbagetown: Seems as though I live in a different Atlanta than most of y'all. I see the success of bike infrastructure and bike culture every day at businesses near my home which have limited parking but are overflowing with customers who drive, bike and walk over. I can say with certainty most businesses in my neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods would not be as successful without bicyclists.

Starik: Yes, Bici, there are lots of Atlantas, and yours differs from mine.