Atlanta Streets Alive (Picture by Steve Eberhardt)

Two nonprofits devoted to sustainable transportation advocacy for greater than twenty years, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and PEDS, have merged. 

“The newly united group stays dedicated to championing an Atlanta the place everybody strikes safely, simply, and sustainably all through the town,” mentioned Rebecca Serna, government director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.  “No matter your mode of transportation or your capability challenges, it’s all about giving individuals extra choices and making these choices equitable and accessible.” 

Over the previous few years, Serna observed a generational shift in how individuals approached transportation.

“Beforehand, I heard from individuals who mentioned, ‘I’m a pedestrian; I’m a bicycle owner’,” Serna mentioned. “Then, I began to listen to from individuals extra, ‘I simply wish to get across the metropolis in the way in which that makes probably the most sense for me on any given day’.” 

For the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which began the favored Atlanta Streets Alive occasion and bike valet service at Atlanta United video games and native festivals, it simply made sense for “two small organizations with actually huge objectives for Atlanta” to hitch forces.

“Whether or not you might be strolling, biking, utilizing a wheelchair or hopping on a scooter, a whole lot of the problems and boundaries are the identical on the subject of security,” Serna mentioned.  “Notably on the subject of high-speed streets and dashing drivers.”  

Previous to the merger, the nonprofits partnered on widespread points. For instance, PEDS carried out information evaluation that discovered most pedestrian fatalities occurred at transit stops. One other essential analysis discovering was Atlanta’s Excessive-Harm Community report, accomplished by John Saxton and delivered to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition in 2018. Saxton’s analysis discovered that lower than eight % of Atlanta streets contributed to 88 % of Atlanta’s deadly crashes on account of harmful high-speed driving on streets the place persons are strolling or rolling to connect with transit.

“That’s an instance of group members and organizations working collectively to analysis the problems, elevate consciousness, and urge native businesses to make concrete bodily enhancements to streets,” Serna mentioned. “That’s one thing that we’ve been capable of carry ahead.” And Serna expects to proceed to construct on PEDS’ data and experience on pedestrian points.

A number of PEDS board members now serve on the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Governing Board and others have been invited to hitch its advisory council. PEDS was dissolved after the asset switch to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition director Rebecca Serna (Courtesy Wild Grain Pictures)

“We’re dedicated to persevering with our mission of creating streets and communities in Georgia protected, inviting, and accessible to all pedestrians by way of this merger,” mentioned Carolyn H. Rader, former board chair of PEDS.

The roots of the merger might be traced again to 2019, when the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition up to date its strategic plan and broadened its focus.

“We expanded our objectives to incorporate streets protected for strolling, biking, and transit,” says Naoya Wada, board chair of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.” In consequence, we adopted a brand new mission assertion: to reclaim Atlanta’s streets as protected, inclusive, and thriving areas for individuals to experience, stroll, and roll.” 

The pandemic in 2020 added a way of urgency as nonprofits “took a tough have a look at their operations and requested themselves in the event that they may very well be run extra effectively by merging or partnering in another way,” per Serna.

Submit-merger, advocacy will largely stay native.

“Our geographic focus is totally on the Metropolis of Atlanta” Serna mentioned. “Including transit advocacy is pulling us extra within the regional route however we wish to be very measured and ensure we are able to ship on our objectives.”

On the state stage, the merged nonprofit will proceed to associate with Georgia Bikes and advocate for the Georgia Division of Transportation to enhance security on state-owned roads.

“Georgia Bikes has lobbied on the state stage for bicycle and pedestrian security laws, for instance, getting pace cameras in class zones,” Serna mentioned. “That’s one thing we labored on with Georgia Bikes and PEDS.  I not too long ago discovered that the Metropolis of Atlanta and APS have lastly come to an settlement to have pace cameras put in in class zones.”

Courtesy Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

In preparation of the Nov. 2 municipal elections and alter in governance, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has developed a coverage agenda, posted mayoral and metropolis council candidate responses to their questionnaire and hosted candidate boards known as TransFormation Tuesdays.  The mayoral discussion board is scheduled for Oct. 25 and extra boards could also be added earlier than the anticipated Nov. 30 runoffs.

“All boards are recorded and obtainable on-line [atlantabike.org/transformationtuesdays],” Serna mentioned. “We’re selling them as a useful resource for individuals to dip into as their time and schedule permits.”

One other precedence for 2021 is to create an infrastructure challenge tracker.
“That is a part of our objective to carry our elected officers and metropolis accountable for constructing deliberate initiatives,” Serna mentioned. “We’ll launch the primary set of initiatives we’re monitoring in October”.

And in 2022, search for the merged group to announce its new title on the annual Blinkie Awards occasion.

“What the merger has completed is positioned us for development,” Serna mentioned.