New downtown Atlanta infrastructure designed to keep non-drivers safer has scored national kudos in these early days of 2024.

Like the PATH Parkway near Georgia Tech in 2017, downtown’s new Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Cycle Track has been listed among the best bicycle-infrastructure additions in the U.S. by People For Bikes, one of the nation’s largest advocacy groups.  

The nonprofit slotted downtown’s MLK cycle track at No. 14 of 20 on their list of The Best New U.S. Bike Lanes of 2023. Other projects representing “an unprecedented surge in safer, more comfortable places to ride” last year spanned from New York City’s Broadway to Seattle, Chicago, and Jackson, Miss., and many points between.

Completed last fall, downtown’s two-way protected cycle track was installed on the south side of MLK Drive between Forsyth Street and Capitol Avenue. Future plans call for extending it to Westside neighborhoods such as Vine City, the BeltLine, and downtown attractions Mercedes-Benz Stadium, State Farm Arena, and Georgia World Congress Center.

Illustration of downtown's two-way protected cycle track on the south side of MLK Drive between Forsyth Street and Capitol Avenue. City of Atlanta/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District

The project marked a collaboration between the city’s Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (with nudging from Propel ATL), and it furthered the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan “by enhancing safety and accessibility in the city center,” according to People For Bikes.

People For Bikes noted that no U.S. cities have adopted “truly bold citywide plans for bike networks” like places such as Paris, Bogota, and London. But an unprecedented amount of federal funding is available, and thousands of additional bike lane projects are in the offing across the U.S. in cities and towns, per the organization. 

Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District

Jason Dozier, the District 4 Atlanta City Councilmember who advocated for the downtown cycle track as a means of aligning with Atlanta’s Vision Zero initiative, asserted on Twitter/X the downtown improvements are just the beginning.

“The MLK [cycle track] is the centerpiece of a brand new protected bike grid that didn't exist a year ago,” wrote Dozier, “and will soon connect downtown Atlanta to Mechanicsville, Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, and the BeltLine.”


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