A popular Atlanta recreational cycling route is under attack, as residents of the neighborhood are pushing for a “no-cruising” ordinance that could fine riders who pass any point on the route more than twice in an hour.
Columns Drive runs along the Chattahoochee River, just inside Cobb County. It’s adjacent to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, and cyclists have ridden laps on Columns Drive, 2.5 miles long, for as long as I can remember (and I was rafting the Chattahoochee 20 years ago). The road is wide, with a wide shoulder; it’s a dead-end (marked, I believe, at 25 mph) which limits traffic; and because it runs parallel to the river, it’s as level as anything in Atlanta. Also, there’s a large parking lot just across Johnson Ferry Road from the mouth of Columns Drive, so many riders drive to the lot, then do 5-mile laps.
The referenced video, from a local station’s evening newscast, is pretty vague about the justification for the ordinance, invoking “crowds of cyclists” that a county commissioner calls “aggressive.” The quoted county official, Robert Quigley, suggests the riders are a “disturbance to the neighborhood,” but these aren’t Harleys with straight pipes. The only time I rode out there it was mostly fairly tame recreational cyclists – the more serious riders are usually looking for bigger miles.
The tool the commissioner wants to use is a No-Cruising Ordinance, more typically enacted on streets with a history of drug dealing or prostitution, which makes it illegal to drive past a single spot more than a set number of times in a set time (often twice in an hour). The story suggests the ordinance, if passed, would apply to cyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, but makes no mention of cars.
(BikeSBL.org is the website of Atlanta’s Southern Bicycle League, and the first domain name I ever registered, when I was SBL’s first and worst webmaster.)