Complete Streets Athens is an all-volunteer advocacy organization whose mission is “to work with residents and county officials to ensure safe, equitable, and accessible transportation choices for all people in Athens-Clarke County.” Our primary and only focus is on increasing awareness of transportation challenges in Athens and working with the community to design effective and comprehensive policy solutions. Our emphasis on “Complete Streets” (as they are defined by Smart Growth America) includes the need for sidewalks, bike lanes, and public transit access to serve ALL users of roadways, not just cars. Our activities fall into three main categories.
1) We are the only community group exclusively dedicated to review of all proposed transportation policies and projects in Athens-Clarke County. We closely monitor all policy and project proposals that have transit implications (e.g. routine street resurfacing, proposed roadway changes, sidewalk funding priorities) and we distribute comments to both the public and the Mayor and Commission to improve their potential for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. Policy analysis is provided by our six person Steering Committee, whose members have a diversity of experiences and training (e.g. some members hold PhDs or JDs, while others have decades of activist experience in Athens).
2) We interact with Athens-Clarke County staff to offer input on existing transit-related policies and advocate for changes that will enhance pedestrian and bike lane networks. For example, one of our Steering Committee members focuses on monitoring the current sidewalk construction programs and another member reviews bike lane policy to encourage staff to ensure that new or re-striped bike lanes are compliant with national standards of safety.
3) We stage community events and encourage local residents to speak with their elected officials. For example, we hosted the event “See and be Seen on Prince Avenue,” which encouraged local residents to get out of their cars and walk along one of Athens major in-town, neighborhood-commercial streets. We also send out monthly emails with summaries and transit-related issues coming before the Mayor and Commission.