This spring Chattanooga residents and visitors will be able to enjoy an enhancement to the "Chattanooga Experience" kicked off today by Mayor Bob Corker and members of the bicycle community.
The event at the Cricket Pavilion marked the official introduction of new bicycle facilities (bike routes, lanes and paths) located throughout Chattanooga. The bicycle facilities were created as part of the Bicycle Facilities Master Plan developed last year through extensive public involvement. At the event, CARTA officials also unveiled new bus racks which have been installed on 57 of the fleet's buses, an improvement also envisioned in the plan.
Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker said, "Today is an exciting day as we celebrate the completion of the majority of Phase I of the Bike Plan, an initiative created through tremendous public input from our community. The bicycle facilities now available to our citizens provide yet another enhancement to the Chattanooga Experience. I am very appreciative of the great work that volunteers from our community, staff at the Regional Planning Agency, representatives from the Trust for Public Land, staff at CARTA and crews from Public Works have devoted to making the plan a reality."
During the event, CARTA officials also demonstrated the new bike racks that have been installed on the authority's fixed-route buses.
Executive Director, Tom Dugan stated, "CARTA is pleased to have completed the installation of bicycle racks on 57 buses. This was made possible through grants from the City of Chattanooga, Trust for Public Land, and the Lyndhurst Foundation. We are very proud to be part of a bicycle program that will increase the ease of bicycle use throughout our community."
Seventy-three (73) bike racks were purchased to equip the current buses in the fleet and buses on order with a few spares for inventory. The total cost of the bike racks was $55,783. Funding for the project came from a Lyndhurst Foundation grant for alternative transportation use and from a City of Chattanooga capital allocation.
The stainless steel bicycle racks are attached to the fronts of the buses and can accommodate up to two bikes at a time. Manufactured by Sportsworks Northwest, Inc., of Woodenville, Wash., the devices are easy for cyclists to use and feature locking levers to secure the bikes in the racks while the buses are in motion.
Installation of the racks began in January of this year. Now all buses operating on CARTA's eighteen Main Line and Neighborhood routes throughout the City of Chattanooga are ready for bikers to "Rack & Ride" anywhere CARTA goes.
Other improvements made during the implementation of Phase I of the bike plan include the addition of bicycle parking at various locations throughout the city and at some bus stops. City crews have also altered storm grates along bicycle pathways to make them safer for cyclists.
Mayor Corker commented, "Chattanooga's reputation as one of the country's best outdoor cities will definitely be enhanced through the implementation of the first part of the bicycle plan."