If you recall from our previous Smart Growth Roswell post, we posed the question "Are most of Roswell's residents able to walk or bike to work?" As you probably know, one of the key components to successful new urbanism is walkability and connectivity. We also think that the ability to safely ride a bike is integral to successful urbanism. So, we wanted to take a look at these two forms of alternative transportation here in Roswell. Primarily, we wanted to find out just how many of are walking or riding to work.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find the most up to date statistics on this but rest assured that these numbers probably haven't changes significantly. According to City Data, in 2000, only 0.1% of commutes in Roswell were by bicycle and 1.1% of commutes were by foot. Additionally, 84% of commutes were made by solo drivers while another 11% were carpools. I'd like to see up to date statistics but I think the story would be very similar. Of course, bicycle awareness in Roswell has come a long way since 2000 just as it has all over the country but there still aren't too many individuals ready to brave the roads to commute to work. There are also many neighborhoods that lack adequate sidewalks or bicycling facilities. Now, just because people aren't walking or biking to work doesn't mean that they can't.
So, to try and gauge where our community actually is, we took a look at a 2007 city survey. The survey was sent to a sample of 1351 residents and 456 responded. They were asked to rate their experience and satisfaction on 11 key livability metrics. Ease of Bicycling in the City was rated as follows; Excellent 12%, Good 21%, Fair 37%, Poor 30%. This was the largest percentage in the Poor category for any of the metrics that were surveyed. Next worst were traffic flow/signal timing and ease of walking in the city at 25% and 19% respectively. This screams loud and clear that we are not where we need to be when it comes to giving Roswell residents adequate alternatives to the automobile.
That being said, not all is bad. We are making good progress with the sidewalks with the Holcomb Bridge Rd. project, the connection of the Big Creek Greenway to the Alpharetta greenway and the Midtown streetscaping project. Additionally, We also have multiple bike boxes. The one pictured here is at the new Grimes Bridge/Oxbo intersection. Here's a quick video from StreetFilms about bike boxes if you don't know what they are or how to use one.
Here's what we can look forward to in the future. This is from the city's transportation plan. The vision for Roswell's bicycle and pedestrian plan consists of three components.
1. Multi-Use trails along creek systems, parks, and natural areas.
2. A “Roswell Loop” that establishes the premier bicycle and pedestrian corridors of the city and connects to every major park and civic resource.
3. A “complete streets” approach on the key roads that connect to parks, neighborhoods, and schools.
Additionally, Roswell is the only city in Georgia to be designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists. All in all, we are heading in the right direction but we still have a long way to go before any meaningful percentage of our residents will be able to walk or bike to work. Let's keep working to get off of this car dependence.