As a frequent traveler to most of America’s major metropolises, this writer has seen the proliferation of bicycles in elite cities in recent years — as well as the considerable infrastructural changes to accommodate bike riders, thereby improving the overall health, safety and lifestyle of its denizens.
Atlanta is aiming to join the likes of its sister marquee markets such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and others in becoming a major bike center with the appointment of Becky Katz as the city’s Chief Bicycle Officer by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Reed states that Becky Katz, who will join the administration on October 14, will greatly aid Atlanta’s efforts to achieve national recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community and to become a top ten city in the U.S. for cycling.
In her role, Ms. Katz will be responsible for a wide range of activities related to bicycle transportation, including:
- planning bicycle projects to completion,
- public outreach,
- project development,
- grant writing,
- implementation of the city’s bike share program and ensuring new development is consistent with Cycle Atlanta and the Connect Atlanta plan.
Katz brings more than 10 years of experience and currently serves as project manager at Park Pride where she has strengthened the organization’s relationship with the biking community by incorporating cycling activities at Park Pride’s events.
“We are pleased to have Becky Katz join the City as the Chief Bicycle Officer,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “With the support of the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, this position will be integral to the city’s continued progress on our Cycle Atlanta goals. Ms. Katz is joining an administration that is energized and organized around the many opportunities before us to make Atlanta the most bikeable, walkable, livable city in the Southeast.”
As Chief Bicycle Officer, Ms. Katz will work closely with the Department of Planning and Community Development, the Department of Public Works and Georgia Department of Transportation to include bicycle facilities in roadway maintenance and capital projects, and work with Invest Atlanta to support bike projects that advance Atlanta’s economic competiveness.
“We are excited to have Becky Katz take the helm as Chief Bicycle Officer,” said Tim Keane, Commissioner for the Department of Planning and Community Development. “Her leadership in this area will help us promote cycling in the city, and build on the mayor’s commitment to achieve national recognition as a bicycle friendly city.”
Ms. Katz holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and a Master of Science degree from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, both in environmental engineering.
The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation is supporting the position through a five-year $250,000 challenge grant to the City through the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
What was not mentioned is that Georgia is one of the U.S. states that has developed a problem with childhood obesity. Perhaps with the ATL taking the lead in this endeavor will help encourage young (and mature) citizens to take up riding as a major source of exercise and health improvement.
Photos: Beltline.org and WeCycleAtlanta.org