Well – I have to say I’m truly amazed at how this week worked out! Shocked even! Nothing in my wildest dreams would have been able to express what am about to lay down. Seriously. This is not normal stuff!
So … yesterday, I posted how GDOT was not the devil… that it was actually Cobb DOT. A little bird had told me that Cobb DOT was already working on a solution and that made me happy. I didn’t have any facts, but my source was far more reliable than my 43 year old confused and fading brain cell. Trying to be optimistic, I gave them credit. Well … as it turns out, they had gotten window of my flame filled prose and were drafting a response of their own… who knew?
So… in the “Wow, that’s awesome” category, Cobb DOT contacted me directly to let me know they have ordered materials to make the grates safe. They are going to be done within 2 weeks. We still have this other little rumor that the road is going to be “Limited Access”. Well, it was PLANNED to be limited access, but budget cuts, construction delays and everything else under the sun have modified the scope of this project a bunch of times and there is no longer any intention of making it limited access… so once we get these grates fixed – it’s on par with other roads in the area. (Many of you have commented about how wide the shoulder. The shoulder is only wide near the grates. In both directions it fades to less than 8″ in a couple places. The “inlet” and “outlet” of the road have what I would consider dangerously narrow curbs, forcing a cyclist to ride in traffic and if there is an accident or something – there is no place for cars to pull off the road – but that isn’t my current focus…) They assured me that they are concerned about bicycle safety and making safe riding roads. Again – the email was polite, well written and I was given a direct phone number if I had further questions. Good deal.
Now – in the “I almost soiled my britches” category… I come down the hill into the “wide shoulder, grate infested region” of Windy Mac and I see something I didn’t recall from the morning. It’s large. It’s orange. It’s reflective. It’s a ROAD BARREL!
I roll around the curve and see another … and another … and another … and another! Cobb County DOT – while we have our issues, I have to say THANK YOU! Your safety minded gesture really made my day. Other cycling advocates who I have shared the photo with were also impressed. This simple act of respect did in fact give me chills and kept a smile on my face the rest of the way home. In 4+ years living in Georgia, that’s about the nicest thing anybody has done for this cyclist!
This has definitely been an interesting chain of events. I would like to share my story with a more public audience – and will be trying to get in touch with Commuter Dude. This is an opportunity to share something GOOD about the Department of Transportation! As gas prices creep higher and higher – more and more people will be thinking about getting to work another way. My efforts, if nothing else, raised awareness that I (and other cyclist) are passionate about our safety. We have as much right to use the roads and be safe as those in the cars.
To my friends who supported me in this – THANK YOU! I really appreciate it. I’ll be riding this on a regular basis and hope to catch a photo of the guys fixing a grate. At a bare minimum, I will update you when I see one or more of them fixed!