VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The use of bicycles, both as a hobby and as a primary means of transportation, continues to increase in Valdosta and the surrounding area.
The Southern Georgia Regional Commission, which is based in Valdosta, had updated their bicycle and pedestrian plan as of Monday in order to prepare for the continued growth and they recently received an award from the National Association of Development Organizations for this.
"That update involves identifying areas for future bicycle and pedestrian projects, but also more on the programs," said Southern Georgia Regional Commission representative Corey Hull. "Things for safety, things for education."
The goal of the updated plan, which was implemented in 2014, is to help communities in the 18 South Georgia counties they represent plan to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The commission implemented their initial plan in 2004.
Michael Meeks is an avid cyclist and said Valdosta and the surrounding area becoming more bike friendly would be great.
"I believe it would be a great opportunity for Valdosta to include opportunities for safe cyclin' throughout the city and exit pathways to the county roads," said Meeks.
Another cyclist told WALB off camera that he is glad to see that the planning is taking place, but he is frustrated that many of the ideas have never gone beyond the planning stage.
Hull said all they can do is make recommendations. It is up to each local government to take action on the recommendations. "The regional commission can only recommend so much. It really is a local decision," Hull said.
Meeks said he believes the area is pretty bike friendly now, but admits the city could do more to make the area around VSU safer for cyclists, especially with many students riding bikes to and from class.