A Pop-up Bike Network

Macon Connects

Project Objective

Construct the world’s largest pop-up bike network to test out Macon’s appetite for biking.

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  • Date: 2016
  • City: Macon, Georgia
  • Partners: New Town Macon, Macon-Bibb County, Better Block Foundation, Bike Walk Macon

Macon Connects was a bold initiative that set out to change the way Macon residents get around for the better. The project was made possible thanks to a Knight Cities Challenge grant awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Macon Connects team was locally led by NewTown Macon, in partnership with Macon-Bibb County (including Macon Urban Development Authority and Main Street Macon), and Bike Walk Macon.

8 80 Cities and Better Block provided community engagement and prototyping services, respectively.

We wanted to find out how can Macon residents better connect to one another and places they want to go? How can we test out residents’ ideas for improving connectivity in Macon? We started by hosting a three-day Ideas Festival, consisting of 19 events and over 1,100 attendees. We gathered thousands of ideas through this process.

In a city that normally sees only 24 bikes a day on its downtown streets, the pop-up bike network increased downtown bike counts by nearly tenfold (854%).

We captured rich data indicating Maconites’ preference for certain types of bike infrastructure, ideal routes for the bike network, strong (70%) public support for investing in a permanent bike network, etc.

This experiment proved that if you build it (a bike network), the people of Macon will in fact ride.

NewTown Macon and Macon-Bibb County will use the results from this experiment to inform the planning of their future bike network.