Raleigh plans 27 miles of new bike lanes

ccampbell@newsobserver.comJanuary 27, 2014 

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Francois Birgand rides his bicycle on Clark Avenue near a “sharrow” pavement marking in 2012. Sharrows are possible substitutes for traditional bike lanes in a new city project to add 27 miles of bike pavement markings.

2012 NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO — tiwabu@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

  • Want to weigh in?

    Raleigh transportation officials want both cyclists and neighborhood residents to vote on potential designs for new bike lanes on 22 city streets. Four meetings are scheduled this week:

    For an overview of the citywide plan: 5 p.m. Monday in the city council chambers at Raleigh City Hall, 222 W. Hargett St.

    For West Raleigh: 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the ballroom of the Five Points Center for Active Adults, 2000 Noble Road

    For downtown and Southeast Raleigh: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the media center at Chavis Park, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

    For North Raleigh: 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in Room Two at Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Road

  • 22 streets to welcome bikes

    Here’s where Raleigh plans to install 27 miles of new bike lanes by 2015:

    In West Raleigh: Ashe Avenue, Athens Drive, Dixie Trail/Lake Boone Trail from Ridge Road to Hillsborough Street, Fairview Road from Capital Boulevard to Glenwood Avenue, Gorman Street from Kaplan Drive to Hillsborough Street and Hillsborough Street from Morgan to Salisbury.

    In downtown and Southeast Raleigh: East Cabarrus Street from Wilmington Street to Chavis Way, West Cabarrus Street from Western Boulevard to Salisbury Street, East Street from Boundary Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Garner Road from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Tryon Road, Martin Street from West Street to Tarboro Street, Salisbury Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Lane Street, Tarboro Street and Wilmington Street from Saunders to Peace Street.

    In North Raleigh: Durant Road from Capital Boulevard to Falls of Neuse Road, Forest Pines Drive, Glen Eden Drive, Spring Forest Road from Sandy Forks Road to Capital Boulevard, Strickland Road from Creedmoor Road to Falls of Neuse Road and Wakefield Plantation Drive.

— Armed with a $1.1 million federal grant, city transportation officials want feedback on plans for 27 miles of new bike lanes scattered throughout Raleigh.

On Monday, they’ll launch a series of four meetings where cyclists and neighbors can vote on different designs for the bike lanes, which will be installed early next year on streets ranging from Ashe Avenue to Wakefield Pines Drive.

The federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement money only funds changes to pavement markings – not full-scale street widening for bike lanes – the city has to make some challenging choices. In most cases, making room for bikes will require the loss of traffic lanes or on-street parking spaces.

“There is some level of compromise, and it’s really up to the residents,” said Jennifer Baldwin, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

Raleigh has made these trade-offs before. When the city added bike lanes to a section of Hillsborough Street east of N.C. State, some residents wanted parking on both sides of the street. In the end, they got parking on one side to allow for bike lanes as the street narrowed from five lanes to three.

Some streets might not have room for separated bike lanes, and they’ll instead get “sharrows” – arrows painted on the pavement to show cyclists where to safely ride with car traffic.

City officials selected 22 streets for the grant funding from a citywide priority list that’s based on factors like the level of bike traffic, bike crash rates and proximity to N.C. State University. The city is also working to create a network of bike lanes connecting North Raleigh to downtown. Streets that need to be widened before there’s room for bike lanes weren’t included in the 22 projects.

After this week’s sessions, Baldwin says the feedback will be used to finalize designs for public review in April. The bike lanes won’t show up untilspring of 2015.

“We really want people to give us their opinions,” she said. “This is going to be a long engaged process that’s going to go well into the summer.”

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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