Commission wants feedback on making Raleigh more bike friendly
Posted February 7
Raleigh, N.C. — Members of Raleigh's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission are seeking the public's input on how to use a $1.1 million federal grant meant to help the city become more bike friendly.
As Raleigh continues to grow and more businesses move downtown, walking and biking are becoming popular ways for Triangle residents to get to work.
The city has 24 miles of bike lanes and shared marking lanes already, and the grant, which was awarded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, will allow crews to more than double that number by 2015, officials said.
Jennifer Baldwin, the commission's coordinator, said the city has been working on a comprehensive bike plan for more than five years.
"This project is going to have a great connectivity to our existing lanes to really start to create a network. Lots of people choose to bike, and a lot of people are forced to bike, so we need to make sure there are safe options," she said.
One option the committee is considering is a road "diet" on part of Hillsborough Street between Morgan and Salisbury streets. Two traffic lanes would be converted to bike lanes and on-street parking, Baldwin said. A similar change was made on Hillsborough Street between Oberlin Road and Morgan.
Another possibility is a bicycle track on Gorman Street between Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street. Crews would create a two-way bike lane on the side of the road. In some cities, bicycle tracks are separated by barriers.
"It's a two-way bike facility. It's still in the road, so it's not a greenway, but it's moving them to one side and there's some sort of protection," Baldwin said.
There are 22 possible locations for improvements, but the committee is focusing on downtown and near the North Carolina State University campus. A full list of the possible locations is available online.
Baldwin said that's a result of the continued migration of people and businesses toward downtown.
"As more companies are coming into downtown, like Red Hat and Citrix, they're bringing younger employees who want to live downtown and don't want to own a car," she said.
The committee, which was created to help Raleigh's City Council develop and prioritize streetscape projects in ways that best serve Raleigh's cyclists and pedestrians, will talk about its options during a meeting Friday afternoon. Committee members are accepting public comment until Feb. 14.
Another round of public hearings will take place in April, and construction could begin in the fall.