New bike lanes raise awareness, questions in downtown Raleigh
Posted March 24, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Spring is here, and the warmer weather has many people thinking about getting outside.
In Raleigh, people looking to enjoy a bike ride near downtown will likely notice new bike lane markings featuring bright green paint.
The markings are part of the city's effort to encourage cycling, but some people have said the new designs are a bit confusing.
Cyclist Matthew Fitzgerald said he's adjusted well to the new markings and is happy to see cycling become more popular downtown.
"I've been part of the cycling culture down here for a long time, and I love seeing that it's becoming part of the culture down here," he said. "It warms my heart."
The new lane markings turn from solid lines to dashed lines, and they are filled with green stripes.
The city says the markings are a reminder to drivers who approach an intersection to look for cyclists. The markings are also a reminder for cyclists to pay extra attention.
"The green paint is meant to highlight that it's a potential conflict area," Eric Lamb, the city's transportation planning manager, said. "It's a different color, meant to raise awareness for the potential for conflict."
While the lanes are raising awareness, they have also raised some eyebrows.
"There are a group of people who are totally confused," Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said.
Baldwin said feedback from some citizens is helping the city make future bike lane installations easier for everyone.
"I think, if we roll it out in smaller chunks and do an education campaign with the neighborhood, that will have better outcomes," Baldwin said.
Fitzgerald says better education will make the streets safer for everyone, and he said he's glad the lanes have at least brought more awareness.
Lamb says a bike lane education campaign will be rolled out in May to coincide with National Bike Safety Month. He says engineers will study accident statistics and how well the green stripes hold up over time before expanding the lanes into other parts of the city.
For now, the new lanes are on Salisbury, Hillsborough and Wilmington streets.