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Some question bike lanes on Avent Ferry Road

Posted October 15, 2010

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— Some residents say they are concerned about safety after recent changes at a west Raleigh intersection.

The city, in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s recent resurfacing of Avent Ferry Road, converted a 2-mile stretch of the four-lane road into a two-lane road with bicycle lanes on each side.

Jennifer Baldwin, a senior transportation analyst for the city, said the decision was part of the city’s 30-year comprehensive plan to help improve the number of transportation options for commuters.

“A lot of traffic engineers analyzed this section, and it was determined that the four lanes were not needed to handle the capacity today, as well as into the future,” Baldwin said.

But Stacy Cochran, a long-time resident who lives near Avent Ferry and Lake Dam roads, says the move has caused a bottleneck in the area, which has led to more aggressive driving.

“Folks aren't going to ride their bikes in these two new additional bike lanes, because it’s dangerous,” he said.

He’s also concerned because the change is near Athens Drive High School. Since the road has been converted, he says, he’s seen two major collisions in the area.

“We’re right at the doorstep of a school zone,” Cochran said. “You’ve got kids walking to class, drivers who are forced to compress in a bottleneck, which then causes aggressive driving, and then it opens up literally 50 yards from a school zone.”

Coupled with what residents say is a more dangerous road, city ordinances already allow bicyclists to ride on sidewalks, leaving some to wonder why the bicycle lanes were needed in the first place.

“I have not seen one bike on those lanes,” said Adrien Montoya, who also lives in the area. “If they’re going to do something, why don’t they ask what the people want?”

Baldwin admits that the traffic pattern is confusing but says that she believes it could ultimately help improve safety. By taking away travel lanes, there’s less chance for vehicles traveling at higher speeds.

The city plans, within the next month, to label the bicycle lanes and add signs to help drivers and bicycle riders better understand the new traffic pattern.

“I really believe that, once those are installed, it will promote more education as to why the lane switch happened, and it will make it easier for all road users,” Baldwin said.

8 Comments

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  • dmccall Oct 18, 2010

    Did the City of Raleigh official realize that she was going on TV? Does she go to work looking like she's been working in her yard EVERY day?

  • javajoe Oct 15, 2010

    Those two intersections at Lake Dam and Athens were incredibly confusing (and quite scary) to navigate because drivers always realized at the last minute that they HAD to turn right onto Athens and would jump lanes at the last minute to keep straight. I have had to slam my breaks multiple times for people who just don't seem to realize the right lane MUST turn right. With the new lane markers they added within the past week or so, it makes much more sense and takes a lot of guessing out of the equation. Maybe they should have reduced to two lanes further down the road from the Food Lion shopping center, though, because everybody merges and this often makes a bottleneck with people changing lanes to turn into the shopping center.

  • Rolling Along Oct 15, 2010

    Rev.RB

    I completely agree that they should be separated from both car and pedestrian traffic, similar to what they have in the Netherlands. But I think we are still a long ways away from that. I will take what I can get at this point.

  • o6nnc Oct 15, 2010

    i bike on it everyday, so here is proof they get usage.
    thanks!

    no more running over people on the sidewalk.

  • Adelinthe Oct 15, 2010

    Bike lanes should not be by the roadways where often huge high powered vehicles travel.

    Bike lanes need to be off road and be like additional sidewalks, of a different color so walkers can see which is for them and which is for the bikers.

    God bless.

    RB

  • Rolling Along Oct 15, 2010

    Some car "drivers" need to learn how to really drive, not just operate a car.

  • grepsy Oct 15, 2010

    I live right off of Avent Ferry just past where this has changed, and I ride my bike to work in those lanes as well as several of my co-workers. The aggressive driving at Athens is just as bad now as it was then, but the new painting of lane markers has taken a lot of the confusion out of the equation.

  • turkeydance Oct 15, 2010

    "by taking away travel lanes, there's less chance for vehicles
    traveling at higher speeds." if that is the way NCDOT manages
    speeding, look for fewer lanes 'averywhere'. fail.