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NC State street trying out bike lanes

Posted August 11, 2011

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— The city of Raleigh is evaluating the usage of bicycle lanes near North Carolina State University for the next several months to see if they should become permanent.

Last year, the City Council approved the temporary installation of two 11-foot-wide travel lanes for vehicles, two 5-foot lanes for bicycle and two 7-foot lanes for parking along the two-lane Hillsborough Street from Enterprise Street to Gardner Street.

Eric Lamb, Raleigh's manager of transportation services and planning, says it's part of an effort between the city and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to determine the best way to handle bicycle traffic near campus.

It's the first time the design – squeezing bicycles between vehicles and on-street parking – has been used in the state.

"I liken it to licorice," Lamb said. "You either love it, or you hate it."

The lanes were installed about two weeks ago, and the city plans to begin soliciting feedback on them in the coming days. The DOT will make a final decision on whether to make them permanent within the next six months.

Bicycle-safety advocate Steven Goodridge, though, says the bicycle lanes are dangerous because they aren't wide enough and that cyclists don't have the space to move out of the way from opening car doors.

"I think they're too close to the doors of the parked cars," he said.

A possible solution, he says, is shared lane markings – or "sharrows" – in the middle of the travel lane.

"That encourages cyclists to stay outside of the door zone, and it helps remind drivers that cyclists are entitled to be there," Goodridge said.

Lamb says the current lane design is the best the city and the DOT could do with the limited room in the area.

"We really were constrained," he said. "There really were concerns about how the bike lanes would fit in."


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  • scifion Aug 12, 2011

    >>"Bikes have no business in busy city streets."

    You are aware of bike messenger services in crowded cities like NYC, right? The bikes are the small particles flowing in the spaces left by the big particles, cars, with incredible efficiency at the risk of personal injury. Bikes and cars can get along together in the same spaces if both riders and drivers adopt appropriate attitudes to respect and look out for one another.

  • dmccall Aug 12, 2011

    Why not just sharrow all bikes on the service roads adjacent to the south side of the Hillsborough Street? Bikes have no business in busy city streets. Cars only have the freedom to operate in confined areas. Bikes have more freedom, so let's utilize their ability while keeping them safe.

  • We Exist Aug 12, 2011

    I enjoy reading the absolute ignorance of some motorists in these comments. No where in NC law are bike excluded from roadways, with the exception of limited access highways. There are also no minimum speed limits on our roadways, once again, with the exception of limited access highways. When approaching any slower moving vehicle on a roadway, a motorist has the obligation to slow down, make sure it is clear and/or legal to pass, then make their pass. I am both a motorist and a cyclist. When I am driving I give bicyclists the same amount of respect that I would expect when I am on my bicycle. When I am on my bicycle, I am more apt to 'share the road' with a motorist if they first slow down and pass when it is safe to do so.

  • Come On_Seriously Aug 12, 2011

    Remember, bikes are vehicles that have the RIGHT to be on the road.

    Drivers have the PRIVELEDGE of driving on the road with a driver's license- which can be revoked.

    Sidewalks are for walking and there are biking trails in recreation areas - but not all biking is done for recreation. It is useful, free, clean, beneficial (keeps you in shape) transportation.

    If you're not going to do yourself the good of getting on a bike, you should thank a cyclist for taking a car and its associated air pollution of the road. Relax and slow down.

  • mpheels Aug 12, 2011

    This is not the first time the car/bike/parking designed has been used in NC. We've had this set up on Cameron Ave in Chapel Hill for years. It works very well here as long as motorists remember to check for cyclists in the bike lane before turning right. Of course, Cameron Ave has much less traffic than Hillsborough St, so it might not work as well there.

  • scifion Aug 11, 2011

    hooray for bike lanes!

    what I hate is drivers who don't know how to pass bicyclists. they slow down to match the bike's speed, and then instead of watching for a space to pass the bike, they continue to fixate on the rider. there are many, many riders out where I live, and I've never been held up for more than a few seconds waiting to pass with no drama. as for me, I keep my biking adventures off road; you people scare me too much to ride on the road with you, what with your texting and beligerant, self-important attitudes.

  • sidecutter Aug 11, 2011

    On a hilly, curvy two lane road in western Wake near the 540 construction I observed a bicyclist being overtook by an empty dump truck on a hill/curve. The truck driver, fortunately, saw the bicyclist in time to stop. Had he been loaded he would have run over the biker or gone head-on into the car in front of me. Bikes don't belong on the roads with vehicles.

  • JBinRTP Aug 11, 2011

    Sigh. Anytime an article relating to bikes appear, we see all these cry baby tirades from motorists. Why the hate? Why the anger? Because your trip occasionally gets delayed 10 seconds by a bike. Give it a rest. Every street is a bike lane. I look forward (not) to your childish, frothed mouth responses. 1-2-3 go!

  • wildervb Aug 11, 2011

    In NC roads generally are designed just for cars, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't start designing roads that allow bicycles. Bikes can be a pratical mode of transportation, they're good for the environment and good for the riders health (as long as the rider doesn't get run over!)

  • howdiditgettothis Aug 11, 2011

    Nothing enrages me more than to get stuck behind a bicyclist on a busy road.......like Six Forks road at peak traffic times.

    Glad you got your exercise for the day, dude. Now can I get to work??

    The people who ride on Carpenter Pond Road & Mt. Vernon Church road are also great examples of bikers who should be ticketed.

    Parks are made for recreation -- so how about putting bike trails or riding areas there?

    I am all for "getting back to nature" and "going green" -- but adding bike lanes to already crowded roads is asking for trouble.