Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bike Lanes on Hillsborough Street?

From today's Raleigh News & Observer:

RALEIGH -- The City Council gave its blessing Tuesday to a plan that would create bicycle lanes on Hillsborough Street.

The lanes still need to be approved by the N.C. Department of Transportation, which has official jurisdiction over the state road.

Raleigh has spent $9.9 million giving a section of Hillsborough Street near N.C. State University a facelift, with roundabouts and new streetscaping. But bicycle lanes were not included in the initial plans. However, several groups and bicycle enthusiasts pleaded their cause.

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Rob E. said...

What are your thoughts, Mike?

I've stayed out of this debate because I can't make up my mind. I would prefer slower overall, mixed use traffic lanes, but there seems to be a lot of people who would feel better with bike lanes. And I do think that anything that makes people feel more comfortable (and more welcome) to get out and bike to their destination is a good thing. Of course then you have to wonder how good they'll feel about biking on all the rest of the roads in Raleigh that do not have bike lanes.

Mike D said...


I hope the traffic will be substantially calmed by the latest round of improvements, especially the roundabouts. That's good news for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

As for lanes, I'm comfortable riding with traffic, but many less experienced cyclists are not. If lanes are the mechanism that allow them to develop confidence in other traffic situations, then so be it. As you know, Hillsborough Street abuts NC State and draws lots of student commuters. Maybe two stripes of paint will help turn them into lifelong cyclists.

The lanes on Hillsborough are symbolically important. After all, this is the street that takes commuters to the heart of our city, right to the steps of the state Capitol. Lanes on Hillsborough Street would be a tangible reminder that cycling is an important component of the city and state's transportation planning.

I've seen letters from the critics, and I agree that the lanes on Hillsborough are not a perfect solution, but I applaud the vocal cyclists who pushed for them, city officials like Eric Lamb and Fleming El-Amin who provided valuable input and guidance from a planning perspective, and the City Council for approving the proposal. Hopefully, the DOT will give a final nod to the plan.

In my mind, these lanes are an important step toward a network of safe bike routes (not necessarily lanes) into our city's center. These kinds of initiatives will go a long way toward transforming Raleigh into the kind of livable community that we all want -- and I'm talking about cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.


Mike / Raleigh