Town Staff Bicycles for a New Perspective
About 30 staff members from the Town of Chapel Hill rode bicycles around Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to experience what cyclists in Chapel Hill encounter on a daily basis.
“The ride is designed to see streets for newly implemented improvements, new design ideas as well as areas that might be unsafe and need repair,” said Len Cone, Go Chapel Hill community manager.
The bike ride, organized by Go Chapel Hill with the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill (BACH), began at the Bicycle Chain at 210 W. Franklin St. and continued down Franklin Street to Cameron Avenue to Raleigh Road and Rosemary Street. The group included Public Works Director Lance Norris, Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos, and Transportation Planning Manager Bergen Watterson and many others, including some UNC staff.
BACH President John Rees said there were lessons he hoped the group gained from the experience, including:
- Electric bicycles are a game changer. Several rode e-bikes for the first time, which opens a new opportunity for bicycling to more people. Any hill can be flattened on an e-bike.
- Town improvements are underway. Viewing a stretch where the Town is beginning the planning process to trial a pop-up two-way cycle track on Cameron Avenue. “We need to realize that not every experiment the Town tries to trial for bicycle facilities will be successful,” Rees said. “However, we will learn and keep learning to then graduate the successful pop-ups to permanent projects.”
- Remove obstacles to make it safer. From recycling carts to debris in bike paths, there are numerous obstacles to bicyclists. Our entire community can do more to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Motorists should be patient. On a number of occasions, motorists attempted to turn in front of moving bicyclists, presenting threats to safety.
“Following the ride staff discussed what they experienced and observed during the hour ride and the impact that their work can have on those cycling in Chapel Hill,” Cone said. “What a great way to bring focus onto the Town’s Climate Action Plan Strategic Goal and bring possible improvements, into daily work application.”
For more information about Town improvements to bike/ped infrastructure around Chapel Hill, visit www.townofchapelhill.org/gettingaround