Community Forum for Chapel Hill Bike Plan set for May 9

Are you a cycling enthusiast? Maybe you haven’t ridden a bike in a while but want to. Perhaps you enjoy riding only on greenways or trails? Do you ride your bike to work or school? Do your kids ride a bike? Are you concerned about transportation issues? 

If you answered yes, then you’ll want to come to “Bike to the Future,” a community forum for the Chapel Hill Bike Plan set for 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive.

The Town of Chapel Hill planning process is one of many public outreach opportunities of DESIGN Chapel Hill 2020, the title given to the implementation phase of the community’s new comprehensive plan. “Connected Community” (including Chapel Hill Bike Plan) is one of the Big Idea initiatives that embody the essence of the Chapel Hill 2020 goals.

When completed, the Chapel Hill Bike Plan will provide a “how-to-guide” for making Chapel Hill a place where more people can safely ride their bikes to more places in the community. The Council is committed to building a more connected, bikeable community, as stated in Chapel Hill 2020 Plan. 

“We will have an opportunity in creating this plan to look at our streets and policies to see what’s working – and what could work better,” said Garrett Davis, a Town of Chapel Hill transportation planner. 

During the Chapel Hill 2020 planning process, residents expressed that they want more facilities and street design features that promote safe bicycling. People said there should be improved connectivity between important destinations and that bicycling can become part of a healthy active lifestyle.

The Community Survey of 2011 showed that 5.2 percent of residents ride a bicycle and that 64 percent of residents felt that riding a bicycle was safe in Chapel Hill. 

“We think that number should be higher, and this plan is going to show us what steps the Town can take to make that happen” said David Bonk, transportation planning manager for the Town of Chapel Hill. 

A steering committee will meet over the next year to guide the plan, and there will be many opportunities for the community to contribute. The committee will work closely with staff and Bill Schultheiss of Toole Design Group , the lead consultant. A final plan is expected to be presented to the Council in November 2013. 

For more information contact Garrett Davis at bikeplan@townofchapelhill.org  
Visit The Chapel Hill Bike Plan on the web at www.townofchapelhill.org/bikeplan  
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thechapelhillbikeplan  
Toole Design Group www.tooledesign.com 

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One thought on “Community Forum for Chapel Hill Bike Plan set for May 9

  1. Sarah McIntee says:

    As a new member of the Bike and Ped Advisory Board I am very happy to see biking interests in Chapel Hill. I think it is great to have a bike plan to identify the roads which have the most bike potential. However, the reality is, until we can make the roads safe for women and children to ride bikes to school, this is not a “bike-able” community. The only folks riding bicycles here, on the roads, are high risk-taking experienced (mostly male) adults who don’t mind contending with drivers who drive at speeds exceeding 25 mph. Having the speed posted at 35 mph on the main roads in town, making drivers feel entitled to drive up to 40 mph, makes bike riding in Chapel Hill very unsafe. It only takes a car going 30 mph to kill someone. The “safest speed” for any road is when the difference in speed between the slower vehicles and faster vehicles is minimized, where the difference in speed is not greater than 10 mph. Any road where the common, effective, speed is over 25 mph can’t be legitimately marked as “bike-able.” I am concerned about liability issues here: if someone is hurt or killed on a marked “bike-able road” is the town, or state, liable for damages? Please petition the state and town for all in-town surface road speeds to not be posted higher than 20 mph (which drivers commonly interpret as 25 mph). Until then, we had better put a disclaimer on every bike map and plan a “Sharing the road with cars, any where the speed is posted over 20 mph, and where the motor vehicles travel 25 mph, or more, is not safe for bike riding. Most Chapel Hill roads are posted over that. Bike in Chapel Hill at your own risk.”

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