Ok, here’s the thing y’all. We love Raleigh – like with all our heart – deep down mushy kinda love. So it makes us sad when Raleigh be playin’ with us and not be doing the things that other (peer) communities are doing. If you’ve been around this group for a second you know that there are a few areas we’d love for the city to focus on (in earnest!) – but for today – we’re focusing on getting booty’s on bikes.
We’ve got critical investments coming online like Wake Transit and our Citrix Cycle bikeshare (someday?) but here in lies the zinger. People won’t ride their bikes, won’t even consider it, until we create separated, premier, and safe facilities. Slapping paint down next to cars barreling by at 45 MPH doesn’t feel safe to most folks, it feels like a death wish. If we’re serious about reducing climate impacts in our community, than that is a giant problem.
You can read more about here, but transportation accounts for 42% of GHG emissions in Raleigh currently and our land use and infrastructure are largely to blame. How can we possibly get folks to consider options other than a car if we’re intentionally planning our communities to be actively hostile to any form of people centered mobility? We’re widening our roads at a lock step pace and calling it growth and prosperity, but is it, is it really? Will roads need to be widened as Raleigh grows? Of course! But every time we widen a corridor and create additional pavement it is a failure on the part of our leadership to create a sustainable path for our future and it creates a negative feedback cycle that dictates the wrong type of growth.
Enough with the ranting – let’s move on to discuss what we can actually DO about it. We’re action oriented folks over here and we’re hungry for change. We’re going to start with the super easy interventions that other communities have done, and we’ll work up to some more intentional best practices that the best of the best are implementing.
We’ve already started adding some bike lanes with buffers (that’s good!) why not make them great and throw in some beautification and another buffer that actually makes families feel protected from the big (fast) metal boxes beside them when they travel?
Planters are a perfect solution, and one that have been utilized with great success in countless other communities. Why haven’t we done it to date? No, seriously. Raise your hand if you want a planter. We want planters.
Another win-win option is a parking protected bike facility. These are a great way to continue to incorporate cars (old habits die hard, yo) while still creating a premier facility that makes folks feel safe and separated. Note, Raleigh’s first parking protected lane is being designed right now for Oberlin Road – stay up to date on that project here.
Here is another similar application that has a 2-way facility next to a buffered lane, with parking in Brooklyn NY. Oaks and Spokes is working with the City to install a 2-way cycle track on Harrington Street, learn more about that project here.
There are some cities that have obviously *gotten* it and have made the critical investments necessary to prioritize people centered movement. Vancouver and it’s bee pollination / garden / zen / nature approach has us pretty much jagged crying hunched over in a corner cause we wan’t it soooo badddd for Raleigh guys. So. bad.
A Step Up
PAnd it’s not just Canada that has figured out this magic equation for creating people centered mobility. Indianapolis, in the heart of the US of A also has a pretty sweet cycle path throughout their downtown core called the Indianapolis cultural trail, a 9.1 mile trail linking key destinations throughout Indy. STAP. Our hearts can’t take it.
This is intentional design. This is how you get people comfortable getting out of cars, onto bikes, and help create a sustainable trajectory for your transportation system.
So we’re left with our heart in our hands, asking our city to buck up and help us create a place for people. Let’s do it, Raleigh! Next week come back for some proposed changes online for our UDO that would help move the needle on suburban applications with 4-lane and 6-lane divided roadways. We’d love to hear from y’all on changes you’d like to see for our bike / ped infrastructure here in Raleigh!