If you’ve been out and about lately, you’ve probably noticed some changes to several city streets with the incorporation of new bike facilities. The Office of Transportation Planning has been working on a “complete street retrofit” project which reallocates street space to better accommodate the full range of road users.

Retrofitting can improve streets for everyone. For example,  a  four lane street can be retrofitted to provide dedicated, safer spaces for turning vehicles and bicyclists while also improving flow and safety for vehicles in the two thru lanes. The number of rear-end collisions are reduced by moving turning vehicles out of the travel lane and the number of bicyclists increases with dedicated, striped facilities.

According to Susan Wilson, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager, “Safe and connected bike facilities lead to happier and healthier residents and businesses. Raleigh residents have asked for nearby, safe facilities to connect them to where they want to go. And these cycling residents are customers who tend to spend more at the businesses they frequent, potentially leading to healthier businesses and certainly healthier residents.”

This project has been in the works since 2008 when the City began a year-long public input process. The City received more than 800 comments with 94% of respondents indicating that improved bicycling conditions were very important to them. In the years following, the City adopted its first Bike Plan and the 2030 Comprehensive Plan which supports the implementation of the Bike Plan. An all-volunteer Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) was formed and regular meetings have been conducted.

In 2011, funding for the project was approved. The City of Raleigh received a $1.1 million dollar grant from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program to construct at least 27 miles of marked, on-road bicycle facilities. A proposed list of twenty-seven bicycle projects was selected in order of adopted bicycle plan priority and previously adopted CIP projects. Construction of these projects was completed last month.

These new facilities are continued steps in the City’s effort to build a connected network of bicycle facilities where residents will feel safe riding. A connected network is beginning to take shape now that new facilities have been added to existing bike facilities throughout Raleigh and the well-utilized Capital Area Greenway System.  

For more information about the Bike Plan and Raleigh’s bike facilities, visit the Bike Plan webpage. Visit the Bicycle Pavement Marking Design webpage for information about the complete street retrofit program, including a list of streets and improvements affected by the retrofit.

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