Why is the NC General Assembly trying to make it harder to implement bike lanes?

This is where the rubber meets the road, literally. A new bill in the the North Carolina General Assembly threatens our ability to make our roads safer within our own community. If it passes, it will effectively restrict municipalities from changing car lanes into bike lanes on state roads within the municipality.

Transportation planners have dubbed the practice of reclaiming car lanes for another use as a “road diet” and some cities – like San Francisco for example – have been implementing road diets since the late 1970’s. A common version of a road diet is changing a road from 4 travel lanes to a 2+1 road with 2 travel lanes, a center turn lane, and bicycle lanes on both sides. Many 2+1  configurations use the same amount of real estate as the 4 travel lanes so they can be easily implemented. This particular kind of road diet has been proposed in Winston-Salem along Polo Rd, between Cherry St. and Indiana. (More on that later, so make sure to subscribe.)

It is widely accepted that road diets lead to decreased traffic speeds and a reduction in the overall amount of crashes, like in this study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Road diets also make it safer for people traveling by bike and foot as well. It’s really the “best of both worlds” so-to-speak and it may not even be an option in some areas of our city soon if House Bill 44 is allowed to pass.

The Bill was originally introduced as a way for municipalities to take action against “chronic violators of overgrown vegetation ordinances” and then Section 7 was added. Section 7 originally required a majority vote from NCDOT before municipalities could make changes to the number of lanes on state controlled roads, then evolved into the more rigid wording in Edition 3 which reads, “NUMBER OF LANES CANNOT BE REDUCED ON STATE ROADS LOCATED WITHIN A MUNICIPALITY AND HAVING AN AVERAGE DAILY TRAFFIC VOLUME OF 20,000 VEHICLES PER DAY OR MORE.”

It is important that local municipalities maintain the ability to utilize road diets and other traffic pattern changes in order to create safe and efficient means of travel for all modes of transportation.

You can learn more about the bill at –

You can do something about it at –

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