Why we support Charlotte’s new 5 year bike plan

After several constructive meetings and collaborative dialogues with CDOT staff, we fully support the new draft of the city’s new proposed five-year plan (called Charlotte BIKES) and urge City Council to adopt the plan this Monday, May 22nd.

Here’s why.

We have been heavily involved in the new edition of the bike plan since the first draft became publicly available in February.  We then researched our peer cities’ bike plans and based on our analysis we submitted official comments via the public comments, met with CDOT staff (a few times), and voiced what we liked and didn’t like about the draft plan during the plan’s public hearing at the April 24nd City Council Meeting.  Click here to read what we said about the plan at the hearing.

We are happy to report that our voice has made a difference.  The newest version of the plan reflects many of the changes we requested.

Here are five elements of the plan that we are excited about:

1. Vision

Charlotte’s BIKES vision statement reads, “Charlotte will offer an inclusive cycling environment, where people of all ages and abilities can use their bikes for transportation, fitness, and fun.”

We also want to see Charlotteans, no matter where they live, be able to bike anywhere they want to go in the city no matter where they live.

2. Commitment to Safety and Emphasis on Protected Bike Lanes

Charlotte BIKES seeks to develop a network of safe and comfortable bicycle facilities by embracing current bikeway design guidelines implemented in peer cities that recommend protected bike lanes on busier streets with fast-moving traffic.

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3. Support of demonstration projects

Successful demonstration projects in hundreds of other cities have allowed new street designs and bicycle facilities to be tested before being made permanent.

4. Commitment to complete a comprehensive bicycle corridor map by 2018

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We also feel that a bicycle corridor map will prioritize investments to show the facilities we need to build to have a safe, connected network that allows residents access everything this wonderful city has to offer by bike.

5. New language recommending red light cameras

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Recently saw the success of a CDOT temporary demo project from May 7 – 13 with a temporary protected bike lane in each direction on The Plaza.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of people experienced the installation during its grand opening for Open Streets and continued to ride them throughout the week.  The project generated healthy discussion and it showed Charlotteans what is possible when we redesign our streets for people as well as cars.

Drivers commonly accelerate through yellow traffic lights, run red lights, ignore the speed limit, and use the few bike lanes that we do have as free parking spaces.  We fully support the use of red-light cameras to help enforce traffic laws.  According to CMPD representatives a May’s Transportation and Planning Committee Meeting, CMPD also supports the use of this technology to aid with enforcement.  Click here to read our summary of that meeting.

These changes have made Charlotte BIKES stronger and bolder.  Now it’s your turn!

Click here to quickly and easily send an email we have drafted for you to City Council and CDOT staff!  It only takes a few seconds but will make a BIG difference!

With your support, Charlotte BIKES will be approved.  But this will only the first step.  Charlotte BIKES will also need to be funded each year so stay tuned — we’ll need your help securing funding as well!

Thanks for reading!

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