The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

Council Delays Decision On Cameron Restriping

Richard Goldberg spoke to the Chapel Hill Town Council about his greatest fear as a biker - getting "doored."

Goldberg, of 202 Fallen Log East in Chapel Hill, was at the meeting Monday night to speak to the council about an item on its consent agenda calling for the restriping of part of West Cameron Avenue, which would eliminate a turn lane for part of the avenue and perhaps leave bikers to fight the traffic in the road.

But Goldberg said one of the biggest concerns of bicycle riders is not the moving cars but the stationary ones. "As a bicyclist, it is very dangerous to ride on a road with parked cars," he said.

That's how one gets doored. The term refers to what happens when cyclists are hit by drivers opening their doors when parked on the side of the road.

Before the meeting, council member Pat Evans said it was in the best interests of area bikers to remove the item from the agenda to study it further.

"I think it's going to be pulled from the consent agenda," Evans said. "I think it would be better for us to delay this decision."

While Evans said restriping Cameron Avenue to eliminate part of a turn lane would endanger cyclists, council member Kevin Foy saw it differently.

"The lanes are too narrow for bicycles and cars, and if you widen the lanes you have room for the bicycles, cars and parked cars as well," Foy said.

Goldberg, with his cycling helmet resting on the speakers' podium, said he is opposed to the plan calling to restripe Cameron. He said the California Department of Transportation recommends five feet between parked and moving cars. Goldberg added that three feet are necessary between parked cars and cyclists to avoid being doored, and that traffic lanes should be 15 feet wide to accommodate everyone. He said the current plan for Cameron Avenue would make the lanes 10.5 feet wide.

Loren Hintz, chairman of the Chapel Hill Transportation Board, also spoke to the council. He read from a letter he sent to the council members asking them to delay their decision regarding the Cameron Avenue project. Hintz said the project had not yet been brought before the Transportation Board for consideration. "We learned at our last meeting that there are several items related to our duties which we did not receive in time," he said.

As a result, the council decided to refer the item to the transportation, planning and Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory boards for further consideration.

Goldberg's solution to the problem was to implore the council members to consider removing the parked cars from Cameron Avenue. He said there are plenty of places for cars to park on the UNC campus, citing lots by the Smith Center and the parking decks on South Campus, but nowhere else for the cyclists to go.

"I just don't think it's safe, and I urge (the council) to remove all parked cars," Goldberg said.

"If people don't feel safe on Cameron, they won't use their bikes."

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.


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