The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Bike plans coming to town and University

A new bicycle plan might help Chapel Hill cyclists and pedestrians get along.

For many Chapel Hill pedestrians, few things are more frustrating than a reckless biker. And bicyclists are equally perturbed by the whimsical walking habits of many pedestrians.

Chapel Hill is in the process of implementing its 2020 Comprehensive Plan, a wide-spanning program to make overall improvements to the city. As a part of this effort, Chapel Hill is proposing a new bike plan that would make for safer and more efficient bicycling in town.

This plan also came from grants given out by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said Garrett Davis, a longe range planner for Chapel Hill.

Davis is part of the recommendation committee for the bike plan, and he said the committee is close to having a draft.

“Without a guiding document, it would be difficult to move forward in the plans,” Davis said.

Davis said the most recent Chapel Hill census showed that two to three percent of Chapel Hill residents bike to work, but that figure does not factor in the student population.

He said the overall goal for the new bike plan is to improve bikeability because it’s an activity enjoyed by people of all ages.

“You can ride a bike for a long time,” Davis said.

UNC joins in the fun

And as the town is working on its bike plan, UNC is doing the same.

The plans will be independent of each other, but the same consultant is being used.

With the town and the University working on their plans at the same time, Davis said he hopes more support will be raised and the plan can come to fruition sooner.

Zach Ferguson, a student at the UNC School of Law and president of the Carolina Bicycle Coalition, said input and awareness are key to move the University’s plan forward.

“What I would like to see is people becoming involved in this bike plan so we can see what bicyclists want and help the university implement those recommendations,” Ferguson said.

He said students pay a transportation fee each semester, but none of it goes to improved facilities for bicyclists.

During the 2012-13 academic year, the student transit fee was $122.24, a seven percent increase from the year before.

Daniel Rodriguez, a city and regional planning professor who teaches a course entitled “Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning”, is an advisory member for the University’s bike plan.

“These two plans are happening at the same time not by coincidence,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said with both the city and the university pushing these plans, they can come together for more support.

There will be an interactive meeting on Oct. 23 for the UNC bike plan. And the town is holding a meeting on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

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