The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday June 5th

Carrboro bike share may roll into town

Carrboro might look toward considering a bike share program after reviewing a UNC student research project that will be submitted to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen on Tuesday. 

Graduate students enrolled in the PLAN 823 class spent their semester planning out how to place a successful bike share program allowing Carrboro citizens to travel to and around downtown Carrboro.  

The students would be in charge of the study, but UNC Professor Daniel Rodríguez worked as their advisor to help them make key decisions. 

"The idea of a bicycle sharing program has been talked about for several years," Rodríguez said. "A system, such as the one being considered, would be a boon for students."

Rodríguez said students would be able to use the proposed bike sharing system not only to move around all of campus but also downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro for little to no cost. He said its installation would cost even less than a single new bus.

But Rodríguez admits that hidden issues could arise. 

"We also recommend other steps like seeking important community input," Rodríguez said.

The students will try to convince their client, Bergen Watterson, transportation planner for the town of Carrboro, that the bike share plan will have a positive impact on the city.

"The hope and expectation will be that it supports the local multi-modal transportation culture and enhances our status as a bicycle-friendly community," Watterson said.

Watterson found herself impressed with the students throughout their semester after looking at their research for other bike share programs around the country. 

She said she also enjoyed their ability to offer thoughtful and detailed recommendations on how a bike share program should start in a city like Carrboro.

“I think that the bike share program is a great idea,” said UNC student Jessica Lancaster. “It could really help me as a student.” 

Watterson noted the town’s fondness of environmentally friendly projects, especially cycling, that expand and improve the town’s options for local travel.

Katharine Mather, Tar Heel Bikes co-director, said a bike share program around the city would help students get to places in a rush. Tar Heel Bikes is the on-campus bike share program that has already been implemented.  

“(Bike shares) offer lots of new mobility and we wanted to bring that to UNC,” Mather said. “They offer lots of connectivity.”

The students in Rodríguez’s class looked to Mather for help while studying their own plan, because she helped put together UNC’s bike share program.

Watterson said a future board work session will decide the ultimate fate of the project, but the students' final report will play a major part in their decision making.


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