The Chapel Hill Town Council is working to increase access for bikers after discussing the possibility of a dedicated curb lane for bikes between Estes Drive and Eubanks Road on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
The plan involves a 2.5-mile increase in the Town's bike paths.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the bike path proposal is part of a larger plan that goes to the federal government.
“The timeline happens all during this year, so the next nine months are important for designing it in order to get it to the federal government as a complete package," Hemminger said.
The increase should also give residents more options for traveling within the town, she said.
“We want to make it easier and safer to get around the town in other ways besides your car. Bike plans, greenways, sidewalks, multimodal and improving the bus systems — those are all the things we are working on right now,” she said.
Hugh Nezat, president of the UNC Cycling Club, said the consideration supported the cycling community and highlighted the benefits of the activity.
“Cycling is recognized as very good to one’s health. It also helps with the environment. I also think it’s good to help the group access to the community,” Nezat said.
Jacob Weinberg, treasurer of UNC Cycling Club, said the location was a good choice because the extension will take place in a commercial area and solve some parking issues.
“One thing this might allow people to do is, on the weekends or other busy times, if they felt like, either drive on down to the Eubanks Road Park-and-Ride or take a bus down to the Park-and-Ride, and then just ride their bike on this dedicated bike path. They are all the way to Southern Village if they need their shopping, without having to worry about the parking, which, as you definitely know, is a pretty large concern for residents in Chapel Hill," Weinberg said.
“The more cyclists we have, the safer it gets for the cycling community,” Nezat said.
Nezat said the problem with cycling is education, as people in Carrboro don’t recognize bikes as equal to cars and need to be more aware of cyclists to improve the environment of cycling in the area.