The survey has spoken

The Community Survey that recently was presented to the Town Council had a lot of information in it about satisfaction with town services. One area where the council should study real hard is what residents want in bike safety.

As many respondents were dissatisfied with the ease of biking and walking in town (35 percent) as were satisfied (35 percent). When you add in the ones who were neutral (20 percent), that means a lot of folks are leaning toward not walking or riding a bike in this town. Anyone who’s tried riding a bike along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard can attest to the scare factor, even with the sliver of bike lane along that highway.

Half the respondents said they ride a bicycle, and three out of four of those riders are pedaling for recreation. Two-thirds of them want separate bike paths. And seven out of every 10 respondents admitted they didn’t feel safe riding a bike in Chapel Hill.

And all that dissatisfaction with bike safety translated into 69 percent of the residents surveyed being very likely or likely to vote in favor of issuing obligation bonds to improve bicycle lanes and off-road paths.

This town has some severe bike safety issues.
The town and UNC will hold a community workshop April 15 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Magnolia Conference Room of the Giles F. Horney Building at 103 Airport Drive to talk about potential locations for a bike pathway between the Carolina North campus and the main UNC campus. Both groups want to avoid a pathway along the MLK roadway. And both want to avoid steep grades. They favor including existing or planned greenways for a portion of the route.

It seems clear from the survey that the town can address one sore point with residents very easily by working further to make biking in this town safer and easier and by expanding its bikeways. Two road projects that are under way – the Weaver Dairy Road and South Columbia Street projects – will include bikeways. It’s good to see that those projects will have bikeways that are off the roads.
Background materials about the Carolina North-town bike workshop are available at Now might be a good time to think beyond the bikeway connecting Carolina North with main campus and see what can be done for a more extensive townwide system.
–Don Evans

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  1. Runner

     /  April 5, 2010

    The town needs to build a paved greenway/bike route next to the train line that goes to UNC. It runs from the Town Operations Center, through the Carolina North property and straight into the UNC campus.

  2. WJ

     /  April 5, 2010

    “…translated into 69 percent of the residents surveyed being very likely or likely to vote in favor of issuing obligation bonds to improve bicycle lanes and off-road paths. ”

    This kind of statistic is very dubious in measuring support for bike lanes without communicating the corresponding increase in taxes to the survey respondent that issuing these bonds would mean.
    Maybe if the survey was worded, that if you support improved bike lanse, you have to pay an extra $10 per family member per year for the next 20 years?

    If residents are willing to pay for the increased debt with their eyes wide open is one thing, pretending to spend hypothetical future bond money is another.

  3. Mark Marcoplos

     /  April 6, 2010

    If it would in fact cost $10 per family member that would be three cents a day to cut down on traffic, reduce pollution, and provide opportunities for healthy exercise.

  4. Bill

     /  April 6, 2010

    Thank God they did not make any more lanes for those evil cars that we use to get to work every day. I am sure I could walk to work instead, it would take like 3 hours, but in the name of saving the planet, the six hours round trip is well worth it.

  5. WJ

     /  April 7, 2010

    Mark: However you want to spin it, 3 cents per day, 21 cents per week, as long as the taxpayer knows that there is a real money cost coming out of their pockets.

    I would imagine that there is no shortage of “good” projects that would only cost each citizen a measly 3 cents per day in additional taxes.