All posts by oaksandspokes

Last Chance to give your two cents on I-440 Widening

So there’s a $440 Million dollar road widening project that will affect drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians in the entire Raleigh metropolitan area (i.e. 1.2 Million people).  It’s on the books to break ground in 2018.

You already had your opportunity to go to the public hearing last week but fortunately there’s still time to comment until AUGUST 27.  We really encourage you to visit the project website to take a deeper dive but there are some pretty significant impacts to bicycling and walking that we see coming down the pipeline.  Take the interactive survey to give your input here: 

 https://ncdot.publicinput.com/1851

We don’t expect a lot of great things to happen for bicycling and walking when lanes are added to an interstate, but there are opportunities out there.  The public information given in 2014 showed that there would be an opportunity for bike/ped improvements at Western Blvd when the Diverging Diamond Interchange option was selected to move forward.  I’m not really seeing these come to life in 2017 where we see one sad, poorly articulated, sidepath along the west side of Western Blvd near the K-Mart where a poorly maintained sidepath already exists.

This DDI alternative still only gives you options for crossing Western on one side of the roadway

DDI’s are actually known for their ability to do more with less so I’m disappointed to see that with all of this planning and laneage savings, we can’t see that people can walk or bike down Western Blvd on BOTH SIDES of the road.  Basic, right?  Perhaps there could be a low stress connection to Garland Dr.  With the plan as is, if everyone is supposed to cross over at Blue Ridge Rd, what kind of improvements are being made so that people walking and biking across five lanes of traffic and then two double right turn lanes are safe?  What about adding a crosswalk on the other side of the intersection? Also, The project doesn’t extend through the Blue Ridge Rd Intersection.  That means the existing sidepath on the south (continuing to the intersection as a sidewalk) won’t be improved for people to get to the intersection to cross.  It also means the curb ramps on the south side of the intersection likely won’t get upgraded to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Hillsborough Rd intersection shows us the sidepath to nowhere, although considering what is there now, I suppose this is an improvement.  There’s not much to say about this except that if it continued to Blue Ridge Rd, we’d actually be able to get somewhere.

Hillsborough and Wade Interchanges – one of the alternatives showing the sidepath along the east side of Hillsborough St and the realigned Reedy Creek Greenway segment through Meredith

 

At Wade Ave, the Reedy Creek Greenway gets bumped deeper into Meredith Campus.  The flyovers/rams and various alternate configuration gobble up the real estate.  Since all of the alternatives in 2014 gave us this insight, there isn’t much to say about this.  We are concerned about noise and pollution, however.  The current feel of the greenway doesn’t lend itself to realizing you are paralleling this roadway.  Options to abate noise pollution should be considered.  Also with the popularity of this section to the Art Museum, it is surprising that NCDOT is going with a 10′ trail width instead of Raleigh’s new 12′ standard or even a 15′ wide trail.  With the amount of pavement going into the overall project, this isn’t a lot to ask.

Reedy Creek Greenway under the Flyover – one of the Alternatives being considered at the Wade Interchange

There’s also the question of how much pavement is too much pavement, really.  The project videos give us  good insight into what this will actually look like from the I-440 Multi-use Overpass.  We’ve taken the liberty of cutting these screenshots for your viewing showing you the proposed increase in the amount of pavement here.

View from I-440 Multi-Use Overpass
View from I-440 Multi-Use Overpass after Widening (Two Flyover Alternative)

At Ligon Rd, the tunnel is generally used as a bicycling throughway is eliminated in alternatives that add a bridge structure for motor vehicles.  This alternative does not show any bicycling facilities and grades would make this a steep climb.  It does not appear that alternatives to create a through-road in this configuration would not be an improvement to non-motorized accessibility on Ligon Rd.

One of the Ligon Rd Bridge Alternatives which eliminate the existing tunnel

The project does improve some conditions for bicycling and walking.  There are two bridge replacements that add 5′ bicycle lanes and sidewalk on one side at Athens Dr and Melbourne Rd.  This is a considerable improvement over the existing conditions which lack pedestrian and bicycling facilities at present.

Athens Dr Proposed Cross Section (Similar to Melbourne Rd)

 

We’d love to see more detailed signal plans, pedestrian phasing, crosswalk locations, refuge islands at the crossings, and get a better sense of the Reedy Creek Trail realignment and how that will feel.  We’d also like to know more about any ADA accessibility improvements.  If anyone at NCDOT wants to send additional details on what is being proposed, we’ll take them at info@oaksandspokes.com

And there’s no doubt that this is a lot for a citizen to take in, but we do encourage you to not be discouraged and to send your Comments or fill out the Survey by August 22nd.  And get ready for the ground to break in 2018, hopefully with good details in the bicycle and pedestrian design that are not shown in these public documents.

It’s Dangerous To Go Alone. Take This!

Front and Rear Bike Lights

Raleigh’s unpredictable weather means a chance of rain tonight for Oaks and Spokes’ Light Up the Night Ride. We plan to be at Crank Arm, regardless of the weather, to proceed with our celebration of bikes and more importantly — our bike light giveaway! Thanks to the City of Raleigh and Go Triangle, we are stocked with a supply of bike lights to give to any cyclist that needs them.

Law requires cyclists to have a front and rear light!
Ill-equipped for nighttime riding and optimal visibility? Come by Crank Arm tonight from 7-9pm to receive your lights to be better prepared for the adventures that await you!

Our scheduled Light Up the Night Ride may still happen at 7:45pm, should we deem the weather conditions to be safe to ride. If the ride is postponed due to rain, we will have a game night inside!

We encourage you to come out and enjoy a Crank Arm brew of your choice, play some games, and meet other cyclists within your community! A portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated back to Oaks and Spokes — so invite a friend and help light up the night, whether it be outdoors with our bikes or inside with great company and conversation.

Hope to see you there and, of course, thank you for riding your bike!

Moving Forward into 2017!

On January 21st 2017, Oaks & Spokes will be hosting its first annual Members Only Party from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM at the House of Swank, 315 S Bloodworth St, Raleigh, NC 27601.

We would like to formally invite our membership to attend, mingle, dance, sing, and and participate in this year’s party and the election of the board. You must sign up for a membership at the door if you do not already have one, at a cost of $25.  All current members attend at NO COST.

Appetizers and libations will be provided for all in attendance.

We have an amazing selection of candidates  showing an interest in taking on a more active role in making the community a better place for all people who ride bikes in Raleigh.

Without further ado, we are proud to announce the following eight nominees for the Oaks & Spokes board of directors for a two-year term:

 Full Candidate Statements

 

Ken Bowers

Running for: Secretary

Meg Bryson

Running for: At Large


John Kovalchik

Running for: At Large


Renee Foster

Running for: At Large


Willamina O’Keeffe

Running for: Secretary -or- At Large

Hannah Rainey

Running for: Membership Coordinator

Harry Rybacki

Running for: External Coordinator

Athena Wollin

Running for: At Large
Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the party!

We Need Your Support!

Oaks and Spokes has a new project up their sleeve and we need your support!  In the past we worked with the City of Raleigh to bring a ‘Bike Corral” to a parking space on Hargett St to make cycling more visible.  This time, we’re working on facilitating the purchase and installation of two bike repair stations and heavy-duty pumps.  One will be located in downtown Raleigh and another will be located on our gorgeous, extensive greenway system.

Contribute

These stations and the pumps will be installed in high visibility, high use locations.  You know you’ve been in a situation where you just need a little air or a quick tune.  We’re currently working with the #BikeRaleigh program and the Parks and Cultural Resources Department to confirm the final locations.

Please contribute to our fundraising campaign so that you can be a part of making this amenity happen in Raleigh.  Your donation by October 31, 2015 will give Oaks and Spokes the capacity to keep the conversation ‘rolling.’BikeRepairStations

Love helping others while sampling local beer, music, and fun? Come out and crank!

If you attended the Oaks and Spokes Festival last year, you might remember the two-wheeled charity and game extravaganza on Hargett Street known as Crank for a Cause. It’s back this year, organized and supported by Crank Arm Brewery. There will be bands, fun, Trolley Pub rides, and of course, delicious local beer. Bring some friends to make a team and ride a trainer to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.

crank for a cause 2013
photo courtesy of Sam Bennett

There’s no minimum mileage or pace to achieve, just get on your bike and pedal. The whole point is raising money for a great cause, all the while highlighting Raleigh’s generous bicycle culture and community. Crank Arm Brewery will have plenty of beer and there will be food trucks on site to refuel hungry pedalers. Dylan of Crank Arm has also worked with Raleigh Trolley Pub for ’round the block rides during the event. All this, plus some great local bands.

You’ll want to sign up soon. All the registration info is in this link.

photo courtesy of Sam Bennett