All posts by oaksandspokes

2017 Cranksgiving is this Sunday!

It’s time to finalize your strategy, round up your team, and get your bike ready for a good ol’ fashioned self-powered, two-wheeled food drive bike ride!

Last year, we hauled in over 2,300 pounds of food with the collective effort of more than 120 cyclists. Let’s get out there this year and benefit the Raleigh Rescue Mission once again! Registration begins at 1pm.

Date: Sunday, November 19th
Location: Crank Arm Brewing (319 W Davie St)
Time: 1pm-5pm
Bring: A bike lock, bags/panniers, money for food ($15-20), and your friends!

This year, we have several prize categories to participate in and we’re featuring mini-missions! The Pedal Pusher category  will have its own circuit that is required to complete in order to qualify for the prize of a Surly 24-pack rack and porteur house bag. Otherwise, it is up to you which routes you take and which locations you visit. (Please note that teams are limited to 5 individuals per team in order to qualify for team prizes.)

Before the ride, the Trek Bicycle Raleigh Holly Park crew will be doing bike checks to assure you’re ready to roll!

Cranksgiving 2017 Categories
Cranksgiving 2017: Mission #1
Cranksgiving 2017: Mission #2
Cranksgiving 2017: Mission #3

Check out our event page to see more about the event details, prizes, and participant curiosities.

Thank you for riding your bike!

RDU Forest celebrates a step forward

This past weekend, RDU Forest advocates celebrated the RDU Airport Authority’s recent announcement to work with Wake County to expand Lake Crabtree County Park and to reconsider the future of the Odd Fellows tract, preserving its significant contribution to outdoor recreation and quality of life in our growing region. We reached out to RDU Forest for comment, and Rex Schaberg was kind enough to draft the following article.

The Odd Fellows tract (a roughly 105 acre tract designated as “Tract 1″ in the recent RDU Airport Authority RFP which solicited bids for non-aviation land-use) is in many ways a cornerstone for several important recreational and quality-of-life-initiatives here in the Triangle. The Airport has entertained an offer to lease the site for a new crushed aggregate quarry in the heart of Cary. It otherwise has no potential for commercial development (and will have even less if it is quarried into an enormous hole over the next 25 years), and it is unneeded for aviation. However, the land has considerable non-commercial value.

Resting on the shoulder of I-40, it offers a logical conduit to connect Triangle green-way and bike-commuter corridors. Without this parcel, such connectivity becomes problematic. It has long been a camping campus for area Boy Scouts, fostering values of self-reliance, community engagement and environmental stewardship. More recently, it has emerged as the most critical piece of property to address the need for a protected ride area for regional mountain bikers, as there are few approved ride sites within the Triangle, despite the explosive growth in popularity of the sport in recent years– the Odd Fellows tract offers some of the most advanced and sophisticated trail-terrain in the Triangle, and is therefore important and irreplaceable.

Additionally, the acceptance of a Conservation Fund offer to purchase this parcel (in order to subsequently donate it to Umstead State Park) from the Airport at a fair market value of $6.5 million would unlock an additional 150 acres of Umstead State Park, currently closed to mountain biking. These holdings, in combination with the existing Crabtree County Park, would constitute a unique urban recreational resource. The Airport Authority Board recently met and rejected both the aggregate quarry offer and the Conservation Fund purchase offer.

Either RFP offer could be reconsidered at any time at the sole discretion of the Airport Authority, subject to the approval of the Airport Board. Therefore the only real tangible effect of the rejection is to delay a decision about the fate of the Odd Fellows tract until a future date. It remains critically important that all the folks who want to see this tract protected for recreation communicate that need to their friends, local businesses, and the Airport Authority Board. The prudent course is for the Airport Authority to accept the Conservation Fund’s purchase offer, thus providing the Airport with immediate revenue, and ensuring the tract may ultimately be conveyed to Umstead State Park to provide decades of future recreational use.

In summation, the rejection of these offers By the RDU Board will allow us more time to find a win win solution, which will hopefully result in trail preservation. We need the community to be diligent in signing the petition and making their voices heard in opposing a future quarry. Business owners should consider offering their support as well. Please see www.rduforest.com for more details.

Cranksgiving is back!

We’re excited to get you excited about Raleigh’s 4th Annual Cranksgiving food drive bike ride. We’re once again partnering with Crank Arm Brewing to conduct our part bike ride, part scavenger hunt to benefit the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

Last year, over 120 of you came out to ride and we collectively brought in over 2,300 lbs of food! (Over a literal ton!) Cranksgiving is a great choose-your-own-adventure event all in the name of healthy bike riding fun to help our communities in need for the holiday season.

We will provide you a list of food and a map of stores for you to shop from, but it’s up to you how you choose to participate! Ride to one store or ride to them all, in a team or as a solo cyclist – we’ll be happy to have you come out and enjoy.

As part of our Cranksgiving celebration this year we will also be partnering with NC Vision Zero on their second annual World Day of Remembrance Exhibit. Each year, over 1,300 North Carolinians leave for a destination and never make it home. NC Vision Zero is a statewide program to change this – by preventing roadway deaths and injuries.

The remembrance exhibit will feature over 1,400 pairs of shoes on the State Capitol grounds, to represent the number of lives lost last year on our roads. Cranksgiving participants will have the option to visit the exhibit as part of the ride route.

Date: Sunday, November 19th
Location: Crank Arm Brewing (319 W Davie St)
Time: 1pm-5pm
Bring: A bike lock, bags/panniers, money for food ($15-20), and your friends!

1pm registration, 1:30-3:30pm riding time, and an after-party to announce prizes!

This is a ride for all types of cyclists and a family-friendly event and we encourage you to spread the word to help the Raleigh Rescue Mission haul in a bountiful harvest this year.

Stay tuned for more information on our route, shopping list, and point system. RSVP on Facebook to let us know you’re participating.

As always, thank you for riding your bike!

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.