Things to Fix Before the DNC: Disappearing Bike Lanes
Each month leading up to next September’s Democratic National Convention, writer Jeremy Markovich profiles one aspect of Charlotte that needs fixing up
It’s hard out here for a peloton. Charlotte has sixty-five miles of bike lanes—little four-foot-wide fiefdoms that, in theory, separate cyclists from whizzing cars and trucks on busy streets. The city is busy trying to build more, and the incomplete system has quirks, like a bike lane that disappears as eastbound bikers on Tyvola Road pass South Boulevard. Cross it and—surprise!—you’re playing dodge the side-view mirror.
Can It Be Fixed? Sure, you could widen the road or build bike lanes on the other side of the curb (like they do in Europe). But those jobs cost a lot. The Charlotte Area Bike Alliance’s Martin Zimmerman says a cheaper alternative might be what’s called a curb cut, like at crosswalks. Contrary to what many people think, bicyclists can, perfectly legally, ride on the sidewalk in most places (not uptown), and a curb cut would act as a bicycle escape route.