An additional-wide stretch of street by way of Lowell has taken on a brand new look just lately, which metropolis leaders hope will create a safer thoroughfare for bicyclists and conventional commuters.
North Carolina Division of Transportation employees just lately fitted McAdenville Street with lanes for bicycles on both facet of the street. It’s the metropolis’s first bike lanes inside the metropolis limits, in accordance Lowell Metropolis Supervisor Scott Attaway.
Hopes for rising security
Portray bike lanes alongside McAdenville Street – often known as N.C. 7 – was recognized as a high-priority mission in the town’s 2019 bicycle and pedestrian plan primarily based on driver security issues alongside the extensive, two-lane street positioned between Interstate 85 and North Most important Avenue.
Drivers are identified not solely to hurry by way of the 35-mph zone, but in addition move different drivers ready to show left onto residential streets. Some even go as far to park alongside the freeway, which the town doesn’t allow.
Now, drivers will discover a major discount within the width of the automobile lanes alongside McAdenville Street, which encourages drivers to decelerate and, subsequently, reduces the variety of collisions and will increase security for non-motorists, in accordance with the United States Division of Transportation.
“It should let individuals know you’ll be able to’t sneak by individuals whereas they’re turning,” Attaway mentioned of the brand new bike lanes. “It’s additionally about pedestrian security. That’s No. 1 right here.”
The 0.9-mile stretch of motorcycle lanes price NCDOT $2,500, in accordance with NCDOT. The town of Lowell employed a contractor to place bicycle pavement markets within the new lanes, which price $2,200, in accordance with Attaway.
Bike lanes and multi-modal tasks have more and more grow to be fashionable in some North Carolina communities, particularly people who expertise continued inhabitants progress, mentioned NCDOT spokesman Marcus Thompson.
“Division request for additions of motorcycle lanes has elevated proportionally with the enlargement of developments and inhabitants progress, particularly in Gaston County,” he mentioned.
Planning to accommodate cyclists isn’t solely primarily based on bicycle owner’s demand for having their very own journey area, Attaway famous. The metropolis intends to make sure Lowell stays engaging to those that are searching for Gaston County as their subsequent house.
Lowell leaders additionally consider much less cyclists are utilizing bicycles for his or her commute to work and extra simply wish to train and take in the outside.
“With the amenity of getting the bike lanes, with George Poston Park proper up the road, Lowell has an excellent alternative,” mentioned Attaway, who’s identified to hit the park’s trails on his mountain bike.
“COVID has taught us we don’t have sufficient on the market for individuals to do. We wish to preserve constructing that.”
When Belmont resident Michael Bissette isn’t working as an engineer, he spends the vast majority of his time biking public roads, from McAdenville Street to international roads in Europe.
Roads positioned throughout the Atlantic Ocean are constructed to not solely help leisure biking, but in addition biking as a frequent commuting possibility as a result of car site visitors there normally flows independently from cyclists, he mentioned.
Bissette believes Lowell’s push for bike lanes inside the metropolis limits will have the same end in Lowell and assist normalize utilizing a bicycle to get round.
“It’s massively helpful. Vehicles shall be extra adequately ready to expertise the passing of a bicycle owner after they see a motorcycle lane,” mentioned the avid bicycle owner, who hosts the Bike Psyke podcast along with his spouse, Emily.
“It additionally permits somebody who is driving their bike in an space like that to really feel extra assured and safer of their means to only keep a predictable path and pace, whereas automobiles is perhaps slowing down within the street to show left whereas site visitors is coming their manner and it’s going to take them 20 seconds.”
You’ll be able to attain reporter Gavin Stewart at 704-869-1819 or on Twitter @GavinGazette.