Mostly continuous bicycle lanes and other striping changes are headed for Rosemary Street as early as this week after a compromise was reached between the bicycle and business communities
Bicycle enthusiasts expressed their frustration that Rosemary Street – after months of street improvements and repaving – would not feature changes recommended by the town’s Bicycle Plan.
“Our expectation was at the end of the paving, there would be striping for bike lanes,” said John Rees, president of the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill. “About a month ago, we found out the town was planning on restriping it the way it was. … Before all this construction there’d be a short stretch (of bike lanes) and then it would just end and pick up again later.”
The thought, he said, is that if towns and cities wouldn’t do that with roads then they shouldn’t do that with bike lanes.
Rees and others circulated a petition, garnering more than 200 signatures, and requested the Town Council adjust the town’s plan to accommodate the bike plan. After several meetings between town officials and representatives from the bicycle and business communities, a compromise was reached.
Business owners stressed they needed to keep on-street parking for patrons while cyclists wanted it taken off to accommodate full bike lanes. In the compromise, the eight-parking spots will move across the street and sharrows or shared-lane markings will be added so motorists know to expect cyclists. A loading area will also be added.
“The following has been endorsed unanimously and I have authorized public works to proceed with the striping of Rosemary Street accordingly,” according to Town Manager Roger Stancil. “We all agree on the importance of monitoring this design and making future decisions based on the data we collect.”
The striping, however, will not be permanent. Town officials will monitor the striping pattern over the next two years to evaluate safety, connectivity, traffic flow, public parking and productivity.
Here’s how Rosemary Street will be restriped:
▪ No bike lanes on either side of the street from Henderson Street to Columbia Street with a reverse center turn lane into parking lots/decks and businesses;
▪ Continuous bike lane on north side of West Rosemary Street from just west of the Columbia Street intersection to Merritt Mill Road in Carrboro;
▪ Continuous bike lane on south side of West Rosemary Street from Merritt Mill Road in Carrboro east to Roberson Street and Mitchell Lane;
▪ Bike lane will be interrupted by eight-on street parking spots and a loading zone on south side of Rosemary Street between Roberson Street and Mitchell Lane. Sharrows or shared-lane markings will be in the travel lane where parking and loading zone is proposed;
▪ The bike lane will then continue east of MItchell Lane to the beginning of the left turn lane at the intersection of Columbia Street;
▪ Turn lanes on Church and Roberson streets will be removed; and
▪ Signal phasing will be added to permit left turn/straight arrows westbound on Rosemary Street at Roberson Street.
The new striping for Rosemary Street comes at the end of a months-long project to widen sidewalks, ensure sidewalk ramps are ADA compliant, install new light fixtures with LED lights, replace curb and gutter sections and driveway ramps and repave the street with $1.6 million from the town’s street and sidewalk bonds.
The bonds were approved by voters in 2015.