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Plan calls for more than 600 miles of bike lanes

Dan Tierney

Cycling enthusiasts earned a major victory recently in making the city more “bicycle friendly.”

The City Council voted 7-4 to approve a citywide bicycle master plan that would add more bike lanes, increase funding for the city's bicycle program and improve education of riding for kids and adults. Through public meetings and surveys started in October 2007, a plan was developed to counter the predicted population boom and that growth's effect on environmental health.

The plan calls for an increase in total bike lane mileage from more than 50 miles now to 184 miles by 2015 and 613 miles by 2030. The city had zero bike lanes before 2000. Within two years, the plan calls for adding signs on existing bike routes and pursuing a partnership with the Safe Routes to School Program.

The approved plan does have its detractors.

City council members Warren Cooksey, Patsy Kinsey, John Lassiter and Edwin Peacock voted to defer the decision because of questions they found unanswerable, including language in the plan that “requires” the Charlotte and N.C. departments of transportation to design bike lanes consistent with current guidelines for any new or reconstructed road.

The plan received unanimous approval from a bicycle subcommittee formed for the project, as well as the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance and Center City Partners.

Heads Up

FIFTH STREET CLOSING: The two right-hand lanes of westbound Fifth Street between Caldwell and Davidson streets are closed for Duke Energy's construction of underground power facilities. They will reopen in late November.

STONEWALL CLOSING: Due to NASCAR Hall of Fame construction, Stonewall Street will close again nightly through Thursday, Sept. 25. The street will close from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

IN FOURTH WARD: The extension of Seaboard Street to Graham Street has permanently closed all lanes of Seaboard at the railroad tracks.

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