Rock the Ride CLT

October 20, 2017 11:58 am

Residents, commuters and visitors will be able to bike through Uptown Charlotte using a temporary, protected bike lane next month when a weeklong demonstration debuts along Fifth and Sixth streets on Sunday, Oct. 22.

The protected bike lane demo, which will run through Oct. 29, will stretch nearly two miles from Irwin Creek Greenway to McDowell Street and will provide cyclists an exclusive lane protected from vehicular traffic by a temporary barrier composed of road cones, hay bales and planters.

Installed and managed by the Charlotte Department of Transportation, the demonstration will allow motorists and cyclists to experience the benefits of a protected bike lane. In other cities, those benefits have included safer conditions and fewer crashes for all road users—drivers, pedestrians and cyclists­—and increased retail sales along the lanes. Previous studies have also shown that protected bike lanes have little to no effect on automobile traffic or travel time.

“We applaud the city’s leadership and commitment to expanding our bike infrastructure and bringing us one step closer to the full realization of the 2020 Vision Plan as a City of Bikes,” said Michael Smith, President and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. “A protected bike lane connecting Uptown with the Irwin and Little Sugar Creek Greenways will benefit businesses, employees, residents and guests across our Center City, while helping to reduce the number of car trips needed to access our city’s business and entertainment districts.”

The city of Charlotte is considering the addition of a permanent, protected bike lane in Uptown Charlotte recommended by the Uptown Connects study, along the same demo route of Fifth and Sixth streets. Data collected by the city during this demo will assist in the evaluation of the recommendation.

Heading west, the protected bike lane demonstration will occupy the left-most lane of Sixth Street, between McDowell Street and intersection of Sixth Street and Fifth Street, near Johnson & Wales University. From there, the demo will continue along Fifth Street in the right-most lane to Ray’s Splash Planet and Irwin Creek Greenway.

A portion of the demo along Sixth Street, between the light-rail line and Pine Street, will be a two-way protected bike lane, allowing cyclists to travel east or west across Uptown Charlotte, with B-cycle stations located at either end of the two-way segment.

The debut of the protected bike lane demo on Oct. 22 will coincide with Biketoberfest, an annual event by Sustain Charlotte that demonstrates how fun and easy it is to get around Charlotte without driving. The nonprofit organization will hold a second protected bike lane demonstration during Biketoberfest that will run south along Mint Street between Bank of America Stadium and The Gold District.

Charlotte Center City Partners is encouraging residents and workers to ride their bicycles in and around Center City through its campaign Ditch the Drive, Rock the Ride and has developed a page dedicated to bike commuting resources at  Visitors can see recommended routes, group rides and more.