Greenville Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission urges City Council to prioritize bike lanes

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Members of Greenville’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission passed a resolution Wednesday night, calling on City Council to make street safety a priority.

“A lot of people don’t ride bikes, don’t walk because they feel unsafe. I commute on my bike almost every day and I’m terrified most of the time,” Commission Member Patrick Harris said.

That’s why local advocates are pushing for bike lanes throughout the city.

They were originally part of DOT’s plan to widen Evans Street, but Greenville City Council put that on hold several weeks ago. Now members of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission are urging the Council to reconsider.

“We were concerned that the desire to restructure the road without bike lanes would impact the ability of the community to safely and comfortably utilize alternate forms of transportation,” Harris said.

One issue with the original plan was that it forced the South Hall neighborhood to tear down its wall. Just two weeks ago, a biker was hit by a car riding near that wall.

Commission members say bike lanes are the best way to prevent incidents like that.

“In the absence of that, bicycle commuting becomes impractical and very, very unsafe,” Harris said.

It’s not just Evans Street though. There are plans to add bike lanes to other roads in the area, like Firetower and Portertown.

“Get a few cars off the road and get more people traveling in a way that uses a bike or their legs,” Chair Katy Webb said.

Chair Katy Webb says they’re now concerned about plans for those.

“There’s room for all of us on these streets. That I think that this is a good way that we’re moving and that it’s a healthier way for our community to move forward to include bike lanes and sidewalks in these areas,” Webb said.

DOT is working to develop a new plan for Evans Street that doesn’t impact nearby residents. Project engineers will present that plan to City Council on April 24th, which is also when the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission plans to present its resolution.

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