LEGISLATIVE ALERT – ACTION NEEDED
House Bill 44 final (3rd) vote has been delayed until Monday, June 15. Thank you Senator Woodard for proposing an amendment to remove the bike lane provision Section 7 (unfortunately defeated) . We do not know what action NCDOT will take and thus we need to act. You can ask your Senator to oppose this bill or remove Section 7, but more importantly, contact your House Representative and ask them to oppose the bill because of the road diet provision, Section 7: Click Here to Find your Legislators
Board of Transportation approval of bike lanes. In a real overreach, this section does not allow local governments to convert travel lanes of streets or highways to bike lanes without first obtaining a majority vote of the NC Board of Transportation. So-called ‘road diets’ can help improve traffic flow and expand safe bike and pedestrian options. Local businesses can also benefit from the increased bike and pedestrian traffic. While the state has a legitimate interest in traffic flow, that is already protected through the involvement of Department of Transportation staff. The Board’s role is to set policy; it should not be voting on individual projects.
The Road Diet provision originally in Senate Bill S617 was inserted into HOUSE BILL 44 on June 10th and approved at the Senate Ag&Env committee meeting. The bill was heard on the Senate Floor Thursday, June 11. An amendment to remove Section 7 was defeated. The bill will pass unless we rally more senators to oppose. More importantly, contact your House Representative as they will hear the bill next week, maybe as early as Tuesday.
Section 7 – the Road Diet Provision:
(b) Reduction of travel lanes to accommodate the addition of bike lanes within the 4 existing paved and marked travel lanes of any State highway system street or highway located 5 within a municipality shall be approved by a majority vote of the members of the Board of 6 Transportation.”
WHY OPPOSE THIS PROVISION:
- DOT Board has entrusted staff to make those decisions (such as road diet)
- Also, at the Division level, DOT will have evaluated volumes of traffic to insure that the roadway’s level of service will not be compromised by the modification and have measures in place to mitigate any negative impact of the change
- DOT Board does not operate on a project-by-project basis, but rather at a higher policy level and therefore do not need to be approving local projects.
- DOT Board has adopted the Complete Streets policy and this provision makes it more difficult (more “red-tape”) to implement this important policy which aims to:
- Make it easier for travelers to get where they need to go;
- Improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
- Increase connectivity between neighborhoods, streets, and transit systems; and
- Encourage the use of alternative forms of transportation
Information on the benefits of “Road Diets” can be found at the following links:
and USDOT’s Federal Highway Administration’s Safety information at: