Raleigh is test­ing a new traf­fic pat­tern in Cameron Vil­lage

The News & Observer - - Triangle & N.c. - BY RICHARD STRADLING [email protected]­sob­server.com

If you drive on Cameron Street through the heart of the Cameron Vil­lage shop­ping area this hol­i­day sea­son, you’ll be help­ing the city de­ter­mine how many lanes the street should have in the fu­ture.

The city is test­ing a new traf­fic pat­tern that in­cludes a cen­ter turn lane and bi­cy­cle lanes on both sides of the street.

Cameron Street has had four lanes — two in each di­rec­tion — for years, and the shop­ping cen­ter’s owner, Re­gency Cen­ters, wanted it to stay that way. The com­pany thought four lanes worked well, par­tic­u­larly for the city buses that stop at var­i­ous points along the street.

But when the city repaved the street ear­lier this year, it had in­tended to make Cameron a three­lane street with a cen­ter turn lane and two bike lanes. City traf­fic en­gi­neers have found that three-lane streets are safer, par­tic­u­larly where driv­ers are mak­ing left turns at in­ter­sec­tions like the ones in Cameron Vil­lage.

After Re­gency Cen­ters ob­jected, the city agreed to put in the new pat­tern with tem­po­rary paint and then mea­sure traf­fic for a cou­ple of months to make sure it works, said Michael Moore, the city’s trans­porta­tion di­rec­tor.

“We’re just look­ing to make sure we have good, safe flow, for driv­ers, pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists,” Moore said in an in­ter­view.

De­cem­ber may not be the best time to mea­sure the use of bike lanes, Moore con­ceded, but as a “worst-case sce­nario” for traf­fic the Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son is a good time to as­sess the move­ment of cars.

“There’s no bet­ter test than right now,” he said.

Some cy­clists are wor­ried that a win­ter test­ing pe­riod might un­der­em­pha­size use of the street by pedes­tri­ans and rid­ers

of bikes and elec­tric scoot­ers. Dan Boehl of the ad­vo­cacy group Oaks & Spokes wor­ries about how the city might mea­sure suc­cess or fail­ure of the new pat­tern.

“It seems like the whole trial process might be skewed to­ward car traf­fic,” Boehl said in an in­ter­view.

Moore said the city will use traf­fic counts and video to mea­sure con­ges­tion and points at which driv­ers get hung up. After a cou­ple of months, city plan­ners will then meet with in­ter­ested par­ties, in­clud­ing cy­clists and the own­ers of Cameron Vil­lage, to talk about whether to make the pat­tern per­ma­nent in the spring.

Boehl said Oaks & Spokes mem­bers are happy the city has got­ten around to putting the bike lanes in place, even tem­po­rar­ily.

“We see it as a suc­cess for sure, to go from noth­ing painted on the street to hav­ing pedes­trian cross­ings and bike lanes,” he said. “But we’re ap­pre­hen­sive about what hap­pens next.”

RICHARD STRADLING [email protected]­sob­server.com

The city used tem­po­rary paint to cre­ate the new traf­fic pat­tern on Cameron Street through Cameron Vil­lage, to make sure it is work­ing.

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