Bike and Hike Mobile App: Coming Soon!
With more than 70 miles of greenways and 2,500 acres of parks and open space, the Town of Cary has a lot to offer citizens and visitors who want to be active. By the end of 2015, however, there will even be more opportunities for active transportation and recreation for biking and walking Cary.
Juliet Andes, Facilities Planning Manager in Cary’s Transportation & Facilities Department, recently shared an update about some exciting projects in the works, including a Bike and Hike mobile application, improved signal detection for bikes at traffic lights, 28 more miles of bicycle facilities, bicycle and pedestrian counters, new sidewalks and bike lockers at the Cary Downtown Depot.
The Town of Cary was one of the first communities on the East Coast to earn the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community (BCF) designation at the Bronze level in 2002. “That designation has reinforced the need for funding to support bicycle infrastructure in Cary, brought a lot of positive attention to cycling in our community, and enabled us to the grow the program,” Andes said. Last year the League began providing reports to BFC communities that include resources and ideas on how municipalities can continue to enhance their programs, and Andes said that has been very helpful. (In Wake County, Cary and Raleigh both have Bronze designations.) As a result, Cary has made bicycle safety part of its ongoing law enforcement training and hosted a downtown Cary Criterium last year, for example, and Andes said the town will update its BFC application in the near future to seek Silver status.
Cary citizens passed a 2012 Capital Investment Bond that included $1 million for bike improvements and facilities and $780,000 for pedestrian improvements. Andes said much of that voter-supported work is underway now or in the planning phases, with completion expected by 2016.
Mobile App, Bike Lockers & More
Cary has added sharrows (bike share lane markings) on portions of some roads in Cary.
Cary’s popular printed 2014 Bike Hike Map will continue to be available, but this fall the Bike and Hike mobile app will debut, providing cyclists, walkers and hikers with a user-friendly and accessible tool. Once the app is available, users will be able to access it from their phones while on Cary’s bike routes and greenways for way-finding and information on amenities nearby.
Andes also talked about the bike lockers coming to downtown Cary. “We’re excited about our bike locker pilot at the Cary Downtown Depot,” Andes said. “Bikes can be a substantial financial investment these days, and these large storage lockers will provide a covered and protected way for people to store their bikes safely for an extended period of time. So if they want to ride to the station, and then take C-Tran, Triangle Transit or Amtrak somewhere for the weekend, they can do that.” Andes said the bike racks are heavily used in downtown Cary, so piloting the lockers at the Depot, a busy transportation hub, makes sense.
Bond funding is also enabling Cary to install 28 miles of bicycle facilities, which will be a combination of bike lanes and sharrows (or shared lanes for cars and bikes), as well as improved detection at traffic signals that will sense bikes in addition to cars. Bond funding and federal funding dispersed through the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) will enable Cary to put in a trailhead at the Reedy Creek Greenway too, Andes said, which will connect the existing Crabtree Creek trail and the Black Creek Greenway to Umstead State Park. “It’s a popular trail network, so putting in a trailhead with a shelter facility, restrooms and parking will be a nice amenity for bikers, hikers and walkers,” Andes said.
After the bond passed, Cary staff put a survey out to residents that included a number of ideas for bike/ped projects, and sought the community’s suggestions as well. The survey was based on Cary’s proposed projects related to its adopted plan and the ongoing sidewalk request program. “Overall, the response was really positive for proposed projects, and we got some great feedback on other facilities people wanted to see,” Andes said. The projects were ranked based on feedback and presented to the Town Council for approval.
Other projects in Cary include adding pedestrian facilities to the Walnut Street Bridge, which goes over U.S. 1. Andes said this will tie together the Crossroads Shopping Center area with a lot of apartment and town home communities nearby. “It’s exciting because there has been no pedestrian connection over the bridge, which has been a barrier to people getting there to shop and work,” Andes said, but the new sidewalk on the bridge and an extended lane will help remedy that problem. Cary is also working with the Town of Apex on Lake Pine Dr. near Apex Community Park. Currently there are two lanes and no sidewalks, but this project will increase Lake Pine Dr. to 3 lanes with a pedestrian refuge in the center, bike lanes and sidewalks.
Stay tuned for news as Cary’s connections and bikeability/walkability continue to grow, and visit Cary’s Bicycle Plan and Greenways website pages for more details.