March 3 hearings on dog tethering and bike plan

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Correction appended. The article below incorrectly stated the state Department of Transportation paid for the bicycle study. The DOT gave Raleigh a 50-percent matching grant and the city paid the rest.

Animal Tethering

Tuesday, March 3, a public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the council chamber to hear from citizens regarding the proposed ordinance regulating dog tethering.

Orange and Durham County amended their tethering laws last year to prohibit tethering dogs to a tree, post, dog house or other stationary object. Currently the City of Raleigh does not regulate unattended restraint of dogs.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit the tethering of an animal for more than 3 hours total in any 24-hour period. Any device used for tethering would be required to measure at least 10 feet long to prevent the animal from strangulation and entanglement. Also, the device should not weigh no more than 10 percent of the tethered animal’s total body weight and allow access to both food and water. Violators could face a misdemeanor and a $100 penalty.

Council could vote on the ordinance after the hearing. If approved the ordinance would be effective as of July 1.

Raleigh Tethering Ordinance Proposal

Bike Transportation Improvement Plan

By Andrew Mayo

City council could vote March 3 on adopting a comprehensive bicycle transportation plan following a public hearing. The plan hopes to quadruple the number of bicycle commuters by making roads safer, promoting bicycle awareness, working with employers to encourage bike commuting and creating an advisory council to advocate for bicyclists. In the 2000 census, 0.3 percent of Raleigh’s workers commuted by bike.

Raleigh first began work on bicycle accessibility in the late 1960’s. Three plans have since been proposed: 1979, 1983, and 1991. The 1983 plan was never adopted. Progress on the 1991 plan has been slow, and will be replaced by the new plan. The city worked with an appointed bicycle advisory council, Greenways Inc. and citizen input to develop the multi-faceted plan. The project is funded by the state Department of Transportation contributed half of the cost of the study, the city paid the other half.

The plan includes 447 miles of bike routes. This includes bike lanes, paved shoulders, and marked shared lanes. As of 2008, Raleigh currently has 43.2 miles of greenway routes and 5 miles of designated bike lanes.

Implementation will be on a prioritized basis. The plan narrowed work to 25 “priority” projects to begin this year.

In the development stage, a Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS) model was used to analyze road conditions for bikers. By measuring road volume, shoulder width, street parking and other factors affecting bicycle safety, the BLOS was able to “grade” Raleigh’s roads. Eighty-nine percent of Raleigh’s roads chosen to testing scored a “D” or worse. A combination of crash-site analysis and citizen input helped further pinpoint dangerous areas. Hillsborough Street has seen the highest number of crashes over the last 7 years, and is a main focus of the project.

The plan also calls for naming a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, as well as a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to oversee the projects. Both will work with the city government to advocate for cyclists. This includes policy change and program development, such as adding a chapter on bicycles to the current North Carolina Driver’s Handbook, bicycle commuter mentoring and a wide distribution of bike-related media. The advisory committee would also organize events such as bike rodeos, training sessions and summer camps.

To promote biking to work, the plan calls for workplaces to install showers and lockers for employees. The advisory committee would encourage employers to take advantage of the Bicycle Commuter Act that was passed as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and became effective January, 2009. Section 211 of the act (H.R.1424) “allows employees to exclude reimbursements for bicycle commuting expenses from gross income.” Employers could offer a $20 monthly benefit for employees to purchase, maintain or store a bicycle.

Proposed Raleigh Bike Routes

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