Council acts on two sets of bike lanes, $50 million in bonds

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City councilors gave final approval Tuesday to temporary bicycle lanes for Hillsborough Street, along where North Carolina State University abuts the street. Councilors also voted to move forward with designing bike lanes for Faircloth Street, on the eastern boundary of Meredith College.

The temporary bike lane markings along Hillsborough Street will lead to permanent markings after two to six months. The state Department of Transportation, which maintains the street, agreed to let the city put the bike lanes down Hillsborough but first wanted to test how the lanes would work.

City transportation manager Eric Lamb said he did not know exactly when the temporary markings would go down, but said it would likely be a couple months before cyclists have their own lane on Hillsborough. In the current plan there are no street markings for the the bike lanes, but councilors voted to look into putting signs along the street or painting icons in the bike lanes.

The one change on how the bike lanes will be set up is that there will be one foot between parked cars and the bicycle lane. The original plan had two feet between parked cars and the bike lane. Lamb said the DOT wanted to have an 11-foot travel lane.

Daniels Middle School traffic

For more than two years Daniels Middle School parents and neighbors around the Oberlin Road school have been trying to work out differences about traffic backups behind the school. They now have a solution. It happens to be the same solution that councilors proposed last year, but this time school officials have agreed to the new traffic pattern.

Sanderson Drive and Wake Drive, two residential streets behind Daniels, have been the spot for parents to pull up and drop off their kids. But neighbors complained that the parents cause traffic in the mornings and afternoons on the two small streets, creating a dangerous situation for kids walking in the streets and an annoyance for those trying to get in an out of the neighborhood.

The new solution, same as the old solution, is for parents coming off Glenwood Avenue into the neighborhood to drop off their kids have to go through school property and exit on Oberlin Road instead of turning around and going back out on Glenwood.

When the issue went before council’s Law and Public Safety Committee last week, committee chair Mary Ann Baldwin said, “Nobody’s going to get what they want 100 percent, but that’s the nature of compromise.”

School officials have agreed to the plan this time around, which was the holdup last year. The school will have to put a teacher in the parking lot to direct traffic as it moves through campus.

Councilors will get an update from city staff in September on how the new system is working.

Geothermal grant

The city’s getting another $1.29 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The grant will cover about half the cost of installing a $2.6 million geothermal heating and cooling system in the Wilders Grove Solid Waste Services Center.

Geothermal systems use water piped deep underground to control temperature in buildings and is more energy efficient than traditional air conditioners and heaters.

Bonds

Council gave final approval Tuesday night to $50 million in limited obligation bonds to build remote operations facilities for the Solid Waste Services Department. The remote operations projects were originally part of the controversial Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center, but councilors split the projects off when the public safety center proposal hit a deadlock.

During the meeting Mayor Charles Meeker said the bonds “will allow at least the initial remote ops facilities to go forward.” He also hinted that the Lighner Center debate was not over, saying that passing these bonds did not hurt the city’s chances at building a new public safety center.

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