On a beautiful day, stuck in the office, do you ever find yourself daydreaming of what Capital Boulevard, T.W. Alexander, or Cornwallis Road would look like if instead of cars everyone were on roller blades, bikes, jogging or walking? The idea seems as far away as Rosie from the Jetsons waving goodbye as we take Astro and get in our personal elevator that takes us to our hover craft with pods that deliver each of us to our final destinations – be it school, the mall or work. But is it really a dream of the future?
On Sunday, May 23rd, the Town of Wake Forest closed the historic downtown streets for a full day of criterium-style bike races. Durham pondered the question The Beatles posed decades ago of, “Why don’t we do it in the road?,” and responded with Bull City Summer Streets. They opened up the streets surrounding the old ballpark for active commuters to toddlers and hula hoopers, inviting the entire community to hold exercise classes or any other activities in the streets.
Last July the NC Department of Transportation made their own commitment to having happier, healthier streets when they implemented the Complete Streets policy. The Complete Streets policy, successful in other states, requires that “all transportation facilities within a growth area of a town or city funded by or through NCDOT, and planned, designed, or constructed on state maintained facilities, must adhere to this policy,” and consider accommodations and facilities for all types of commuters, regardless of mode choice.
London has taken it one step further to a new type of highway: Cycle Superhighways. With high tolls to get into the city increasing to the equivalent of more than $14 USD for drivers, and lesser chargers for bus and tube riders, they have created the congestion- and pollution-reducing cycle lanes with hopes of creating a cycling revolution. Incorporating safety, accessibility, efficiency to current and expanded bike lanes in hopes of getting one step closer to a society that echoes the cries of another great Brit band in saying, “I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride it where I like.”