For many of us, the varied extreme weather events of this year have started to drive home the need to move quickly to more sustainable ways for us to live, work, and move around our communities. Chapel Hill and Carrboro must join in, and perhaps we can even help lead the way. Strangely enough, putting temporary bike lanes on Cameron Boulevard offers us that opportunity.

One of the blocks to faster response to climate change is simply our current culture of planning. Tom Babin is a Canadian journalist who commutes year-round on a bike, and who creates videos on the ways that bicycles make our lives better.

He recently published one about three temporary bike lanes in Vancouver. Instead of spending years planning and seeking community feedback, Vancouver made the lanes first, got feedback second, and improved them based on that feedback. The bike lanes were built in months, not years, and started improving cyclists’ lives immediately. Maybe Chapel Hill could do the same thing on Cameron Boulevard?

If you think Chapel Hill should seize this opportunity, sign the petition.

Pilot projects are not permanent, but they have many advantages:

  • They can be installed quickly. Using construction cones or barriers, we can make a protected bike lane in a matter of hours or days.
  • They can be adjusted as necessary. Unlike permanent road changes, which involve installing infrastructure, like concrete barriers, that aren’t easy to move, pilot projects can be adjusted as necessary.
  • They show that governments can work quickly and creatively. Many government projects, including building better bike infrastructure, take years, in part because so many hurdles have to be jumped before construction can begin. Because pilot projects are designed to be temporary, governments can be flexible and creative.