Published Somedays

Wrightsville Ave Bike lane scam

(updated: Jan 24, 2010)

Chock this one up to one of the Stupidest Bike Lanes. This one, located on Wrightsville Ave., is probably one of the dumbest in the nation. Seeing this, I just had to stop and take some photos.

Here it is, in its entirety.

While it is obvious that we need bike lanes in Wilmington, this is more like NC DOT making a statement of what it really thinks of cycling. I mean, you wouldn't find a road lane just ending, with no signs or anything, just an instant merge onto high speed traffic, would you? That would result in all kinds of accidents, deaths and huge lawsuits. But a bike lane, a sidewalk, who cares. It's like they want us to get hit.

And if you're thinking that more will be put in to tie things together, think again. The DOT just completed a project on Wrightsville two years ago. It's unlikely they will be back for some time. It's also not part of the Cross City Trail or TIGER Grant. In fact, I checked the WMPO for current and future projects and found this one for Wrightsville Ave:

Wrightsville Avenue Resurfacing, Construction FY2010

This project will mill and patch Wrightsville Avenue from Wallace Avenue to Military Cutoff Road and resurface Wrightsville Avenue from Military Cutoff Road to Eastwood Road. This project also includes the installation of bicycle lanes between Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road. This project also includes resurfacing of assorted NCDOT streets throughout the WMPO region, including:

* Dawson Street between Oleander Drive and Wrightsville Avenue
* Lake Park Boulevard between Snows Cut Bridge and Carolina Sands Drive
* Landsdowne Road between South College Road and Navaho Trail
* Masonboro Loop Road between Beasley Road and Whiskey Creek
* North 23rd Street between CSX railroad and Market Street
* North College Road between Murrayville Road and Interstate 40
* Navaho Trail from Landsdowne Road southeast to Masonboro Loop Road
* Wilshire Boulevard between Wrightsville Avenue to South Kerr Avenue

For more information, call NCDOT Division 3 at 910-251-5724.

I see no mention of adding bike lanes from Wallace to Military Cutoff. Other upcoming projects such as the Gordon Rd. widening do not mention bike lanes either.

I should also mention that NC DOT, which gets money from the Federal Transportation Dept, controls nearly all of the roads in New Hanover County, with the operation and maintenance up to the city and county.

There it is, and then, poof! It's gone.

Am I missing something? Cycling and pedestrian infrastructure should be on the same level as auto infrastructure, pure and simple. Then you wouldn't get half-assed attempts like this which could even create a false sense of safety, making an already hostile environment for cyclists even more dangerous.

Unlike countries in Europe such as Holland, which has had multi-modal transportation planned in from the beginning, US bikes lanes are an afterthought. So you have to add them in later, one section at a time. Still, that's no excuse for a 100ft sub-standard (i.e., too narrow) bike lane in the middle of a 5 mile stretch of road with no plans to do anything else. At least from what I know about. Please correct me if I am wrong.

In Wilmington, even the sidewalks just end. It's comical. Put drain pipes in, cover and put a multi-use path over it.

You could take money from gas taxes and shift more of it to cycling transportation projects, but that doesn't do the DOT any good because that would mean less driving which means less revenue. More driving means more revenue and that's the primary motivator...they have to pay their fat salaries.

Six-Figure Federal Salary Gravy Train

When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

Note that they do not need to pay for externalities such as the pollution that cars create or the resources depleted.

Which brings me to something else. I know people out in the suburbs where I live that don't think anything of jumping in their car and running to get something, sometimes making several trips to the same damn place a day. "Oops, I forgot to get milk"..."I need to go back and return something"..."I need to take Timmy here, or Susie there"...etc., with zero thought to combining trips.

My point is that a lot of the traffic out there is simply non-essential. So when traffic studies and local governments are clamoring for congestion relief, and taxpayers spend billions each year on roads, realize that a lot of it is probably unnecessary and simply a result of gas being way too cheap for the value it provides.

It would be much less expensive for taxpayers in the long run to spend on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure to connect homes to schools and stores than to keep expanding roads for traffic, a good percentage of which, with a little thought, could be eliminated by the simple application of combined trips. But we don't do anything in this country until it is a crisis, right? Well a big one is coming, and then it will be too late.

In an upcoming post I'll talk about a city formerly hostile to bikes that is rapidly transforming itself into a bike friendly city. It it can happen there, it can happen here.

If you have another example of pointless attempts at bike lanes in Wilmington, please post them here, or better yet, shoot me an email with a photo and the location and I'll add it to a new section.


Filed Under: General Entries > North Carolina > Wilmington


1. sir moans-a-lot said...

if we're on the subject of dot cluster#*@!s, how about that 2-way round-a-bout at mayfaire.... yeah, think about that one for a second. how'd that one make it past peer review?

Jan 25, 2010 @ 5:04 PM

2. Sir Peanuts said...

You want to talk about other useless bike lanes, there is one on Pinegrove Rd as it runs beside Hugh MacRae Park. The thing only runs the length of the park on Pinegrove! It just goes poof!

Jan 25, 2010 @ 10:00 PM

3. sir billy the kid said...

that is the way i go to school and work everyday and it really is pointless so i usually just stay on park ave away from the vehicles

Jan 26, 2010 @ 10:13 AM

4. Michelle said...

What the hell...

Jan 27, 2010 @ 7:52 PM

5. goochami said...

You guys should come down to Myrtle Beach. For all its faults and cheesiness they haven't built and will not build any more roads without bike lanes. It has come so far from when I first started riding here. There is also a large group ride on Saturdays and Sundays (usually 60 miles on road bikes) but hey, at least they are riding.

Jan 27, 2010 @ 9:06 PM

6. Anthony King said...


Your quote about the ballooning salaries made me think of the line Mish Shedlock pushes--that we're continuing to suck money out of the private sector to continue unsustainable spending in the public sectore, creating a "two-tier society where government workers enjoy benefits far in excess of those for whom they supposedly work." I just clicked on your link above and see you're already familiar with his work.

Jan 28, 2010 @ 4:46 AM

7. Bryan said...

Yeah, the roundabouts at Mayfaire really scorch my salad. I am convinced that whoever is responsible for that was actively trying to "discredit" the concept of roundabouts by intentionally sowing confusion.

Jan 29, 2010 @ 9:05 AM

8. eric said...

I think that the bike lane (*I seriously hesitate to call it that) is a connecting piece to UNCW from the MUP on Park Ave. (Pake Ave., newly paved Donna Ave., Wrightsville Ave., Woodale Rd., UNCW).

on google map:,-77.868755&spn=0.008978,0.01929&z=16&msid=115066637929745847309.00047f33cf8dd8a90a2d2

Feb 9, 2010 @ 5:10 PM


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