2-foot shoulders unsafe for cyclists
Thorns to the CHN for giving raspberries to bicyclists (July 4) for
1) not getting the facts straights on the alleged bicyclists’ disregard of traffic control on Dairyland Road,
2) endorsing 2-foot shoulders, and
3) taking a broad swipe at bicyclists for running traffic-control devices or using the sidewalk (legal unless specifically prohibited) that seems calculated to foment motorist hostility.
Perhaps you didn’t read the June 26 online story in the N&O that calls into question whether bicyclists ignored the flagger on Dairyland as you assert ( bit.ly/QbMFi5
You acknowledge that bicycle drivers enjoy the same rights as others drivers. The use of a full lane for a Space Cushion (see bit.ly/IVLznx
) of safety all around the vehicle is a fundamental benefit and right. Yet you seem to believe that lane space is for motorists and bicyclists can use whatever may be left over, or should ride on shoulders.
I’ve been driving my bicycle on Dairyland for 25 years, and I dispute that the addition of narrow 2-foot shoulders is a “victory” for bicyclists and will be allegedly “a lot better” and “safer” than the historical lack of shoulders. Instead, I provide rationale that the shoulders are a million dollar debacle that makes it worse for bicycling.
Shoulders are to support faster motoring by reducing the possibility of single-vehicle drive-off-road mistakes. Bicyclists do not benefit from faster motoring. Shoulders are not designed for operating on. But IF they are misintended for bicycle use there are minimum standards, which are not met on Dairyland.
Bicycles are 30 inches wide and have a 40 inch footprint owing to normal tracking deviations.
According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, “The minimum width for a paved shoulder to accommodate bicyclists is 1.2m (4 ft).” Further, as with bike lanes, 16 feet is the MINIMUM total width for the shoulder plus adjacent lane.
The lanes on Dairyland are a mere 10 feet with 2 foot shoulders for just 12 feet total.
There are demonstrable safety reasons for the width minimums. A little shoulder is NOT better than none at all. The shoulders will have ubiquitous gravel and vegetative debris. Any bicyclist who rides on the shoulder (or edge of a lane with no shoulders) will be closely passed by motorists who stay within the lane rather than moving over.
Attempting to entice bicyclists to operate on 2 foot shoulders next to narrow lanes ignoring standards is unethical engineering. It’s like purposefully mislabeling a 12 foot underpass as 13 feet.
There’s not enough space on Dairyland to share side-by-side, but that is the misguided intent of the SHARE THE ROAD signs and now the 2 foot shoulders. Any sharing should be one-after-another, the same way motorists share with each other.
Bicyclists should not ride on the 2 foot shoulders. Instead, like motorcyclists they should maximize their Space Cushion by tracking at lane center, making themselves most visible and prominent to motorists. Motorists should change lanes to pass, and not expect bicycle drivers to operate on the shoulder.Wayne Pein Chapel Hill Editor’s note: The length limit was waived to allow a fuller response to the editorial.Let teachers stay
An open letter to Superintendent Thomas Forcella:
It was disheartening to read that a few teachers from Chapel Hill High School have been transferred for contributing to a “toxic environment.” As a former student of Mr. Wartski and Mrs. Thompson, your characterization of them is surprising and extremely discouraging.
I was student body president during my senior year (1998-99), as well as Kiwanis Club president. What made CHHS an amazing place to learn was the freedom of speech that existed, to not accept the status quo, and to be able to have the freedom to question why a policy exists and have the opportunity to change said policy.
When hosting an AIDS Awareness Day that coincided with World AIDS Day, several barriers existed, including some administrators’ hesitance to allow students to miss class in order to attend a memorable talk by Dr. Charles van der Horst, an influential researcher at UNC. Without the support of faculty who made it clear that I should fight to have this day, fight to ensure students would be provided with a chance to hear an extremely thought-provoking speech, AIDS Awareness Day at CHHS would not have been possible.
Mr. Wartski’s A.P. Biology course was instrumental in driving me towards my pursuit of a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences. His stern nature fostered an environment for students develop an intense work ethic crucial to succeed in fields of science beyond high school.
Mrs. Thompson’s class left me with the idea that you can have debates, where intellectual conversations are possible with people who have opposing views. She fostered an environment that encouraged people to speak up when they disagreed with something in a positive, non-judgmental manner.
I implore you to let Mr. Wartski and Mrs. Thompson remain in their current positions at Chapel Hill High School.Lars Perlmutt CHHS Class of 1999Best science teacher
Mr. Wartski is, by far, the best science teacher I have had in both my middle school and high school careers. No teacher has pushed me so far in order to reach my full potential like he has. He brings both challenges and fun to A.P. Biology. He teaches discipline and independence to his students. Furthermore, if I did not have him as my teacher, I definitely would not have as much interest in biology as I do now. Thanks to him, I now know what I want to pursue in the future: medicine.
There are certain teachers that students of Chapel Hill High must have before they graduate in order to experience what Chapel Hill High has to offer to the fullest, and Mr. Wartski is definitely one of these teachers. Mr. Wartski and his A.P. Biology class are irreplaceable parts of the Chapel Hill High School experience.Nicole Chang CHHS Class of 2013One of the best
Mrs. Thompson was one of the bet teachers I’ve ever had. She definitely prepares her students for college and a new way of thinking. I really enjoyed her class. It was a lot of work at times but I feel extremely prepared for college reading and writing because of this.
She is an amazing teacher and her class was one of my favorites. I think everyone should have a chance to be in her English class as she is one of the best teachers at Chapel Hill. Transferring a teacher as great as Mrs. Thompson is unfair to her and future students."Geneva Walata CHHS Class of 2012Let sixth graders play
I strongly think there should be sports in sixth grade. My first reason is that it teaches responsibility and commitment. Students would have to be on time to practice and keep their grades up to play. A student must maintain a 2.0 GPA as well as have an 85 percent attendance rate.
My next reason is that they would be outside exercising, instead of being at home watching TV or playing video games. Seventeen out of 20 rising sixth graders interviewed do not do any physical activity after school.
My final reason is that it’s just not fair. Seventh and eighth graders get to play, so why not sixth graders?Gordon Guest Fifth grade Glenwood Elementary School Start school later
A big problem in the Chapel Hill area is the time school starts. Two out of three of my fifth-grade teachers think the same.
If school started later students and teachers would be able to have time to eat breakfast, the most important meal in 17 of 18 students’ opinions. Another reason is students and teachers wouldn’t be stressed from lack of sleep. With less sleep you have less energy, and only 16 percent of the teenagers said that they get enough sleep. The school they went to started at 7:30.
One way that we could solve this problem is talk to the Lincoln Center. See about starting schools around 8:30. This time would be convenient for most parents. Thank you so much for listening to this problem and I believe that we can fix it ASAP.Celeste Kirby Fifth grade Glenwood Elementary School
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.