Less may well be more, once again

RTA supports a thoughtful, effective mobility network that meets community goals — and meets our growing region where we are, and where we are going.

Take freeways for instance, which are the backbone of our regional transportation system — and hopefully, our regional transit system, if the ongoing FAST study has anything to do with it.

Freeways are limited access, restricted-use facilities that provide high speed, safe mobility that increase accessibility within and between regions, while ensuring parallel roadways can stay smaller. We have successfully pushed to advance many segments of our freeway network. We have also successfully advocated for nearly 100 miles of speed limit increases on North Carolina’s freeway system over the past several years.

Other arterial roadways are also important; however, they may not need higher speeds. In fact, some of them may do better if they were “calmed’ with lower speeds and complementary design.

For example, one improvement that I would like to see more consideration of is a 28′ wide (per direction) arterial roadbed to accommodate both vehicular traffic and bicyclists. 

My suggestion involves two adjacent 10′ lanes, a 2′ buffer, and then a 6′ wide bicycle lane. This would be 28′ wide — only 4′ wider than a typical 2 x 12′ = 24′ wide roadway. The narrower lanes will serve to slow traffic down, and it also minimizes additional crossing width that would otherwise be associated with adding a bike lane. The right-most lane could even be a RED transit lane — allowing for Right turns, Emergency use, and Driveway access/egress in addition to buses.

Adding multimodal infrastructure to a roadway does not need to be detrimental to car travel — and this is true, even if the speed limit were to drop.

As we approach a new year, and a new reality amidst the ongoing pandemic recovery, we have an opportunity to rethink the traveled way. RTA will continue to encourage multimodal solutions to help keep all roadway users moving.

Let’s get moving,


Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation


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