Summary of Comments on Merritt Mill, Cameron, Ransom and McCauley

Tim W.:  Merritt Mill/Cameron/Bikepath, with its screwy misalignment,is an accident waiting to happen. Cyclists don’t know what move they should make when coming into the intersection from the bikepath. I like to behave like any other vehicle on the road, but this is hard to do when you are coming off a bike-only roadway. Drivers (when they don’t ignore me!) sometimes stop for me to cross, creating an awkward and unpredictable situation. I think a roundabout is worth serious consideration.

Gail M.: We live on Cameron Avenue a couple blocks west of Ransom, and frequently drive and walk along Ransom. Although we are not bikers, we are concerned about the safety problems there. The sidewalks are precarious, especially along the section where there is only one narrow sidewalk (along the east side) with impediments posed by light poles. Pedestrians are frequently forced to step off the curb, into the path of cars and bikes already jostling for space.

We don’t believe it is feasible to close Ransom to car traffic entirely, due to access issues for the residents in that neighborhood. However, we would strongly support a configuration that would make Ransom one-way northbound for cars, with a bi-directional bike lane, and a wider sidewalk. Because the next street over, Pittsboro, is one-way southbound, residents driving their cars (including us) would be minimally inconvenienced.  (Clarification: in our proposal to make Ransom one-way northbound, we meant for cars.  Our vision for the bike lane would be one for each direction.)

Molly D.: The Merritt Mill to Libba Cotton Bike Trail is always harrowing. It is really awkward trying to cross Merritt Mill from Cameron and get on the trail. I’d love a green painted lane to be painted right across there! I had a complicated dance with a car today where I had to repeatedly signal and stop as I tried to get across.

Ben D. I have biked to work at UNC – School of Public Health from Carrboro for the past 15 years – 5 days a week. I use the LC Bikepath and then down Cameron and up Ransom. I generally arrive around 9:00 am and is not terrible – but it is very often that cars try to speed around me and get in perilous situations with other vehicles, pedestrians , and cyclists.

It would be great if there was a better cut through for cyclists somehow.

Mckenzie: I used to ride this route almost daily. I can’t tell you the number of really close calls. I tried taking the whole road, but have had cars behind me rev their engines in anger. Both sections are so unsafe. I find myself lucky every time I make it back and forth to work safely.

Janet W.: I use the LC bike-way to get to campus from Carrboro several times per week. And I usually turn on Ransom to and then left on McCauley. And I took this route daily when working at UNC Hospitals since 1996. I don’t recall many scary incidents on McCauley or Ransom in those years but there were some, maybe once per month. Heading east off the bike-way to Merritt Mill was always tricky. I always go to the middle lane and usually wait for the light to go left. If there is no traffic anywhere I run the light. Coming back to Carrboro, I cross the tracks, take a right, and then head across the lanes to the bike-way. This always seems dangerous and I check for traffic more than once before I cross. There is no perfect solution, except maybe making Cameron car free. Even with a round about there will probably still be problems.

Leslie M. I’ve recently started biking this route.  I usually travel between 8:15-8:45 in the mornings and 4:45-5pm in the evenings.  Though I’ve not been biking in this cold and luckily can take the bus 🙂

On Ransom St, I agree with adding any of the above (double yellow lines, sharrows, speed bumps and/or any additional signage) alerting to cyclists.  So far, I’m just really careful and check my mirror a lot to see who is behind me.  I also usually have my lights on.  I have not had a problem yet.  Noone has tried to pass me in an unsafe way, but I don’t have many months of experience to date.

The W. Cameron/Merritt Mill intersection is really tricky.  Again, mostly, I just try to ride very carefully each way and always assume a driver does not see me until I make eye contact.  It’s kind of tiring. I don’t have much experience in traffic circles on a bike, but they seem like a good idea for car traffic.

Miki K.: I bike on Cameron to the Libba Cotton path and am always nervous when crossing Merritt Mill onto the pathway. The only really safe crossing is to wait for the walk signal but to get one you have to get off your bike and go over to the button. I find this time consuming and very inconvenient.

Kate T.: I live in the Westwood neighborhood and frequent these intersections–sometimes on foot, sometimes on my bike, and sometimes in my car. Cars uniformly drive these routes too fast and w/o any sense of sharing the road (i.e., turning right off Cameron onto Ransom is quite dangerous for cyclists, as is hanging out there on Merritt Mill waiting to turn left onto Cameron). I’d love to see a traffic circle at the latter; and a “bike light” at the former that reminds cars that cyclists are to their right. As for McCauley/Ransom–yikes–cars drive too fast, don’t come to a full stop, and cyclists are pushed into the middle by untrimmed trees and bushes. What I think is needed all along the length of Ransom are bigger speed bumps (with a cutout for bicycle tires) and a stop sign at every corner, and many more “sharrows”.

Pierre L.:  I used to take Edwards -> McCauley -> Cameron -> Ransom to get to work. Ransom was frequently an issue but assertively taking the lane helps. Sharrows would be a good, cheap solution in my opinion because there is enough bicycle traffic to change the expectation that Ransom is a quick shortcut. If more people took the lane, drivers would notice.

Liane S.:  I come from Damascus Church Rd, Smith Level, then pass Merritt Mill and climb the bikeway after going through that decrepit warehouse parking lot that allows me to skip Greensboro St and Merritt Mill horrors. I don’t have too much trouble with the Cameron/Merritt Mill intersection, I just pay close attention and eventually merge into that left turn lane and turn onto Cameron. but Ransom St is always tricky. It is truly almost impossible for a car to safely pass, and I feel for them, but I have nowhere to go and have to be in their way. I figure, it’s only for a moment and then they can pass me after the intersection with Macauley. If they get livid, well, welcome to reality. People on bicycles happen on campuses, get used to it. I can’t even take a bus to campus from where I live and now they charge for park and ride. Riding a bike, or parking on private property and taking a bus are the only way I can work at UNC.

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