Cyclists are working to gather support for a plan that would give them more space to ride in the Port City. The idea would make Sundays a day for riding, closing some streets to cars, and leaving them for bikes.
”It’s in its infancy in a way. I feel like in the next several years you're going to really start to see it take on,” said Matthew Wisthoff.
The cycling community is growing, but first it needs a place where it can grow.
“One of the most common questions I get asked is, ‘you know, I want to ride my bike, where's a good place in Wilmington?’ and I have a really hard time coming up with an answer,” said Erol Caglarcan of Cape Fear Cyclists.
“The bike paths that are in place right now are a good start. But they're very disconnected, they'll leave you at four lane intersections with no crosswalk,” Wisthoff said.
To help, a movement is growing on-line to give people a place to ride. It's called 'ciclovia’, a Spanish word meaning bike path
The idea? To close about six miles of city streets to cars for six hours on Sundays and open them up to walkers and riders...
“Just to see what you can do with the public space and turn it into a living space,” Caglarcan said.
As of right now, the closure would be focused around the 17th Street Extension near Halyburton Park. A petition is circulating the web, and facebook. Supporters say Sunday riding would be safe, something that can't be said about some city streets now.
Some riders like Matt Wisthoff have even been hit. “It resulted in a collision, and it’s unfortunate. But, it will keep happening just as long as people don't take bikes seriously on the road.”
The next step? Take the plan to the city for approval. “I think there will be some challenges going forward, but hopefully with a lot of volunteers and a lot of support behind it it'll be successful,” Caglarcan said.
The cyclists plan to collect more signatures over the next several months.
If you would like to see the petition or learn more about the proposal, you can visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/654208341.