Raleigh couple concerned about dangerous intersection for cyclists, pedestrians near NC State

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A couple in Raleigh reached out to CBS 17 about a dangerous intersection that is driving them crazy.

Bike lanes end on Pullen Road at Western Boulevard and bicyclists are forced to merge with traffic or move to the sidewalk. The city put up signs alerting drivers and bicyclists about what to do where lanes end.

CBS 17’s Laura Smith went to the location and saw several bicyclists confused about what to do. Some continued through Western Boulevard with the flow of traffic, behind cars, and others rode on the sidewalk.

Abida Waldbauer, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University, said she rides her bike daily to campus but worries about her safety.

“I just want people to travel safely without being worried about being hit while crossing at a light,” said Waldbauer.

She has had a number of close calls with City of Raleigh buses and vehicles that didn’t see her.

Her husband, Beck Waldbauer, wants to see something done about the bike sensors in the road so the crosswalk knows when there is a bike ready to cross.

“It’s more of a general problem, Western Boulevard isn’t safe,” Beck said. “It’s right on this college campus and there’s a lot of students around.”

The Pullen Road extension between N.C. State University’s Raleigh campuses opened to traffic in 2018 with a roundabout and new bike-pedestrian lanes. Students use the new extension to get to class but once you get to the older section of road, such as Western Boulevard, safety becomes a concern for Beck Waldbauer.

“It’s a brand new light, they painted the bike lanes on the road, and then you’re just stuck and can’t cross,” said Waldbauer.

CBS 17’s Laura Smith took the couple’s concerns to the City of Raleigh and was told before anything can happen the North Carolina Department of Transportation has to replace the aging Pullen overpass.

According to the NCDOT, it was built in 1952 and there is a future project to replace the bridge over westbound Western Boulevard, however, it is currently suspended because of funding wiped out from natural disasters.

NCDOT officials said there are plans to address bike and pedestrian facilities, however, final plans have not been determined. Before the project was suspended, the NCDOT said project letting had been set for July 2022. That could now change “to facilitate proper coordination between the multiple projects.”

The City of Raleigh also wants to see improvements to the intersection so it can handle bus rapid transit in the near future. Planning is underway for that. Beck Waldbauer went to a public meeting. He brought up the bike-pedestrian safety concerns and said overall it was “positive,” although any changes are years away.

Raleigh city officials hope to have all Bus Rapid Transit corridors in service in 2027.

Email CBS 17’s Laura Smith at LSmith@CBS17.com if you have something that is Driving You Crazy on your drive.

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