SHELBY-- South Laurel Street in Lincolnton is a safer, more bicycle-friendly street after recent improvements by theN.C. Department of Transportation.
The improvements,a collaborative effort between NCDOT and the city of Lincolnton, arepart of the"Complete Streets" initiative being implemented in North Carolina and other locations throughout the country. "Complete Streets" is North Carolina's approach to interdependent, multi-modal transportation networks that safely accommodate access and travel for all users.This part of South Laurel Streetwas originallya four-laneroadway, but is nowa three-laneroadwaywith a center, two-wayleft turn lane and bicycle lanes on either side of the road next to the curb and gutter.
South Laurel Street was a prime candidate for the improvementsbecause it is located in a mixed commercial/residential area and is a connector between these locations, downtown Lincolnton, an elementary school, andrecreational areas such as the YMCA and the Martha H. Cloninger Rail-Trail. Allofthose areas lend themselves to alternative modes of transportation.
The South Laurel Streetproject willmaintain a high level of service for vehicular traffic while improvingsafety with the addition of the center, two-wayleft turn lane. South Laurel Street's traffic volume is below the road's capacity, and projections show only a slight increase in volume over the next 25 years.It will also provide safer routes of travel for bicyclists and pedestrians with designated bike lanes and increased distance between pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
Signs are now in placealerting driversto the change in traffic pattern.
Motorists traveling through South Laurel Street are reminded to stay alert, obey the speed limitand pay attention to the new street markings and traffic pattern.
For real-time travel information at any time, visit the Travel section of theNCDOT website, call511, orfollow NCDOT onTwitter. Another option isNCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website.