Durham Bike+Walk Implementation Plan

The Bike+Walk Implementation Plan is a document that guides the department in prioritizing bicycle lane, sidewalk, and multi-use path needs around the city. The Plan combined previous separate bicycle and pedestrian plans into one in order to help guide and create a better, safer future for walkers and bikers. The final plan (PDF) was adopted by City Council on May 15th, 2017. Thanks to everyone who provided input during this planning process. 

The Bike+Walk Plan identified four types of projects: 

  • Bike Corridors are projects to restripe or construct new bike lanes or sidepaths.  
  • Pedestrian Corridors are projects to construct new sidewalks.  
  • Sidewalk Gaps are projects that fill in small gaps in the sidewalk network.  Most sidewalk gaps range between 200' and 1000' in length.  
  • Intersections are projects that improve pedestrian and/or bicyclist safety at intersections (e.g. crosswalks, bike box, pedestrian signal).  


Many of the sidewalk and bike lane projects in the City that are currently in design pre-date the Bike+Walk Plan.  All existing and future pedestrian and bike facilities are mapped out on our Maps page. Staff continues to work on how best to phase, fund, and design the other projects identified in the plan. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Description of Phases

Planning: During the planning process, the City works with the community to identify and evaluate options for improving bike and pedestrian conditions. A combination of public input and needs analysis are used to identify priority projects that improve bike and pedestrian facilities in the City. The planning phase ends with the adoption of the plan by the City Council.

Not Funded: After the plan is adopted, funding must be identified to design and construct the priority bike and pedestrian projects identified in the plan. Priority projects listed as “Not Funded” are priorities in an adopted plan, but not yet funded.  Large corridor projects that involve the construction of sidewalks or sidepaths are often funded with a combination of federal and City funding.  Smaller sidewalk gap, intersection, and bike lane re-striping projects are often locally funded by the City. 

Design: The City hires a design consultant or uses an in-house team to draft detailed plans and specifications needed to construction the priority project identified in the planning process. Public involvement is conducted early in the design process to collect input on preliminary designs.

Right-of-way: The City acquires the property rights needed to build and maintain bike and pedestrian facilities outside of the right-of-way.

Utility relocation: During this phase, utility infrastructure, (e.g. overhead power lines, water and sewer lines, underground gas lines) are moved as needed to make way for sidewalk or sidepath construction. 

Bid: The City uses a competitive bidding process to procure the services of contractors as needed to build the project. By state law, the lowest responsible bidder is awarded the construction contract. 

Construction: The contractor is responsible for building the project according to the prepared plans and specifications.  The contractor must also work with utilities to minimize service disruption, prevent soil erosion, ensure mail service is not disrupted, manage traffic impacts from the project, and protect all public and private property in the work area. At the start of this phase, residents, property owners, business owners and other stakeholders in the vicinity of the construction site are notified when work is expected to begin and end.


The City of Durham's Transportation Department  updated and combined the 2006 Comprehensive Bicycle Plan and the 2006 DurhamWalks Plan into one document focused on implementation.  Working with consultants from Stantec, Toole Design, and Mobycon, the plan helped the City determine which bicycle and pedestrian facilities are the most critically needed to improve safety, connectivity, and quality of life.  It also helped the City identify the best funding strategy to streamline the process of design and implementation.

During the summer of 2016, public input was sought on biking and walking conditions in Durham. The identified facility needs (420 miles of sidewalk opportunities, 453 miles of bicycle opportunities, and 480 intersections) were then submitted into a prioritization model. Based on input from the plan's steering committee and surveys, four prioritization categories were used: safety, connectivity, demand, and equity. These categories included metrics such as number of crashes, proximity to schools/parks/employment/transit, commercial land use, population density, poverty, speed limits, and facility connections. 

The top scoring segments underwent a second round of prioritization to analyze issues such as constructability, feasibility, and cost-benefit. This prioritization process helped identify 25 corridor projects, 25 gap projects, and 25 intersection projects. Recommendations for these projects were developed by the consultant using input from residents, stakeholders and City staff.