Durham Neighborhood Bike Routes

The Transportation Department is installing neighborhood bike routes, otherwise known as bike boulevards, to help residents safely navigate by bicycle to destinations across Durham using local streets with low traffic volumes and speeds. The first 7 miles of neighborhood bike routes are scheduled to begin construction in July 2023 and will be completed in the Summer of 2024.

What is a neighborhood bike route?

Bicycle boulevards are streets with low motorized traffic volumes and speeds, designated and designed to give bicycles travel priority. Bicycle Boulevards use signs, pavement markings, and speed and volume management measures to discourage through trips by motor vehicles and create safe, convenient bicycle crossings of busy arterial streets. For more details on the design of bicycle boulevards, see the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Bike Guide. The full project design plan can be downloaded as a PDF version here

Neighborhood Traffic Circle

Neighborhood Traffic Circle on Spruce Street

What are the routes?

The first 7 miles of neighborhood bike routes are mostly within a 1.5 mile radius of Downtown Durham because starting at the center creates the best opportunity to build this network over time. You can view a map of the proposed routes below or download a PDF version here.

Timeline

Contractors will begin work with adding the on-street pavement markings. Once complete, signage will be added along the routes. Construction is expected to be finished in Summer 2024.

On what street(s)?
From
To
Arnette/Jackson/Buchanan/ShepherdWest Chapel Hill StreetHermitage Court
West Corporation/Cleveland/Dowd/
Gurley/Gray/Hanover/Juniper 
Glendale AvenueSpruce Street
Hermitage Court/East Forest Hills/West EnterpriseArnette AvenueAmerican Tobacco Trail
Glendale Duke Park Connector Trail
West Corporation Street
Otis/Formosa/Concord American Tobacco Trail
NCCU at Fayetteville Street
Spruce/SouthgateJuniper Street
Driver Street
Belt/TaylorLiberty Street
Maple Street
WattsMain Street
West Club Boulevard

How were they selected?

Possible routes were identified by the Durham Bicycle Boulevard Initiative, and many of the possible routes have been published and promoted for bicycle travel in City of Durham maps since 2010 (see the 2010, 2012, and 2018 Durham Hike & Bike Map). The Hike and Bike Map identifies bicycle routes on shared roadways with lower traffic streets in green (see map link above). These routes, combined with the Durham Bicycle Boulevards conceptual network, formed the base to draw from for phase one projects. Planners examined about 30-miles of potential routes, looking at factors such as traffic volume, speed, and geographic distribution. During this review phase, four neighborhood meetings were held giving residents the opportunity to comment on potential routes.

More details about the process be found in the project's Route Analysis and Concept Plan.

What traffic calming elements are included in the project?

One speed management measure that will be installed as part of this project is neighborhood traffic circles. According to NACTO, neighborhood traffic circles lower speeds at minor intersections and have been shown to increase safety at intersections.  

Neighborhood traffic circles will be implemented at the following locations:
South Maple Street and Taylor StreetTaylor Street and North Elm StreetGurley Street and Gray AvenueGlendale Avenue and W Knox StreetArnette Street and Jackson StreetOtis Street and Pekoe Avenue 


Other traffic calming measures included in the plans include painted curb extensions or bulb-outs, where areas near the intersection are stripped out to visually narrow the roadway. This shortens the crossing distance for pedestrians and slows turning vehicles.  

Painted bulb-outs will be implemented at the following locations:
Gray Avenue and Elizabeth StreetUniversity Drive and Hermitage CourtHermitage Court and Hermitage Court DriveBivins Street and Arnette Street


Neighborhood Bike Routes Sign

What other bike infrastructure improvements are being implemented in the near future? 

In addition to Neighborhood Bike Routes, the City will be striping 8 miles of bike lanes starting Summer 2023. These bike lanes are funded by Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding. The bike lanes will be striped within the existing roadway pavement and will include striped buffers where space allows. More information on this project can be found here: https://www.durhamnc.gov/3606

The streets included in the CMAQ Bike Lanes project are:
American DriveE Cornwallis RoadFayetteville StreetLakewood AvenueStadium Drive/Olympic Avenue
Meriwether DriveN Miami BlvdRaynor StreetLiberty Street


What are some of the limitations in implementing bike infrastructure improvements in Durham? 

  • One of the constraints for bike improvements is resource availability, including funding and staff capacity. 
  • Timelines for implementation are also impacted by coordination with other stakeholders, for example on federally-funded projects or projects that are being installed on NCDOT-owned roadways. In the case of the Neighborhood Bike Routes and the CMAQ Bike Lane projects in particular, an NCDOT funding freeze also led to project delays.
  • In cases where bike infrastructure (e.g., a shared-use path) is being constructed outside the existing roadway, acquiring the right-of-way needed for construction adds time and cost to projects. This entails acquiring small amounts of property and permission to do construction. These are small parcels and so do not displace residents or businesses the way major roadway construction has in the past, but many projects require many small acquisitions, which can be a time-consuming process. 

Neighborhood Bike Routes Map

How can I learn more?

If you are interested in learning more about the project, please contact Hannah Reynolds via email.