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.
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.
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)?
|West Chapel Hill Street
|Hermitage Court/East Forest Hills/West Enterprise
|American Tobacco Trail
|Duke Park Connector Trail
|West Corporation Street
|American Tobacco Trail
|NCCU at Fayetteville 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 Street
|Taylor Street and North Elm Street
|Gurley Street and Gray Avenue
|Glendale Avenue and W Knox Street
|Arnette Street and Jackson Street
|Otis 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 Street
|University Drive and Hermitage Court
|Hermitage Court and Hermitage Court Drive
|Bivins Street and Arnette Street
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:
|E Cornwallis Road
|Stadium Drive/Olympic Avenue
|N Miami Blvd
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.