Shared Streets FAQ

Why do we need Shared Streets?

Durham residents are walking and biking to get exercise, fresh air, and pick up food or essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Durham continues to follow guidance from public health officials as the COVID-19 situation evolves, and we are learning from what other cities are doing to provide safe travel options. Outdoor activities such as walking, bicycling, running, and kids playing are essential for the physical and mental health of our residents, and need to be done in compliance with physical distancing requirements. Providing alternative places for these activities on neighborhood streets takes the pressure off of other facilities that are being heavily used.

Also, while we have seen a decrease in vehicular trips during the pandemic, there have been reports of speeding on neighborhood streets, increasing the risk of injuries from collisions. Prohibiting through traffic on Shared Streets reduces both the number of vehicles and speed of those vehicles on those streets. Shared Streets can also provide safer access to the food resources identified by Durham County, particularly in East Durham and the neighborhoods near North Carolina Central University. There is a strong relationship between the proposed Shared Streets and available food resources in Durham.

How does this impact me if I live on a Shared Street or need to use a Shared Street to access my final destination?

You will still be able to use the Shared Street. Please use extra care when driving on this street (and all other streets). On-street parking along these streets is not impacted by this program.

Are Shared Streets closed to people performing essential services (emergency vehicles, waste collection, street sweeping, essential construction activities, deliveries, etc.)?

No, people driving to final destinations on Shared Streets that are closed to through traffic may still use these streets to access final destinations. We appreciate all of our essential workers who are supporting Durham from collecting waste and recycling to providing deliveries from restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies, and everything in between.

Will speed limits be enforced on Shared Streets?

Advisory speed signs and other messages will be placed at entrances to Shared Streets to make drivers aware that that they are entering a space where people are walking, bicycling, playing, etc. and to maintain an appropriate speed. However, it is not anticipated that there will be speed enforcement on Shared Streets.

How were the potential Shared Streets selected?

Most of the Shared Streets are neighborhood residential streets designated as Neighborhood Bike Routes in the City of Durham’s Bike+Walk plan. They generally have lower-traffic volumes and lower posted speeds and are maintained by the City of Durham.

What’s a Street Champion?

A Street Champion is a resident near or on one of the Shared Streets who can help monitor the program, such as making sure street signs remain in place.  To request to be a Street Champion for your Shared Street, please contact [email protected]

When will Shared Streets be implemented?

Glendale Avenue and Watts Street will be implemented starting Monday, October 12, 2020. Implementation on Benjamine, Alma, Maple, Spruce, and Taylor Streets will occur at the end of October.

What if my street doesn’t get chosen for the first phase?

Your street will also be eligible for a future Shared Street treatment. See info below.

What if I live on a street not in the pilot list, and want a Shared Street?

Other streets may be eligible for Shared Streets treatment. To request a Shared Street in your neighborhood, please send a request via email to [email protected]. In your request, please include your address, the street requested, the endpoints of the Shared Street, if you or someone on your street has interest in being Street Champion, and any proposed activities that you could see take place on the street.

An example for a submission could be: "I live on 300 W First Street. I’d like to request First Street from Ash Street to Beech Drive as a Shared Street. We want the children on our street to be able to skate and ride bicycles in the street safely. My neighbor John Doe would like to become a Street Champion."

Please note that the Department of Transportation has limited resources and capacity for Shared Streets treatment. Staff will review eligible street candidates for Shared Streets treatment, and will be looking at a variety of factors to determine eligibility.

Are other organizations assisting with this project?

The Department of Transportation is partnering with SpiritHouse, Bike Durham, the Durham Children’s Initiative, the Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, and others on community engagement and the definition and scope for Durham’s Shared Streets program. The City also won a $25,000 grant from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery program to help with the project