Rating System Guides City Leaders to Strategically Invest in Better Bike Networks
PeopleForBikes has released its third annual ratings of the best cities for bicycling in the United States, with Durham ranking no. 54 nationally and achieving the highest ranking of cities in North Carolina.
The PeopleForBikes City Ratings program is a data-driven analysis that evaluates more than 550 cities and towns and shows city leaders how they can invest to make bicycling better for all residents and visitors. City ratings are scored across five key indicators: Ridership (how many people are riding bikes); Safety (how safe is it to ride bikes); Network (how easy is it for people to bike where they want to go); Reach (how well the network serves all parts of the community); and Acceleration (how fast the community is working to improve biking).
“Durham’s score was helped by strong growth in bicycle facilities, such as the opening of the East Main Street protected bike lanes in 2019,” said Transportation Director Sean Egan. “Earlier this year, we presented options for public input on extending the protected bike lanes to Alston Avenue. We’re steadily working to increase our bike networks, and appreciate the feedback from PeopleForBikes on how we can do even better moving forward.”
According to Egan, perceptions of safety reduced Durham’s 2020 score, as the report noted that many streets are marked with 35 MPH speed limits, creating a “high-stress” experience for cyclists. One way the City’s Transportation Department is working to address this issue is through its Move Durham Transportation Study, which recommends reducing speed limits in central Durham to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and all users of the transportation network.
To continue the build-out of the network, the department is also currently working to implement in 2020 a seven-mile network of low-stress Neighborhood Bike Routes along with eight miles of bicycle facilities identified in the 2017 Bike+Walk Plan at the following locations:
- American Drive between Constitution Drive and Morreene Road
- Stadium Drive/Olympic Avenue between Horton Road and North Roxboro Street
- Meriwether Drive between East Carver Street and Old Oxford Road
- North Miami Boulevard between East Geer and Raynor Streets
- Raynor Street between North Miami Boulevard and Liberty Street
- Liberty Street between Oakwood Avenue and South Miami Boulevard
- Fayetteville Street between Umstead Street and East Main Street
- East Lakewood Avenue between Duke Street and Fayetteville Street
Other North Carolina cities included in the 2020 ratings were Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Asheville, Concord, High Point, Waxhaw, Fayetteville, Hickory, Mooresville, Cary, and Matthews.
“Now in its third year, the City Ratings create a complete picture of bicycling in cities based on measurable factors,” said Rebecca Davies, bicycle networks data manager with PeopleForBikes. “Top scorers are cities of all types and geographies who have succeeded in different ways, including cities that have made strong historical investments in active transportation as well as cities pursuing ambitious plans to rapidly implement high-quality bicycle networks on their streets.”
Data for the ratings comes from existing sources (including the U.S. Census American Community Survey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System), as well as sources developed by the PeopleForBikes team to capture city-specific data based on mapping, city planning information and survey responses from community members. This year, individuals submitted a record-breaking 68,000 surveys. From these sources, 184 calculations are performed per city to determine the five category scores, as well as a city’s overall score. City Ratings is a key component of the PlacesForBikes program, which provides measurement tools, guidance, peer networking and storytelling to help U.S. cities quickly plan, build, and promote great places to ride of all kinds.
For additional information regarding Durham’s efforts to create better bike networks, contact Transportation Planner Dale McKeel with the City’s Transportation Department at (919) 560-4366, ext. 36421 or by email.
About the City of Durham Transportation Department
The Transportation Department remains steadfast in its commitment to providing and maintaining quality, multimodal infrastructure to improve mobility, promote environmental sustainability, and enhance the quality of life for current and future Durham residents, businesses, and visitors. To learn more, follow the department on Twitter.