News Flash

City of Durham News

Posted on: July 14, 2022

Durham Rail Trail Project Team Seeks Input on Design and Amenities

people walk along former railroad tracks that will become part of the Rail Trail

Virtual & In-Person Events Scheduled; Online Survey & Crowdsource Map Also Available Until August 20

If you’re interested in the long-planned Durham Rail Trail, now is the time to give your input on the schematic design of the project by attending upcoming meetings or by providing your feedback through an online survey or crowdsource map.

The Durham Rail Trail is a 1.8 mile, multi-use trail that will reclaim a portion of the unused Norfolk and Southern rail bed for walking and biking from North Durham to Downtown. Once construction is completed, users will be able to connect to major transit stations as well as homes and businesses, take in views above the South Ellerbe Stormwater project, explore nature in wooded sections, or venture onto the nearby Ellerbe Creek Trail and American Tobacco Trail. The trail will also provide a home for public art that captures the unique and authentic stories of Durham to help make the trail enjoyable and reflective of the community.

“Once completed, this project will connect residents to jobs, businesses, homes, public art, other trails, and transit centers in the heart of Durham,” said Senior Project Manager Rod Florence with the City of Durham General Services Department. “Providing an off-road path can reduce traffic crashes and provide safety for walkers and bikers. It also provides environmental benefits by reducing car use, protecting open space from more intense development, and providing room for future environmental enhancements. Access to open space, nature, and recreation are also beneficial to the wellbeing of our residents both now and in the future.”

The City’s General Services Department, along with its placemaking and design consultants, are hosting the following series of events for residents to explore the character of the trail and give their input on key design issues along the corridor. Community feedback is needed to prioritize amenities such as key connections, plants and special paving, outdoor furniture, signage, public art, identifying special places and histories, and trailheads.

In-Person with Virtual Access Public Meeting #1: Project Introduction, Engagement Schedule, Work to Date, and Input Needed 

In-Person Workshop #1 – Amenities: Public Art, Shelters, Cultural Markers, and Open Space

  • Tuesday, August 2 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Durham Station Transportation Overview Room, 515 Pettigrew St.

In-Person Workshop #2 – Connections: Streets, Mobility, Parking, Trailheads, and Destinations

  • Tuesday, August 16 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Durham Station Transportation Center Overview Room, 515 Pettigrew St.

In-Person with Virtual Access Public Meeting #2: Feedback Summary from Three Previous Meetings with Design Response from Consultants

Residents are also encouraged to give their input on the key design issues through the project’s online survey or by leaving a comment on the project’s crowdsource map by August 20 in order for their input to be included in the September 28 public meeting where the feedback summary, and the design response to that input, will be presented to attendees.

Funding for the project is currently from a combination of federal grants, City funds, and grants managed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Most recently, the City was award $9 million from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Grant program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The current project budget is about $16.3 million, to cover costs for design and construction of the basic trail, but many factors are still being analyzed that could affect the project cost.

Construction of the basic trail, which includes pavement, earthwork, street crossings and bridge work, is anticipated to begin in 2023 and proceed for roughly 18 months through 2024. Design and construction of the trail is being managed by the City’s General Services Department with planning and coordination support from the City’s Transportation and Parks and Recreation departments. 

For more information, visit the project website or send an email to the project design team.