Durham begins bike and pedestrian safety improvements

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Multiple construction projects are underway to transform the landscape for Durham pedestrians and cyclists.

The City of Durham transportation projects are designed to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries, and reduce vehicle traffic, congestion, and noise throughout the city. In 2023, They include new neighborhood bike routes, bike lanes, and a new sidewalk on South Alston Avenue between Capps Street and Riddle Road.

“We want to make it safe, simple, and sustainable for residents to bike, walk, and roll across Durham,” said transportation director Sean Egan. “New sidewalks and a more complete bike network provide better travel options and reduce dependency on fossil fuels and reduce the emissions from traffic congestion.

“These projects are an important step forward, but we know that much more work is needed, particularly in disadvantaged communities, so we are using an equity lens to prioritize future investments.”

Neighborhood Bike Routes will span seven miles in the downtown area. These ‘bike boulevards’ will be located on low-volume, low-speed streets. The goal is to help bicyclists more safely navigate to nearby destinations, such as parks and schools. Neighborhood Bike Routes will be identified with arrows on the pavement.

Additionally, blue signs with “Durham Neighborhood Bike Routes” branding will help people navigate the routes. New pedestrian crosswalks will also be installed at some intersections. Traffic calming measures, including neighborhood traffic circles and painted curb bulb-outs, will also be installed as part of this project.

A full list of new bike lane locations, boundaries, and lane configurations is available online. The new bike lanes are funded with a $1 million congestion mitigation and air quality grant, with a local match from the City.

Construction is expected to begin in summer 2023 and be completed in fall 2023.

Work continues to improve sidewalk connections throughout the city. In April, construction began on a new public sidewalk at South Alston Avenue between Capps Street and Riddle Road. The sidewalk will measure about 0.4 miles and will provide continuous pedestrian access along South Alston Avenue and connect the American Tobacco Trail to this area of the city. The sidewalk is scheduled for completion in January 2024.

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