urban planning

Durham moving forward with "Bike Boulevards" program for safety

Because two wheels are much better for you than four:

Bike boulevards, which have been created in cities like Portland, Ore. and Berkeley Calif., would turn some neighborhood streets across the urban core of Durham into preferred routes for the bicyclists – directing bikers off car-heavy streets and toward quieter routes. Durham is hoping to create at least 7 miles of these bike boulevards in the coming years to help safely move bicyclists more easily from north Durham to south Durham.

That “one-street-over” concept is currently exemplified by Watts Street in the Trinity Park neighborhood, which became the first bicycle boulevard in the city in 2016. On that street, the city has put pavement markings and street signs directing cyclists to use that road and letting motor vehicles know the street is a preferred bicycle route.

We've just begun to discuss something like this in my (relatively) small town, and (believe it or not) we have some challenges that Durham may not have. Our Main St. is just a stone's-throw away from a busy rail line, and we have two state highways that converge right in the middle of downtown. Coming up with alternate routes without taking bikers too far away from that hub has turned out to be not nearly as easy as I originally pictured. But since we're hoping to get more density in the downtown via mixed use (retail & residential), we need to figure it out pretty soon.

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