The Durham Bike+Walk Implementation Plan, presented Thursday to the city council, calls for eight bicycle corridor projects, seventeen pedestrian-focused projects, twenty-five sidewalk gap projects, and twenty-two intersection improvements.
The city has been working for a year to update its old pedestrian and bicycle plans, crafted in 2006. That process has identified 420 miles of sidewalk needs, 453 miles of bicycle infrastructure needs, and 480 intersections needing improvement. The seventy-five projects outlined in the Bike+Walk Implementation Plan were selected based on feasibility, need, and equity.
According to Bryan Poole, a transportation planner for the city, the city will first take on the smaller projects─like finishing sidewalks─that it can complete with local funding while applying for federal money for other projects. In addition to funding, which projects get attention first will be based on staff capacity, Poole said.
Completing all seventy-five projects would cost about $40 million, with some in the millions and others as cheap as $5,000. Poole said it’s too early to say how long it would take to complete all the priority projects, but said city staff hope to fill in “the easily constructible sidewalk gaps” and complete the design of at least five bicycle or pedestrian corridor projects in the next fiscal year.
The plan calls for the city to adopt a complete-streets policy and include bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure on all streets. It also calls for the city to actively engage with residents in “tactical urbanism,” a concept in which low-cost, short-term changes are made to existing infrastructure to accommodate a new use. This could mean closing off part of a street for a seating area or setting up a temporary bike lane with cones.
Poole said the city has applied for a grant that would help convert Watts Street into the city’s first bicycle boulevard, a low-speed, low-traffic thoroughfare optimized for bike use.
Council members are expected to adopt the plan May 15.
Check out the full report here. Details on the prioritized projects start on page 63.
For all you Leslie Knopes out there, the 181-page report is actually a pretty good read with a lot of insight on Durham’s demographics and infrastructure. Plus it quotes John Lennon and ends with a Walt Whitman poem.