Cyclists could have priority on some Durham streets
Posted February 22, 2016
Durham, N.C. — A grassroots effort to keep cyclists safe is growing in Durham, and some streets could soon be designated as "bicycle boulevards."
Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore., already have the concept in place that gives cyclists priority over drivers on certain streets.
"They're neighborhood streets – very calm neighborhood streets – that have been identified for being ideal for bike priority streets," said Aaron Lubeck, a member of the Durham Bicycle Boulevard Group.
The group wants to take already quiet roadways in the city and make them even calmer for cyclists by pushing drivers to busier thoroughfares. They have proposed Watts Street as a test site.
"Bikes are enhanced as a priority over cars," Lubeck said. "Cars have to divert off every four to eight blocks, so whatever through-traffic there was goes away."
People who live and park on bike boulevards would still have ample access to them, he said.
Bicycle boulevards should appeal to less-experienced cyclists who don't feel confident enough to use bike lanes on busy roads, he said.
"For me, it's a matter of access," he said. "My son turns 10 next month, and the network (of bike lanes) we have right now doesn't serve kids."
Durham City Councilman Don Moffitt supports the plan, saying he especially likes that it is a cost-effective solution that would require minor changes, such as the purple Bicycle Boulevard street signs and bike-friendly barriers.
"(These are) infrastructure improvements that don't cost a lot of money but can bring a big difference to the city," Moffitt said.
This matter is still in the development phase, with Lubeck working alongside the city's Transportation Department. Moffitt is optimistic, though, saying he would like to see testing of the boulevards by the end of the year.