Local News

New Proposal Would Make Durham Streets More Pedestrian-Friendly

Posted February 20, 2006

— Plenty of people pound the pavement in the Bull City, but some complain Durham is not a "walkable" kind of place.

"There's not sidewalks everywhere, there's not large shoulders on the roads, so there's no bike trails," said Durham resident Kellie Daniels.

A new plan maps out how to make Durham more pedestrian-friendly. Right now, there are 450 miles of sidewalk and nearly 1,500 miles of streets.

The numbers don't add up.

"It means we have over a 1,000 miles of sidewalk to build," said City of Durham spokeswoman Alison Carpenter.

But the city isn't just going to put down miles and miles of sidewalk. The idea is to do it where it makes sense.

"(We're looking at) the universities, retail centers and downtown," Carpenter said. "We're also looking at transit, accessibility to schools and parks."

Durham will spend nearly $5 million on pedestrian improvements in the next few years, including adding crosswalks and signals where needed.

"We've prioritized based on public comment and crash data," Carpenter said.

Durham is also tackling cracked and buckled sidewalk, too, looking at a few dozen spots that need work.

And while pedestrian safety is the main goal, city leaders hope that by improving the sidewalks and walking trails, Durham's appeal will take a step forward.

The plan still needs approval from the Durham City Council. A public hearing on the matter is planned for next week.

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