Durham named ‘Bicycle Friendly”


September 20, 2010

An avid bicyclist, Alan Dippy  has noticed a change at Duke and in Durham – things are getting more bike-friendly.

He’s not the only one. The city was recently recognized by the League of American Bicyclists for projects like extending bicycle trails on the American Tobacco Trail and adding bike lanes by repaving Anderson Street, which runs adjacent to Central Campus, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and intersects with Campus Drive. For its efforts, the city has received the organization’s Bicycle Friendly Community Award at the bronze level .
“Anderson Street really is a perfect example of the commitment of Duke and Durham,” said Dippy, who rides his bike to each day to work at the Nasher Museum of Art , where he assists with exhibiting and transporting art. “Before the repaving of Anderson, it could be a pretty treacherous zone because of all the on-street parking. Now it’s a fantastic bike route right along campus.”

The Anderson Street project eliminated 37 on-street parking  spots to create bike lanes. It was part of Durham’s Comprehensive Bicycle Transportation Plan and was done in coordination with Duke. Other projects include adding pedestrian bridges along the American Tobacco Trail by the end of 2011.

The League of American Bicyclists names Bicycle Friendly Communities twice a year, with communities judged in five areas: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation/planning. Local cyclists, national experts and League staff review applications. There are four levels of the award – platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Durham’s designation is valid for four years and will then need to be renewed.

Durham’s application was prepared by the city’s volunteer Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, which Dippy chairs, and city staff. It’s the first time Durham has received the recognition. The city was among 26 recognized communities as part of the fall award cycle.

“This is a good benchmark we can use as a comparison to other municipalities,” said Dippy. Other North Carolina cities recognized include Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Cary. “Hopefully we can use this award as momentum to build off of and use it as a blueprint for promoting more alternative transportation.”

The League of American Bicyclists will present Durham’s award along with a highway road sign at a local ceremony to be planned in the future.