W. Club Boulevard Pilot Project
In September 2018, the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, selected the City of Durham along with Huntsville, AL and Pittsburgh, PA to participate in their Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy. The academy allows teams of transportation professionals from each city to hone their skills in using safety counter measures, creative placemaking, equitable community engagement, and emerging technologies to create safer streets.
Each city is responsible for implementing a pilot project at the culmination of the academy. Durham’s project aims to transform a section of Club Boulevard into a safer place for users of all transportation modes.
The West Club Boulevard location was chosen because speeding vehicles make the area unsafe for bus riders and pedestrians. Between November 2013 and October 2018, 123 crashes of all types occurred at this location including two crashes involving pedestrians crossing the street after getting off the bus.
The GoDurham bus stops on both sides of this section West Club Boulevard are also highly used, which results in increased pedestrian activity at the project site. The bus stop at Club Boulevard and Dollar Avenue is one of the most frequently used bus stops in the GoDurham system. This bus stop averages 150 boardings per weekday, 145 boardings on Saturdays, and 60 boardings on Sundays.
The 2017 Durham Bike+Walk Implementation Plan also recommends improving pedestrian crossings and adding bicycle lanes to this section of Club Boulevard. The Plan also recommends that a neighborhood bike route/bicycle boulevard be provided on Watts Street beginning at Club Boulevard.
Durham’s Safe Streets Academy team sought feedback from the public through an online survey, intercept surveys and interviews at the project site, emails to residents, and by attending community events such as a Trinity Park Neighborhood Association Meeting and the Northgate Children’s Festival. The vast majority of residents and roadway users who were consulted suggested that a safe and accessible way to cross W. Club Boulevard near the bus stops was needed.
The Safe Streets Academy team has decided to place a crosswalk between the two bus stops after careful analysis of public input, the project site, crash history, pedestrian crossing behavior, and driver yield patterns. The crosswalk connecting the two bus stops is currently under construction.
The Safe Streets Academy project also includes temporary lane closures to determine the impact of a potential roadway reconfiguration. One block of West Club Boulevard between Buchanan Boulevard and Gregson Street will be temporarily reduced to one lane in each direction. The Transportation Department will collect data and observe conditions regarding pedestrian safety and delay, as well as traffic delay and queuing. If the data shows a roadway reconfiguration is feasible, permanent bike lanes will be installed from Buchanan Boulevard to Washington Street by the spring of 2020 as recommended in the adopted Bike+Walk Implementation Plan.
The W. Club Blvd demonstration project will also include artwork on the median and sidewalks of the project site to make the space more inviting for all roadway users. Local artist Madiha Malik has created the two concepts presented below. Durham residents can vote and comment on the designs here.