I Want to Ride My Bicycle … Safely, in Durham

I Want to Ride My Bicycle … Safely, in Durham

Advocates for a safe, inexpensive and equitable bicycle network partner with Durham businesses to reward investors on Kickstarter

A cyclist rides on Watts Street in Trinity Park. Durham Bicycle Boulevards believes a network of bicycle boulevards should be built by the end of 2017. Photo courtesy Durham Bicycle Boulevards.

Bicycle Boulevards, a Durham nonprofit advocating for a safe, affordable and equitable bicycle network, launched its Kickstarter campaign at the end of January in an effort to raise $7,500 to help Durham streets become more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. “We are trying to create an inexpensive infrastructural change to existing residential streets to make them safer for bikes to use,” explains Brian Vaughn, who began working as an intern with Bicycle Boulevards in December.

Money raised will be used for design, tactical materials, promotional materials, 3D modeling and support for their design interns. Funding will also help develop enhanced plans, created via community-based co-design sessions in partnership with Durham Area Designers. Bicycle Boulevards envision 15 miles of prioritized bicycle thoroughfares built in one year, with hopes to eventually realize a completely formed bike-priority network in Durham. These roads are designed “for bikes first,” but cars can pass through and park on them. For a more detailed explanation, watch this short video explaining the process.

“We are creating a vibrant neighborhood community for people to move through,” says Brian, whose interest in urban development extends beyond his major at UNC. “Durham is a city I’m very fascinated by – it has a history of transportation [that doesn’t take] into account the desires of the people who live there,” and that’s what Bicycle Boulevards aims to change. “We want to work with the community to hear how [they want] to get around.”

To promote the project, Bicycle Boulevards has partnered with Bullseye Bicycle, which is offering bike-friendly incentives to benefactors. Pledge $75 and Bullseye will provide a free bike tune-up; pledge $350 or more and receive a new bike.

Additionally, recording artist James Phillips from the band Bombadil created a nine song EP that debuted mid-February to promote Bicycle Boulevards.

“We are excited to see broad community support,” Brian says, adding that several Durham organizations have expressed enthusiasm for this endeavor.

“Bicycle Boulevards is a great idea that will help make Durham a more livable, healthy community,” says Bob Chapman of Traditional Neighborhood Development Partners. “The result will be more people riding bikes, safely, to more destinations. Not only will they be healthier, so will Durham, with less air pollution from cars and less land wasted for parking.”

To learn more about the project or to donate, visit the Bicycle Boulevards website.

Katie Bennett
Katie D. Bennett is a Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press and a freelance writer for Durham Magazine. When she’s not surrounded by books, she’s out exploring and embarking on new adventures with friends.