Originally published May 31, 2022 on Durham Streets and shared with the author’s permission. 

TL;DR: NCDOT is resurfacing Erwin Road, presenting an opportunity to reimagine and reconfigure this highly traveled roadway, ensuring comfort and safety for all users and all modes. But NCDOT has told the City of Durham they will not support the conversion of “special use lanes” on Erwin Road.

If you have visited Duke University, Duke Health, or the Veterans Hospital in Durham, NC then you have probably crossed paths with Erwin Road.

Erwin is a key connector between patients, students, and faculty but it also has grown very wide and become very dangerous to cross or navigate by foot or bike. So much so that Duke University Hospital has built a tunnel between their parking deck on the north side of Erwin, under Erwin Road, to the main hospital building.

In 2022, NCDOT will be repaving Erwin Road and this is our once every 10-15 year opportunity to ask for them to reimagine how it is painted and designed after. Our hopes are that the City of Durham, Duke University, and NCDOT can appreciate what Erwin Road can be for the City of Durham – a gateway, a complete street, and a safe corridor for the most vulnerable users in our community as they visit the hospital and university.

Erwin Road Crash Data 2016-2020

Erwin Road has high crash frequencies along the corridor.

NCDOT Does Not Support Bike Lanes on Erwin

The City of Durham recently hired consultants to make the recommended plan for Erwin Road, unfortunately, NCDOT has stated to the City of Durham that they will not support converting any lanes along Erwin Road to special use lanes.

How are Durham and Duke going to meet climate and transportation equity goals when they are forcing people to drive? They can’t let NCDOT control the fate of Erwin Road for the next 10 years before we have the chance to reimagine this road again.

Fix Erwin Road

We need to hear from you. Would you like to have a safer way to bike on Erwin Road? Let us know.

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Arleigh Greenwald is better known as Bike Shop Girl on the internet. (She also runs Chapel Hill on Bikes.) She is a new resident to Chapel Hill, NC where she moved after owning an electric and cargo bike...