ITE Journal - May 2021 - 19

Bryan Miller

Community
volunteers paint
a traffic circle in
the east Durham
neighborhood as
part the Shared
Streets program.

tation staff has used data and an equity-first approach
to project planning and implementation. To identify
potential corridors for the Shared Streets program,
the project team looked at seven routes that had been
identified for a neighborhood bike routes program-an
equity analysis of bicycle and pedestrian crashes-and
streets that had been turned down for speed humps
through the city's speed hump program because they
were on emergency response routes. " Shared Streets
gave us alternative ways of trying to address needs, and
we still had access to the volume and speed counts that
had been done on the streets, " says Project Manager and
Bicycle And Pedestrian coordinator Dale McKeel.
Looking at existing data allowed staff members to
identify streets where residents had the most need for
safe spaces to bike and walk. They used door hangers and made phone calls to reach out to community
members on candidate streets. Several residents stated
that they did not want to participate in the program.
Ultimately, streets were selected where data supported a
need for safer spaces to bike and walk, and where residents said they were enthusiastic about the project.
Conversations with the community continued after
street selection. Staff worked with Ortiz to hold sociallydistanced, outdoor community meetings on selected
streets before implementing the program. These meetings
allowed the team to identify treatments that they had not
initially considered. For example, staff members thought
they would use barricades and signs to implement the

program as other cities had done. After conversations
with residents, they learned that barricades alone were
not aesthetically appealing to residents. They also realized
that barricades and signs were not enough to address
conditions like speeding that made the selected streets
less safe for walking and biking.
A grant from the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO) allowed the city to include traffic
calming (i.e., temporary pavement markings and flexible
posts around painted traffic circles) and placemaking
elements in the program. " I don't think we would have
discovered [these solutions] without proactive conversations with the community, " says transportation planner
Evan Tenenbaum, a member of the project team.
In the early days of the pandemic, the team fielded
social media requests from residents to quickly implement a Shared Streets program. Their decision to take
the time to consider available data and residents' wishes
allowed them to focus efforts where most needed. " The
people we were hearing from on Twitter...were not an
equitable representation of the community. Had we
responded at that time, we likely would have ended up
with a program that did Shared Streets in communities
that didn't have the greatest need, [communities] that
had traffic calming and other features over the years.
Waiting and thinking through the process allowed us to
focus on where our more vulnerable users were, rather
than who is asking for it, " says Assistant Transportation
Director Bill Judge.
w w w .i t e.or g

May 2021

19


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ITE Journal - May 2021

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