DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Erwin Road in Durham doesn’t lack traffic, but Erik Landfried said it does lack safety.
“There’s just really not a lot of space for people walking [and] for people biking. Even transit,” he said.
Landfried is with the organization Bike Durham. The group is calling for more bike lanes and pedestrian crossing improvements along Erwin Road.
Soon, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will repave the road.
“Whenever there’s a repaving there’s a big opportunity to reimagine what the street can look like because they can restripe the street however they want,” explained Landfried.
However, NCDOT told CBS 17 Friday in an email there are no plans to change the existing road’s layout.
Landfield said Bike Durham and others met with city staff and the consultant team this week to discuss potential changes.
“So, they are presenting some much smaller improvements. Having the crosswalks be much more visible,” Landfried said. “Erwin Road, it looks like, at least according to what we saw at that meeting, is going to look essentially the same.”
Bike Durham said the problem is not just on Erwin Road but said there are other streets that need similar changes. For instance, Guess Road — the same road where husband and father Matt Simpson was killed in a hit-and-run.
“The tragedy that occurred with Matt Simpson’s death has really hit the community hard and I think it has angered a lot of people,” Landfried stated.
Bike Durham gathered Sunday for a memorial ride to honor Simpson. They hope their plea and the unfortunate tragedy is a wake-up call.
“We would really like to see the city push the state,” said Landfried.
Durham police arrested and charged Omari Newsome this week. They say he was the driver that hit Simpson.
CBS 17 also reached out to the city of Durham about possible plans to improve Erwin Road, but as of Friday afternoon we have not heard back.
Friday evening the NCDOT confirmed the city’s consultant team did submit a study this year.
The NCDOT said in an email:
“A consultant group shared a study with our department in May of this year that looked at various options for traffic through the Erwin Road corridor. The study showed any proposed alternative use of a vehicular lane would have too much of a negative impact on traffic.”