Durham wants downtown loop to be 2-way road

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The City of Durham is asking the federal government for $12 million to fix the downtown loop. If granted, the city will make the loop a two-way street for neighbors and visitors in the Bull City.

Now, drivers are forced to drive on a one-way road that circles downtown apartments, offices, and businesses.

“It bothers me,” said driver Jacqueline Abdul-Karim. “I feel like I’m closed in, I’m trapped somewhere.”

Like many people, Abdul-Karim visits Durham from Raleigh. She says she often uses her GPS and gets confused.

“There’s one-way streets and there’s a lot of traffic and it’s just a lot going on in downtown Durham,” she said.

Terry Bellamy, the director of Durham’s Transportation Department, says when the first parts of the loop were built in the 1950s, engineers weren’t considering what Durham would look like in 2017.

He says it’s time to make a change.

“To make it easier for people to go to one side of downtown to the other side without having to deal with the one-way pairs,” he said.

The plan is to convert the loop into a two-way street. In some areas this will require widening the road but Bellamy believes everyone will benefit.

“It’s not just about drivers,” he said. “It’s going to help bicyclists, it’s going to help our transit system, it’s going to help pedestrians. For bicyclists, that they’ll be able to move around in a grid fashion that most cities see.”

Abdul-Karim who visits Durham quite a bit, says the grant would help the Triangle.

“Give them the money,” she said to the federal government. “You got it. We’re taxpayers, we pay taxes on everything, we pay for parking, so why not just make Durham better.”

Durham is competing with several cities around the country for this grant.

Bellamy says they should find out at the end of the year if the Bull City is chosen.

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