More people have been on bikes during the pandemic than ever before. The jury is still out on whether walking is up, however. We at NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro wondered what biking and walking behaviors were happening in our community. NEXT administered a survey from May 3 to June 3, 2020 to learn about the experiences people in our community had while walking and riding bikes during the stay-at-home order. We also asked about people’s hopes for walking and biking in Carrboro and Chapel Hill.
This survey was completed by 160 individuals who reside in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, NC. A summary of the results is below.
Summary of questions about walking
How has your walking changed during the stay at home order?
|Less than usual||7.0%|
|More than usual||61.1%|
|Same as usual||27.4%|
|Different from usual||4.5%|
“I expect that I will maintain my current level of walking after the stay at home order is lifted.”
|Maintain walking level?||Percentage|
Summary of questions about biking
How has your biking changed during the stay at home order?
|Less than usual||13.4%|
|More than usual||45.2%|
|Same as usual||33.8%|
|Different from usual||7.6%|
“I expect that I will maintain my current level of biking after the stay at home order is lifted.”
|Maintain biking level?||Percentage|
Free form answers to what people wanted included:
- People driving cars to be more courteous and to slow down around people walking and biking
- Wider sidewalks
- More connected networks of paths for walking and biking
- More amenities like: benches. Trash cans and destination/way-finding signage
- Maintenance of obstructions to trails, sidewalks, paths by hedges etc.
Biking and Walking Experiences
We developed word clouds using the responses to each of these four questions.
“While walking I’ve really enjoyed…”
“While biking I’ve really enjoyed…”
“While walking, I’ve wished…”
“While biking, I’ve wished…”
What changes do people want to see, and where?
Downtown Carrboro: Bike lanes that don’t start and stop to allow for parking; More sidewalk space and wider too; The gravel and twigs were swept out of the bike lanes; less road noise; legal trails; Safer and more comfortable facilities; less cars or patient drivers; the speed limits on town roads; better connectivity
All around Carrboro: Less obstacles on sidewalks (overgrown bushes, trash and recycling bins); The bike lanes on main roads on Carrboro had less debris and dirt from construction in them; wider sidewalks and more protected bike lanes, Less car traffic and wider paths for social distancing; less road noise; more public trash cans accessible for dog poop; More hills and varied landscapes; Roads were narrower to slow down car traffic; better connectivity
Wilson Park: Bathrooms present
Davie, Fidelity, Poplar area: Sidewalks in more places; wider sidewalks
Estes Drive Extension: Railroad tracks across it did not exist
Libba Cotten Trail: More sidewalk space; The gravel and twigs were swept out of the bike lanes
Downtown Chapel Hill: Bike lanes that don’t start and stop to allow for parking; More sidewalk space and wider too; The gravel and twigs were swept out of the bike lanes; less road noise; Safer and more comfortable facilities; more different places to walk; more trails around town
Brumley Forest Nature Preserve: Interconnected trail and greenway systems; even more local trail systems available
Plantation Acres neighborhood: Minimizing the fast and frequent traffic
Adams Tract, along Bolin Creek: Wider sidewalks and more protected bike lanes, Less car traffic and wider paths for social distancing; less road noise; don’t pave Bolin Creek; cleaner roads; Estes drive ped project that has been delayed for years would start; For a way to get to the woods faster
Along Damascus Church Road: Creation of walking/bike path
Duke Forest, CNF, Little River Regional Park, Bolin Forest neighborhood: For Durham to have more interconnected trails; Also that Orange would not lose this spirit of supporting a robust biking community; more technically challenging trails like CNF used to be 8-10 years ago; less trash; roads had shoulders; greenways were connected; roads had less hazards closer to the white line (holes and cracks); signs promoting trail etiquette; more trails that are accessible from town; more trails and preserved nature; education on understanding needs of cyclist safety; rules ensuring that pump track is open for kids; For a way to get to the woods faster; easier dirt trails; sidewalks on both sides of the major road
Carolina North, specifically: More trail markers; more sidewalks to get from one place to another; more protected paths, large bike lanes; more wooded single tract biking trails
MLK Park: Pump track would be open
Dogwood Acres Drive: More sidewalks
Smith Level to 15-501 and up Greensboro Road into Carrboro: Bike lanes all the way
Southern Village to S. Columbia Street: Safe way for kids to ride bikes
Brumley Johnston Mills: More parks were open
Weatherhill neighborhood: Presence of sidewalks everywhere; fewer disappearing bike lanes.
Pleasant Drive neighborhood: Trash receptacle at the end of Pleasant Dr, making trails official; trail that connects Northside Neighborhood to N. Greensboro, maybe at Parker St.
Intersection of N. Greensboro and Weaver Streets: Roadways were safer for bicyclists in general, especially coming into downtown areas
Hillsborough road to N. Greensboro through downtown Carrboro: Better sidewalk infrastructure including crosswalks
Merritt’s Pasture to Morgan Creek: More bike lanes, greater connectivity between good places to bike, creation of sidewalks; cars were better at passing cyclists without endangering oncoming traffic
Southern Village: More trails, especially singletrack (dirt trails) to connect areas together
Elliott Road: Drivers were more aware, and patient; more complete greenway system and local trails
Hidden Hills: Quiet roads
Horace Williams property: Quiet roads
Pumpkin loop: Quiet roads
Millhouse & Eubanks Road area: Benches or sitting areas near sidewalks; Orange County road guide app for cyclists
Old Cates Family Homestead: Bike lane along the entire length of Homestead as well as more official county bike lanes, not just in city/town limit
Homestead Rd connecting Stratford with Claremont: Better sidewalks
Old Fayetteville Rd: Bike lane past the Hillsborough intersection
Hillsborough: For a way to get to the woods faster; easier dirt trails
Ridgefield: No beg button; more loop detectors
McDougle School area: Less traffic or better bike lanes
Beckett’s Ridge: Trails were less crowded
NC-54 to the Botanical Garden: All of the great resources were better connected; connected in other ways besides the highway
Coker Hills, Coker Hills West neighborhoods: More protected bike lanes, bike lanes of any kind, and accessible greenways that would allow us to reach more areas of Chapel Hill by bike.
James Taylor Bridge: Creation of bike bridge
|Table 1. Descriptive Demographic Characteristics|
|Prefer not to say||3||2|
|Prefer to self-describe||0||0|
|Education Level Attained|
|Less than high school||1||0.7|
|High School or equivalent||4||2.6|
|Vocational/Technical School (2 year)||2||1.3|
|College Graduate (4 year)||50||32.7|