Awards

Bicycle Friendly Community: Bronze



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A BFC welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life. 

Bicycling is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make your community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors — a place where people don’t just live and work, but thrive.

Walk Friendly Community: Bronze


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Community Highlights

Davidson is designated as a Bronze-level community due to the City’s commitment to Complete Streets and their extensive sidewalk policies. Highlights of Davidson's application include:

  • The Davidson Walks and Rolls Active Transportation Master Planlays out a strategy to continue improving conditions for bicycling and walking. The plan includes prioritized recommendations for improvements, as well as education and enforcement programs to support walking and bicycling.
  • The Town has installed several ped/bike counters to monitor bicycling and walking activity and contribute to regional efforts to measure and track activity.
  • Davidson participates in the statewide Watch for Me NC program to focus attention on road safety, with particular attention paid to bicycling and walking. The program involves educating the public about safety laws and performing regular enforcement to reinforce positive behaviors.
  • Davidson's Complete Streets guidelines indicate a willingness on the part of the local government to plan for all modes of transportation. Requiring developers to comply with these guidelines is a great way of ensuring that new streets are designed and constructed for all users.
  • Davidson views pedestrian transportation as an important component of the transportation network in the town as evidenced by thesesidewalk policies. By ensuring that all collector and arterial streets have sidewalks on both sides, Davidson has created a safe and accessible pedestrian network. Also, the sidewalk retrofit policy is an excellent step towards realizing a connected sidewalk network, which further encourages pedestrian transportation. In addition, wide sidewalks in urbanized areas create a safer and more attractive pedestrian environment and can have a positive impact on businesses in the area.
  • Davidson uses many geometric design features such as curb extensions, smaller curb radii, and median crossing islands to improve pedestrian access and enhance the comfort and safety of the pedestrian environment. 

Created from the need to support Davidson College almost 200 years ago, Main Street is now the physical and symbolic backbone of the city of Davidson, North Carolina. The street’s quintessential American feel and historic charm have been preserved over time through the efforts of an active community.

The Main Street Halloween march brings local merchants and residents together to celebrate. Photo courtesy Town of Davidson.

PLANNING EXCELLENCE

Norman Rockwell could not have imagined a more charming small town street than Main Street in Davidson. Flanked by picturesque shop fronts, the village green, a library, post office, churches, historic homes, a college, and even a “soda shop," Main Street binds the community together.

Many of the original Davidson College buildings survive today because of citizen commitment to preserving the town’s identity as a small college town and Piedmont railroad community between the antebellum period and the mid-20th century. Citizens advocated for a historic designation and improvements, while nonprofits and community groups partner with local businesses to sponsor Main Street festivals and events.

When the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) proposed widening Main Street in the 1990s, town planners and residents advocated for alternatives to preserve the street's pedestrian and bike-friendly character. Residents also pressured NCDOT to lower the speed limit. NCDOT has continued to make improvements to the pedestrian infrastructure, most recently giving pedestrians a head start when entering an intersection at three signals along the thoroughfare.

The intimate streetscape design shapes Main Street’s character. Brick sidewalks feature plaques detailing structures of historic significance. They blend nicely with shop fronts and quaint signage, which must be approved by the design review board. Planners have supported investment in public art, wayfinding signage, and two-hour public parking limits on Main Street. Crosswalks traverse the street in multiple locations. Benches augment the interactive streetscape and provide opportunities for rest, conversation, or people-watching.

Town planning efforts promote non-motorized transportation alternatives: the town was recognized with both “Walk-Friendly” and “Bike-Friendly” award designations. Bike lane markings were painted in late 2013. Public spaces such as the village green, Summit Coffee stage, or Dance of Life are accessible to both the pedestrian and bicyclist, and bike racks line the street.