Sidewalks on Cheek Road
Cheek Road has needed improvements for decades. It is the main artery of the Merrick-Moore Community: a two-lane rural road, mostly without sidewalks, with very narrow shoulders and a couple areas where the elevation of the road is higher than homes, making it difficult to safely walk to school or public transportation points.
Walking is essential for kids to get to Merrick-Moore Elementary School and Southern High School. Years ago, a child was struck and killed on Cheek Road and Roane Street. Another fatal accident involved a female pedestrian and a teenage driver at Cheek Rd and Center Street.
There isn’t any permanent speed-control feature through the neighborhood and traffic ranges from cars to trucks and tractors, since the neighborhood lies between industrial parks on the east and west. Between 2015 and 2019, there have been at least 112 car accidents, according to open data available at the Department of Transportation.
Traffic will only become worse after the North Carolina Department of Transportation finishes building the East End Connector between the Durham Freeway and Miami Boulevard on the southwest of the neighborhood, to which Cheek Road will be a shortway. This, paired to the increasing building of new residential areas in the rural parts of Durham, will only increase the pressure surrounding this road which wasn’t built for such traffic densities. The lands where Merrick Moore is located are more rural in nature; people here used to farm and garden – they were never fit for large scale developments.
For now, the city of Durham has put Cheek Road on an unfunded list for modernization. Cheek Road is owned by the NC State Department of Transportation.
Currently, we are working with law enforcement officials to track traffic violations along Cheek Rd. Our hopes are to present this data to NC DOT along with a request for infrastructure and safety improvements, which will make our community a safer place for children to walk to school.