Incidents on ATT Inspire Community Watch Program

As reports of assaults and robberies on Durham’s American Tobacco Trail attracted police and press attention this summer, resident Cynthia Cole began to worry it would prevent people from using the valuable local resource. "It actually made me mad,” she said of at least nine incidents reported between mid-May and October, which ranged from simple assault and robbery to a sexual assault report. “The thought that a town with a great trail system would have it compromised by a small number of people and a small number of incidents…”
To try to fix the problem by improving trail safety, Cole and husband, Lyle Snider, have joined Durham’s new Trail Watch Program, a group of about 25 volunteers who met on November 3rd for a training session at the trail’s Morehead Avenue entrance.

For more on the program please see this article from a recent Durham News

Cary to Install Flashing Beacons at Greenway Crossings

Cary has announced it will soon be installing Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons to help citizens safely navigate the intersections of some of its most popular greenways and well-traveled roads. These solar-powered safety devices emit rapid flashing LED lights when activated by a pushbutton. The LED lights are set to allow time for vehicles to safely yield to pedestrians and continue to flash until all people have crossed the roadway. This is pilot project and Cary will assess their effectiveness over the next year. By the end of the week (10/27) beacons will be installed at the following Cary crossings:
• NW Maynard Road at the entrance to Godbold Park as part of the Black Creek Greenway
• West Dynasty Drive near Sudbury Drive as part of the Black Creek Greenway
• Jenks Carpenter Road near Fryars Creek Drive as part of the White Oak Greenway
• Morrisville Parkway near East Ferrell Road as part of the American Tobacco Trail
Please see Cary's web site for more on the project.

Trail Watch Program Kicks off "Our Trail, Our Town" Campaign

Durham residents who want to learn more about trail safety are invited to participate in a Trail Watch program scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at 7 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. The program kicks off the City's "Our Trail, Our Town" information campaign to improve safety on the trail, and is being coordinated by the City's Transportation and Police departments. The two-hour Trail Watch training teaches users to be alert to possible crime situations and how to report them, similar to the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Program. While it is targeted for members of the Durham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission and Durham Open Space and Trails, other residents interested in learning general safety and crime prevention tips are welcome to attend. Next steps are to teach potential volunteers interested in becoming trail ambassadors. See the event flyer from Durham's Police Department
For more information on this please contact Dale McKeel: , Durham's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.

Durham Cyclists Patrol ATT

In response to the numerous incidents on the northern section of the ATT in Durham, several cyclists have recently begun bike patrols for this section of the trail. So far this is a small group which has only been doing late afternoon rides a few days each week. If more volunteers join they hope to expand the program. To contact the organizers about possible participation please contact: debbie at
For more on this fine new initiative please read this recent article from the News & Observer
October 3 Update: Bike Patrol Delayed Amid October 1st Attack on The ATT It could be another four weeks before the American Tobacco Trail gets an official citizens bicycle patrol. Police Chief Jose L. Lopez says he does not expect to add an official citizens’ bicycle patrol until Oct. 29, or close to it, after encountering “unforeseen hurdles.” The “Trail Watch” will be part of the established Citizen Observer Patrol. Eight patrol members seemed interested but none had “any experience or training on bicycles,” he wrote in a memo.

For more on this story please see:

TRTC Receives Grant for ATT Water Fountain

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has awarded TRTC with a $5000 grant for the acquisition of a water fountain to be installed at a trail parking area we are developing at Pittard-Sears Road. We hope to break ground for this area this Fall and to have the fountain installed by the end of the year. Stay tuned for updates on this project. We'll be a having a workday later this year to construct the concrete pad for the fountain.

Group Rallies for Safety on Durham Section of the ATT

In response to a number of attacks on users of the ATT over the last year, a Durham-based group, District 3 Partners Against Crime, is now spearheading a "Walk the Trails with a Friend Day" community event. The group's goal is to get neighborhoods along the trail to participate in a day of walking that will culminate in a gathering downtown. Plans and a specific date are being worked on as of mid-August. Please see an August 19th article in the Durham News for background on this group and the current views of Durham's police officials. We'll be following this development and provide updates as they become public.
August 26 Update/Corrected Date: Walk the Trail With A Friend Day will be held on Saturday September 22nd from 9am to 7pm. This walk is a community response event, not affiliated with the City or County of Durham. It will be a day when concerned citizens take a stand against crime - responding to the recent concern for everyone's safety on the trail. EVERYONE is encouraged to bring their friends, family and pets. It is a day for families, bikers and walkers of all ages. Come and spend time enjoying our beautiful American Tobacco Trail. Bring your bikes, trikes and sneakers; enjoy a stroll or get some exercise.
See Event Flyer

September 2 Update: City Councilman Steve Schewel is inviting walkers/runners to converge on the American Tobacco Trail on Tuesday evenings (I'm sure cyclists, skaters, etc. are also welcome!). Here's his message:
"Let's take the trail back by running it together in the evenings. To that end, I'm going to be running five miles on the trail each Tuesday evening for the next three weeks, and I invite Forest Hills neighbors and others to run it with me. (No one has to run the whole five miles, of course. Any distance, running or walking, will do.) We'll meet at the head of the trail, Mile 0, and run south for 2.5 miles and then back to the start. That will take us past Fayetteville St. and thus twice (coming and going) through the area where there have been the most problems with crime on the trail of late. Here are the days and times I will run:
Tuesday, September 4, at 5:00 PM
Tuesday, September 11, at 6:30 PM
Tuesday, September 18, at 6:00 PM"
September 10 Update Durham Police Boost Presence on the ATT
A September 9th article in The Durham News reports recent arrests connected with the trail assaults and the acquisition of three utility-terrain vehicles for use on the ATT and Durham's other greenways. Deputy Chief Larry Smith said police have conducted more than 200 "directed patrols" on sections of the trail in recent weeks.


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