CARRBORO – New sidewalks and bike lanes could be coming to the Town of Carrboro. The upgrades are meant to improve access to four transit stops across town, and it’s something that many neighbors have said would make the town safer.
“One of the reasons that we were so pleased to move to Carrboro is because it seemed like an urban environment in a small town. We can walk everywhere and bike to work and school, except it is not so easy to walk,” said UNC Professor Kurt Gray, who lives on S. Greensboro St.
Gray spoke at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting and said that creating more sidewalks in the Town has been a long-time desire for many of his neighbors.
Four sites were given priority for the improvements by the Board of Aldermen. S. Greensboro St. was at the top of that list, followed by Estes Dr., W. Main St., and Old Fayetteville Rd.
Board member Jacquelyn Gist said that many Carrboro residents depend on walking, biking, and using the transit system as their main mode of transportation, instead of driving.
“I’d like us in making these decisions to think about having the best impact on folks for whom public transportation, their feet and wheels, are the only primary transportation that they can afford,” Gist said.
Mayor Mark Chilton said he supported the initiative, but said that he was concerned that installing sidewalks on the west side of S. Greensboro St. might upset some residents.
“One of the issues is that for some of the houses on the west side (of S. Greensboro St.) is that the sidewalk would end up being very close to their front door when it is eventually built,” Chilton said.
Jeff Brubaker, the Town’s Transportation Planner, said the funding for the improvements will come from the half-cent sales tax, which was approved by voters in November of last year.
Revenues from the tax are allocated in accordance with the Bus and Rail Investment Plan in Orange County (BRI Plan). That plan distributes funding for capital improvements to enhance bicycle and pedestrian access to transit stops. It is an Inter-local agreement between the Town of Carrboro, Orange County, Triangle Transit, and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Revenues allocated through the BRI Plan have already resulted in improvements for the Chapel Hill Transit System, according to Brubaker. He said there’s about $6.7 million of the funding currently allocated as part of the BRI Plan, meant to be the local match to federal and state funding.
Town staff will present the list of four sites suggested for improved access to the Triangle Transit Board of Directors on Sept. 25.