Tonight, the town is holding a meeting in Southern Village to discuss traffic concerns and a recent plan to restripe the market street area. The meeting is on (tonight) Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Ascension Hall at the Christ United Methodist Church.
The traffic concerns arise from neighbors encountering speeding cars, especially on Edgewater Drive. The town actually conducted a study last summer on this street and came up with a plan to add traffic calming devices on this road.
Anyone living on Edgewater welcomed this. However, some neighbors on other streets opposed it, citing their belief that cars would simply reroute down THEIR street. For people not familiar with Southern Village, the streets that connect to Edgewater are all narrow, and very hilly. Neither of these features will entice 'cut through' traffic.
Additionally, the developer of market street, approached the town to re stripe the market street loop, to replace the inner lane of market street with parking spots, gaining approximately 20 spots. I will be honest, I was not a fan of this arrangement when I first caught wind of it in February. However, after looking at the design, and talking to town traffic engineers, I saw an opportunity to improve it. Much of the opposition I have seen to this re striping is that it will diminish traffic flow. One neighbor actually referring to market street as a 'highway'.
The benefits of the re-striping are, to me beyond the gained parking spots.
I consider the re striping of market street a change to what it probably should have been in the first place. A pedestrian priority area.
On any given summer evening, the Market Street green is full of activity, and the green is full of people either watching a movie, attending an event, or children simply playing in the grass.
Every person who got there had to cross Market Street somewhere to get there. Being two lanes wide, pedestrians have to cross two lanes of traffic that are not always adhering to the speed limit.
There are currently only cross walks at the ends of the greens or parking lots.
The re-striping addresses the current shortcomings in the following ways:
- Reduces the travel lane pedestrians must cross to only one lane
- Adds well marked cross walks in areas where they have been sorely needed (especially at the top corner near Town hall Grill and La vita Dolce)
- Adds mid block cross walks between the parking lot and business like Captain Ponchos and Strays
- Greatly improves the safety and marking near Weaver street, where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic to the school, the church and from the bus stop.
- Makes market street safer for the cyclists who ride to the businesses from near by homes
- Has been approved already by the Chapel Hill Fire department
Level of service is low on this street, and these changes will not make a difference to the traffic flow.
I believe the safer crossings and traffic friction will improve the safety of market street for the primary users of the area .. people and pedestrians. The gained parking spaces are (to me) an intangible benefit.
Below, is a map where I have marked the areas that will gain crosswalks. If the only way you arrive at Market Street is by car, you might consider these a nuisence. However, if you are walking to the area, either from home or from the market lot, you may think otherwise.