Community workshop on bike/walk way between Carolina North and Main Campus


Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 12:30pm


Suite 133G, University Square

Please Join Us for a Community Workshop to share ideas for a bike/walk way between Carolina North and Main Campus

When: December 1, 5:30-7:30 PM
Where:  Suite 133G University Square

This workshop will be an opportunity to share ideas, suggestions and information to explore the location for a greenway and bike path connection between the Carolina North campus and the Main UNC Campus.  We are seeking a pathway that is not located within the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. roadway and that avoids steep grades where feasible.  It may include existing or planned greenways for a portion of the route.

There will be a brief introduction by Town and University staff about existing conditions between the two campuses.  Staff will also share some examples of the kind of opportunities we’re seeking for new routes through the neighborhoods or using portions of the existing and planned greenway system.

The majority of the workshop will be spent in an open session, focused on gathering input from the participants, including students, residents, technical experts, advisory boards and community groups about approaches to connectivity.

We’re looking for your ideas, suggestions, opinions and information, so please come prepared to tell us what you think!

If you have a question for the Town, call The Town of Chapel Hill Planning Department at:
(919) 968-2728.  If you have a question for the University, contact Jill Coleman at

You may also send comments to or check the website for more information:


I am SO going to this. Hopefully there will be some good news about the connection to and between the neighborhoods south of Estes Drive Extension.  I've often thought the rail line would make a good greenway corridor...

Just a FYI:Putting any bike/ped facility *within* the rail corridor right-of-way will almost certainly be refused by the railroad due to liability issues.  The question of a bike/ped path in this corridor will probably be settled by whether or not there is enough land *adjacent* to the rail corridor to provide a multi-use path from Estes to downtown.  Rickie White has suggested on another thread that this may be possible, and that's encouraging.  To the extent that such a path could be built in a way that doesn't require the path to be torn up for future transit between UNC hospital, main campus, Carrboro and Carolina North, the community wins twice.

Patrick, the thing is that all the yellow land on the map below belongs to the Town of Chapel Hill: GetAttachment

...give us more bike paths!  

Mark, thanks for the map.  You are getting pretty good with GIS.  I think ideally that piece of town-owned land could serve as a transit corridor for bike path first but maybe part of a larger transit solution later.  I think it would be a welcome change to think small and work up to something large.  For instance, why can't we go ahead and get some volunteers together and blaze a footpath through the property that would connect Village West to Broad Street?   Some of the biggest issues I see with that land are:-the slave cemetery takes up most of the northern 1/10 of that parcel, so there would need to be some sensitivity to figuring out a route around that ground.-the train tracks next to the land are level, but the land drops off steeply so any bike path that would attract commuters would require some filling to level things out  -some of the forest back there is quite nice with mid-aged hardwoods of about 60-80 years of age, so we'd want to look into trying to keep the woodsy feel of the area. My $0.02. 

I live in Village West and have to walk along the tracks because the Merritt Crossing is blocked by Brummett’s Folly. A path for walking and biking connecting Village West to Broad Street would be a great improvement. The way the cemetery is situated, there really would not be a problem being sensitive to the meaning of that site; a short walk along the edge from Village Drive puts you clear of it. Yes, the tracks are on a berm, but the land indicated by Mark in yellow is flat enough for a good pathway to be made without filling it in very much.And the path could wind around some of the trees that should be protected. This is a really great idea, Rickie. I hope Mark and Mark and the University will work to make it happen. There should be alternatives to walking and biking along Estes Drive Extension, where there is the constant danger from the automobiles.James Coley

Thanks James.  I'd really like to encourage everyone to think about how we can reconnect the land that is now Village West with Estes Park, Pleasant Drive, and Broad/Lloyd Street/Northside.  When I show people on a map how close all of these dense neighborhoods are to one another they are pretty shocked.  I live off of Broad Street and I can cross the train tracks and be on Pleasant Street and North Greensboro Street in one block because North Greensboro curves back in towards Chapel Hill after crossing over Main Street/Weaver Street.  The opportunity to connect these neighborhoods is there and could 1)severely curtail inappropriate use of the railroad tracks by increasing foot traffic along and beside that corridor, 2) encourage residents of Village West to walk to downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro instead of driving and SAVE TIME doing it, 3)link the traditionally working class neighborhoods of the area with the more affluent neighborhoods thereby making our community truly one community, 4) increase foot traffic coming into Carr Mill Mall and environs from downtown neighborhoods, and 5) provide a really cool natural resource laboratory for the residents of the neighborhood.Here's hoping Mark and Mark get lots of support from all of us to try to make this kind of thing happen.

I just want to point out that connecting Village Drive to Carrboro will not only help residents of Village West (like myself), but also the even more dense Bolinwood Apartments as well as the entire Colonial Heights area about 1/2 mile to the east.How can we get Chapel Hill's representatives to be as concerned about this as Carrboro's are?

One way would be to have it be their job to be concerned about it by having Chapel Hill and Carrboro be one town instead of two  :)  

Thanks, Ruby. I had thought about making that point in my post about this, but opted for brevity. There certainly are more people who could make good use of this connection besides those of us in Village West.James Coley

To use the rail line ROW as a commuting/rec path is a wonderful idea that has been discussed on every committee I've ever been on that has considered the Horace Williams/CN tract.  I hope that we can overcome all the RR liability issues and finally make it happen.  Maybe the university can accomplish something that the town has been unable to do.  Go for it! 

There were about 50 people there from a variety of backgrounds (although not many Carrborators) and a lot of good discussion of the challenges of all of the possible bike and pedestrian routes from CN to campus.One of the most important points that I came away with is to make sure we keep the big picture in mind, meaning the entire community and the long term. We may be driven by this specific need now, but whatever we do should also serve us for decades to come and should fit into a larger plan of improving connectivity throughout southern Orange County.For example, if there are going to be train stations along the rail line, won't it make sense to have bike/ped infrastructure that connects to/between these? Also, many paths from CN to UNC go right through the Estes Dr Extension area that so desperately needs improved non-automobile connections. A good solution could address both needs.

I'm glad so many people were there. I found out at the last minute I couldn't attend. Creating bike shoulders on the west end of Estes Cr. extention should be a high priority to any connectivity plan as should bike shoulders on Seawell Rd. (Sidewalks would also be nice, but the shoulders could be done sooner and cheaper.) Loren


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