Summer is construction season, and as we approach the middle of August, there are several projects nearing completion in Carrboro that will make life better for pedestrians and bicyclists, and a few others that have made significant progress. If you haven’t spotted some of this work going on around town, here’s a quick review of two of the notable projects. I will cover others in a subsequent post.
James St / Hillsborough St Intersection Improvements
Perhaps the smallest project, though still very worthwhile, is the curb expansion and installation of an island at the intersection of James St and Hillsborough St. This intersection is a critical location for middle school students walking to McDougle Middle School. Quail Roost Drive is the final segment of many walks to the school since it provides the most direct path to the building via the gate at the end of Quail Roost that opens onto the school’s running track. The new island, expanded curb, and improved crosswalks will calm traffic and reduce turning speeds at this intersection.
In the photo to the right from Google Earth, you can see the cones (representing a potential curb enlargement) that NCDOT put out for most of the last year to gauge motorist, pedestrian, and cyclist behavior prior to the permanent installation. The NCDOT Board awarded the town a Small Construction Funds stipend of $40,000 to complete this improvement, which is part of the town of Carrboro’s Safe Routes to School Action Plan.
I’m really impressed with the way the town and NCDOT worked together on this with the trial of the various configurations of cones to represent the island and curb extension. I hope that Carrboro Planning and Public Works will find a new problem intersection to tackle next.
Davie Rd Sidewalk
Another great project that is providing an important missing link to the pedestrian network is the sidewalk presently being built along Davie Rd from Jones Ferry Rd to Fidelity Street. This will be a 5-foot wide sidewalk on the east side of Davie Rd with a storm sewer as part of the design.
According to the American Community Survey 2005 – 2009 five year estimates, the Census Tract in which this sidewalk sits has one of the highest walk-to-work shares of any Census Tract in Orange County, at almost 5%. Another 19% use public transportation to get to work, which means that almost a quarter of the working adults in this area start their journey to work on foot.
Hopefully this piece of sidewalk will be completed along the full length of Davie from Fidelity to Main St in the future. There are a few other projects underway in town that I will cover in Part 2 of this topic.