As our Towns grow and Carolina North is built we need to make sure we include safe bike ways to provide alternatives to more autos on the road. Save Bolin Creek supports building bike facilities to fulfill the need for a north- south connector for cyclists from Carolina North to northern Carrboro and Chapel Hill neighborhoods.
Many people do not know that the Carolina North Agreement signed in June 2009 between Chapel Hill and Carrboro commits to building future bike facilities that will provide that north – south bike connector between central campus and Carolina North. The agreement specifies in section 5.8.18 and 5.8.19 that bicycle facilities shall be built:
- “on both sides of Estes Drive from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to Seawell School Road;
- and both sides of Sewell School Rd between Estes Drive and Homestead Road”,
- and in 5.8.19 “that the Town and University shall work cooperatively to identify a greenway-bike connection between the Carolina North tract and UNC’s central campus.”
The Carolina North agreement also says in section 5.8.4 that “the schedule shall provide that improvements are made prior to occupancy of the building development that generates the need for those improvements.” In other words, when the new campus is growing and traffic increases, the facilities (both bus transit and bicycle) will need to be built at the same time.
Campus to Campus Bike Connector (CCBC), an advocacy group, is pushing for the Towns and UNC to identify the route in one year and construct the bike facility within 3 years in advance of other infrastructure on the Carolina North campus. CCBC has identified three potential routes between central campus and Carolina North. CCBC will lead walks of the two most promising routes on March 13 and 27. For information on these walks see: http://ccbconnector.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/ccbc-plans-walks-of-bike-routes
Both of these potential campus connector routes, the railroad route via Libba Cotton or the Tanyard Branch bike route, will line up with the north-south bike lanes that will be built on Seawell School Road.
In conclusion the planned bike ways on the drawing boards will provide a cyclist a convenient commute from the central UNC campus north to Estes Drive, and then on to northern neighborhoods via the bike facilities on Seawell School Road, with a mid- point stop at the Carolina North campus.
Once built, these bike routes will make a paved transit corridor along the Upper Bolin Creek between Estes Drive and Homestead redundant. Save Bolin Creek supports preserving Bolin Creek and opposes the proposed paved transit bike route through the Bolin Creek valley. We oppose this route because it would alter the natural landscape, deteriorate stream ecology and harm wildlife habitat in this large 400+tract of unbroken forest. Transit funds should be put toward existing plans.