Should Chapel Hill eliminate bike lanes on Rosemary Street? Move its bus stops off of Franklin and on to Rosemary? Upgrade its protected bike lanes on Franklin? How should our downtown streets look and feel, whether one is in a car, on the bus, on a bike, using a mobility scooter, or walking?

This week, Chapel Hill is conducting the next phase of its downtown mobility plan, which will determine the future of Franklin and Rosemary Streets. (Cameron Avenue will likely be impacted as well, but it is not included in the study).

While nothing has been set in stone yet, the consultants conducting the study are exploring the possibility of making Franklin Street the primary street for cyclists, with bike lanes protected by a row of street trees, like the image above. Bus stops would be relegated to Rosemary, leaving bus riders having to walk a block or more to businesses on Franklin Street.

The first drop-in session was today, but the team will be back on Tuesday and Wednesday for more sessions to hear from the public. These sessions are really neat, in part because the designers from Toole are making sketches of various ideas as they meet with the public. Here’s the schedule:

  • Studio Drop-In (In-Person) at 306 West Franklin St. (the building where Purple Bowl is located), Suite F
    • Monday May 22nd at 2:30-4:30 PM
    • Tuesday May 23rd at 4:00-5:30 PM
    • Wednesday May 24th at 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
  • Studio Drop-In (In-Person) at Hargraves Community Center (216 N. Roberson St.)
    • Tuesday May 23rd at 6:00- 7:30 PM
  • Reveal Event at 306 West Franklin St., Suite F
    • Thursday May 24th at 5:00-6:30 PM

At the “Reveal Event” on Thursday, the team will show their provisional design for Franklin and Rosemary Streets, which will help shape what the town decides to ultimately do with our downtown streets.

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Martin Johnson lives in Chapel Hill. He teaches film studies courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a member of NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro and the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel...