A Triangle Blog Blog reader recently wrote in with a very good question: “I was curious why the Bolin Creek Greenway does not appear in the recommendations for the 2020 Bike Plan or Carrboro’s Comprehensive Plan. Can you dig into this?”

Thank you for your question! There is nothing that makes us happier than digging through primary source documents.

To find the answer, we headed into Carrboro’s massively-large Comprehensive Plan. (Be forewarned: that link is 16 MB and takes a while to load.)

But once you do load the document, head to page 121 and look at the bottom of the page. It says the following:

Carrboro adopted a Greenways Master Plan in 2006 that first identified the Bolin Creek Corridor as a potential alignment for greenway development. This is a multi-phase project of which sections 1A and 1B have been completed. Phase 2 as identified in that plan should still be considered for potential bicycle transportation projects. Consideration of other alignments in that plan were not discussed as part of this planning process, because as of May 2022, direction has yet to be determined by Carrboro Town Council.

The last sentence of that paragraph explains why the Bolin Creek Greenway is not mentioned in the comprehensive plan or the 2020 bike plan. Direction had yet to be determined by Carrboro’s Town Council.

This essentially put a moratorium on the greenway discussion until the town council could decide on how best to move forward.

In practice, this meant that the greenway was not up for discussion during the bike plan or the comp planning processes.

Sign up for the Carrboro Linear Parks Project mailing list to get updates on building out Carrboro’s greenway network. Visit the Carrboro Linear Parks Project website for more information. There’s also a helpful FAQ with answers to many questions.

Update: We support the creekside alignment for the reasons detailed here.

Consider this:

The 2009 Carrboro Bike Plan had 19 miles of proposed greenways connecting our town’s schools, trails, and parks. The 2020 Carrboro Bike plan had only 3. And the Bolin Creek Greenway isn’t mentioned aside from a small footnote at the end of the document.

We spoke to participants who attended public engagement sessions for the 2020 Carrboro Bike Plan. When they asked why the greenway was not included, the consultants said they were not allowed to envision Bolin Creek Greenway as part of the future bike network because direction had yet to be determined by the Town Council.

But we have a great and positive direction now!

That’s why we’re so excited that Carrboro’s Town Council voted to restart this conversation last February. That meant we could finally talk about the greenway. The new public engagement process kicked off last month. (We dig into the alignments here.)

Understanding that the Bolin Creek Greenway is not in the 2020 Bike Plan also helps us assess potential future council members. For  instance, Town Council Candidate Stephanie Wade says on her website that she supports the 2020 bike plan. That’s coded language for not supporting the creekside greenway. (We again confirmed that Wade does not support the greenway when she recently yelled “I don’t agree” at a pro-greenway canvasser.)

As you work your way through election season, ask town council candidates what they think about the bike plan, the greenway, and the ways in which we can make Carrboro more connected and accessible to all.

We strongly support the creekside alignment

Building out a safe, connected, and off-road greenway network across Carrboro will help us reduce vehicle miles traveled, improve conditions along the creek, encourage active (and safe) school transportation, and create an ADA accessible path that people of all mobility levels can access.

That’s why we strongly support the creekside alignment. As Ryan Byars points out, it requires the fewest trees to come down, will improve the quality of the creek, has been ok’ed by the largest landowner involved (UNC), and will connect the largest number of neighborhoods across Carrboro.

We’re thrilled that the conversation around the greenway is once again taking place. You can read more on the Carrboro Linear Parks Project FAQ, which dives into all of the questions that have come up about this project over the past 15 years.

Don’t forget to take the survey!


76 Reasons We’re Excited About the Bolin Creek Greenway

Greenways as environmental restoration projects

A side path on Seawell School Road is not a viable alternative to completing the Bolin Creek Greenway

Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....