New year, new councils, new project completions (and there are a lot of them.) Here are our updates for the coming year.

Estes Drive Sidewalks and Sidepath will be completed this spring

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According to the Town of Chapel Hill’s website, this much-anticipated project – some 15 years in the making! –  to make Estes Drive more pedestrian friendly is slated to be completed in the spring of 2024.

The project will include  raised bike lanes and sidewalks along Estes Drive, wider sidewalks along a portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., crosswalks at the MLK/Estes intersection, and turn lanes at the MLK/Estes intersection.

Utility relocation – an unavoidable hassle in projects like these – resulted in early construction delays, but the project is back on track – and will make it easier and safer for kids to get to school along Estes.

Rosemary Street Parking Deck is expected to open in June

Approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council in September 2020, the Rosemary Street Parking Deck is expected to be finished by June 2024, according to Susan Brown, the executive director for strategic communication of the Town Of Chapel Hill. Rosemary Street itself will reopen this spring, as will new sidewalks, crosswalks, and planting on the street.

The library in Carrboro will open this summer!

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Carrboro was the largest municipality in North Carolina without a library, and the 38+ year battle to get a library will finally be over. The much-anticipated 203 Project is set to open next summer. Included will be:

  • The southern branch of the Orange County Library
  • Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources
  • Orange County Skills Development Center
  • WCOM Radio, which is moved from the Cat’s Cradle complex
  • A teen center
  • performance/multipurpose uses.

Adjacent to this will be more downtown parking: the lot is expected to include 171 vehicle parking spaces and 70 bike parking spots. Also, it’ll be on the CW, F and J routes, the Go Triangle 405 route, a soon-to-be built sidewalk along S. Greensboro Street, and the Libba Cotten Bikeway.

Aura will begin leasing apartments in summer of 2024

The project – which includes townhouses, apartments, and retail – is also slated to begin opening in summer of 2024, three years after it was approved by the town council. This project will be on the future NSBRT line (see below) and connected to the Estes Road Sidepath.

University Place will begin leasing apartment as early as August 2024

As reported by Tammy Grubb in the News & Observer last week, the construction at University Place will transform what was Chapel Hill’s only indoor mall. By this summer, apartments will open along Willow Drive, while new retail spaces and a “large public lawn” will make it a destination for people in that part of Chapel HIll. We’re also excited about the plans for a new sidepath along Fordham Boulevard, which will make it easier for people to walk or bike from University Place to Eastgate.

Sidewalks on Homestead Road will be finished this summer

Like the Estes Sidepath, building sidewalks along Homestead Road has been a project that’s been years in the making, beset by lack of funds. But these sidewalks, which will connect the Southern Human Services Center/Seymour Senior Center with Chapel Hill High School, will be transformative for this part of town. In particular, it will benefit the new neighborhoods being built there, including an affordable housing development that will break ground later this year.

Construction of crosswalks on Highway 54 should begin this year

For decades, residents of the apartments along Highway 54 in Carrboro have complained about the lack of crosswalks, which leads many residents to run across the divided highway in order to catch the bus or get home. In November, the Town of Carrboro reported that construction on three crosswalks—which will use a special traffic signal to stop car traffic—is expected to begin this year.

We’re not sure when 1100 Columbia will open

Approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council in March 2021, almost a decade after a condo project was first proposed at the intersection of Highway 54 and Columbia Street, 1100 Columbia has a website and a cleared site, but construction has not started.

We are awaiting federal funding for the North-South Bus Rapid Transit

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As early as next month, but, more likely, in March, we will learn whether the North South Bus Rapid Transit line will receive federal funding. If this project is funded, it will be a transformative investment for Chapel Hill, for all the reasons we went into in 2022 (This project is more than a decade in the making). This week, the Chapel Hill Town Council will discuss the proposed bus station designs.

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...