Earlier today, the board of the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (“the MPO”)—which is responsible for regional transportation planning in the western Triangle—awarded funding for several projects in our area. Among the funded projects are three big ones in Carrboro:

These are big wins for Carrboro, and the funding will be a boost to these three important projects. Lack of funding has meant we have seen little progress on the bike plan since its approval in 2021. And the decision to fund the next phase of the Bolin Creek Greenway is exactly the kind of impact we hoped for when the Town Council unstuck years of political paralysis on this popular project last year.

We asked Council Member Danny Nowell, who represents Carrboro on the MPO board, about the funding decision. He told us, “Today Carrboro secured more than a million dollars for bike/ped projects that will improve safety in some of our highest traffic areas, especially for students and families. We’re also taking a major step forward in designing a greenway network that will make comprehensive car-free transportation possible for every part of our town. I’m really grateful to our staff for identifying opportunities to fund these projects, and so excited about these steps toward the safer, cleaner, healthier town our residents are so clearly asking for.”

We’re thrilled and excited that the bike plan and another phase of the Bolin Creek Greenway—in the works since 2009!—are underway.

What these projects are

Carrboro’s updated bike plan was adopted by the Town Council in 2021. (You can read it here.) It was based on the earlier 2009 bike plan and provides recommendations and priorities for Carrboro’s bike network. Among these: safe routes to school, more and better bike parking, and strategic priorities for the future bike network. Priority projects include sidepaths on Homestead Road, safety improvements at Hillsborough Road and N. Greensboro Street, a redesign of Shelton Street near Carrboro Elementary, new and improved bike lanes on W. Main Street, and separated bike lanes on Jones Ferry Road.

More about phase 2

Phase 2 of the Bolin Creek Greenway is the second phase of a four-phase project to create a greenway network connecting neighborhoods in central and northern Carrboro. (Phases 1a and 1b are already complete.) Along with the bike plan projects and the future Morgan Creek Greenway, it’s part of an integrated network of greenways and pedestrian and bicycle paths that will connect neighborhoods and other destinations throughout Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Phase 2 of the Bolin Creek Greenway will link Lake Hogan Farms and nearby neighborhoods to the Jones Creek Greenway and Morris Grove Elementary in the north and to Chapel Hill High School and neighborhoods along Homestead Road in the south.

The South Greensboro Street sidewalk project is a much-needed enhancement to ensure the safety of residents living along S. Greensboro Street and will provide a vital link from downtown Carrboro to the future Morgan Creek Greenway.

South Greensboro Sidewalk

What else was funded? An electric bus purchase and a high-capacity transit study for Chapel Hill Transit and sidewalk projects in Chapel Hill, along with several other projects in Orange County, Durham, and Chatham County. (You can see all of the presentation slides here.)

What’s next

Phase 2 of the Bolin Creek Greenway is the second-phase in a four part project. It fit into the budget of the MPO’s “regional flexible funding” this time around, which is why it was funded. Up next: Phases 3 and 4. They will connect more members of our community, will connect to a larger geographic area, and will help with school transportation and accessibility across Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Last week, the Town of Carrboro’s communications staff received an award for their public engagement work around the Bolin Creek Greenway. It was well-deserved: the public engagement was held in several languages and ensured that a wide variety of residents completed the survey. The results of that survey were unambiguous: respondents overwhelmingly supported continued building out of the greenway network and strongly preferred a creekside alignment for Phases 3 and 4 of the project. The Town Council voted 6-1 last October to move forward with Phases 3 and 4 after 14 years, an issue we’ve written about many times over the past few years.

We’re thrilled that progress on the bike plan AND on the greenway is taking place, and are optimistic that the remaining phases of the greenway will be funded in the future. They are clear priorities for the town and residents, and we can’t wait until more people across Carrboro and Chapel Hill have safe, accessible, and connected ways to get to school, work, and other destinations in the community.

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.

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....