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The Daily Tar Heel

Merritt Pasture: Drivers Wanted

Dog walkers and kite fliers who have been banned from parking near Merritt Pasture may soon be able to return if a recommendation by the Greenways Commission is approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council this month.

Police say parking on the N.C. 54 entrance ramp creates a traffic hazard and the town is planning to put up no-parking signs along the ramp near Merritt Pasture.

The land was purchased by the town in 1991, but parking has only recently become a concern.

Commission members voted unanimously Wednesday night to develop a plan to provide access to the pasture in two separate locations, and relieve the need to park on the field itself.

"There is no easy solution,"said commission member Bill Webster."The best solution will be difficult in some way."

The commission suggested creating a point of access from the east through Morgan Creek Road. Webster said under the plan the town would purchase an existing lot on either Winter or Pasture streets. He said the plan would make the park more accessible, and traffic problems would be alleviated.

"Everyone south of the bypass and east of the meadow could get there either by bicycle or foot,"he said. "There would be no need for vehicles."

The commission also recommended building a second entrance through the Duke Power substation by Morgan Creek.

Webster said a trail would be created to merge into the town property, and a parking lot would be built about one-half mile from the residential area.

However, the construction of a bridge over the creek presents a major obstacle to the plan.

"The bridge will take at least a year-and-a-half. But if we're ready to go when it's done, it will cut down the time we have to wait," Webster said.

Commission member Pamela Hemminger said whichever plan was adopted would be met with opposition by area residents. "The neighbors are organized and prepared, and they will fight anything that we try to do that affects the residential area,"she said.

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