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The Daily Tar Heel

Group Submits Vision 2020 Plan

Carrboro officials had hired Walkable Communities, Inc. to develop a comprehensive blueprint, called Vision 2020, for Carrboro's growth during the next two decades.

The group's final recommendation moved the project into the hands of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, which will vote on a final version of the plan after further meetings and suggestions.

The presentation, held at the Carrboro Century Center and organized by the Downtown Visioning Steering Committee, was divided into two parts. The first was a slide show in which Dan Burden, the founder of Walkable Communities, compared problems in Carrboro to solutions implemented across the country.

The second part of the presentation was a residents' forum at which concerned citizens could learn more about specific parts of the proposed solutions.

The presentation included suggestions to implement mixed-use buildings that house businesses and residents in three- to five-story structures and close Weaver Street to traffic for limited periods each day.

Other proposed changes were to implement one-lane traffic on Weaver Street, create roundabouts with increased enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way and add bike lanes on all major streets.

Burden suggested that roundabouts, or traffic circles, are the solution to the congestion that Carrboro is facing because they keep cars moving and reduce the risk of accidents. "They reduce speed by 15 to 20 miles per hour, but they also reduce the risk of fatal crashes by 90 percent," Burden said.

Aldermen Alex Zaffron said he was very impressed with the turnout at the event and was pleased overall with the community interest.

"The turnout really blew me away," Zaffron said. "It really exceeded our expectations."

Andreas Hay, a four-year resident of Carrboro, said he approved of several ideas but that he was hesitant about the level of change they would involve. "Some of the stuff is very interesting, but personally, five-story buildings seem like such a drastic change," Hay said.

Zaffron said the next step for the community is uncertain, but there are several measures that must be taken before the plan's implementation.

"The plans have to be presented to the Board of Aldermen, and I think we definitely need to send a draft to the attorney so that old ordinances impeding this type of development can be changed," Zaffron said. "We were really just focusing on getting through this."

Cynthia Liston, a member of the steering committee, said the presentation was the first step in the improvement of Carrboro. "The purpose of today is to present a conceptual plan and get (the residents') take on it," Liston said.

"This is a great thing, but in some ways it's only the beginning."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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