The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 2nd

Estes Drive area could get paths

Budget will limit walkway options

Due to budget constraints, the Board of Alderman is downsizing its grand plans for building sidewalks in an Estes Drive neighborhood.

Instead of a large-scale project near a Carrboro park, new plans are to focus on the Estes Park Apartments.

The board passed a resolution Tuesday to consider alternative solutions to the original Sidewalk Bonds Project.

In a meeting last November, the aldermen considered constructing a 10-foot wide concrete trail between the ball fields at Wilson Park, which would continue the trail along the sewer property to Estes Drive. This would provide a pedestrian walkway leading to a trail to Estes Park Apartments.

With the 2009 plan becoming unaffordable, the aldermen considered bike paths for the Estes Drive area.

One option would be to construct a smaller sidewalk from Hillcrest Avenue to N. Greensboro Street, said George Seiz, Carrboro public works director.

The Hillcrest Avenue alternative would cost around $55,000 less than the 2009 plan, Seiz said.

Town Manager Steve Stewart said if Carrboro did not use the first alternative, the aldermen would consider several of four cheaper alternatives to the sidewalk connecting Hillcrest Avenue to North Greensboro Street.

Carrboro Transportation Planner Jeff Brubaker presented these alternatives.

The first is a Wilson Park multi-use, or bicycle and pedestrian, path which Brubaker said would allow for a safe passage to Estes Drive.

Other options include a multiuse path on Pleasant Drive, a multiuse path on Hillcrest Avenue or a path connecting Crest Drive to Estes Park Apartments.

All of these alternatives will provide safe pedestrian and bicycle access to the apartments, Brubaker said.

The aldermen also discussed the transportation opportunities with each option.

The Crest Drive option may take pedestrians and bicyclists safely to a bus stop.

But some aldermen expressed concern about the Pleasant Drive alternative.

Alderman Jacquie Gist said children living in Estes Park Apartments, who attend Carrboro Elementary School, would no longer be eligible for school busing.

Gist said she was concerned with working parents having to drive their children to school.

“Families may not want their children walking to school alone,” she said.

Mayor Mark Chilton said formalized paths would improve the apartments.

“It obviously makes Estes Park Apartments more valuable to owners,” Chilton said.

Aldermen will seek further feedback from residents in the area before they take action on building paths.

Seiz and Brubaker said there was no timeline available for the building of the paths.

Aldermen said the town may meet with residents at a church in the neighborhood.

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