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Thursday December 1st

Bolin Creek bike path faces opposition

DTH/Brent Williams
Buy Photos DTH/Brent Williams

Carrboro is considering adding bike paths to run by local creeks, but some residents worry it will negatively affect the ecosystem.

About 180 Carrboro and Chapel Hill residents have signed a petition by a new group, Save Bolin Creek, a grassroots organization that opposes a paved bike path, or greenway, that would run along the creek.

Save Bolin Creek

Rob Crook, the spokesman for Save Bolin Creek, said the group is not opposed to the entire plan, just the parts that they believe will have a negative impact on the creek.

He recognizes one portion of the plan, a path from Estes Drive Extension to Seawell School Road, that could use a greenway path.

But when it comes to the proposed path near Bolin Creek, Crook said concrete path construction, which requites heavy digging along the creek, would have a negative impact on the Jordan Lake watershed.

“When you construct concrete, you have to dig down into the earth, cut tree roots, and the probability of tree mortality increases, which would decrease the shade over the water,” Crook said.

Without shade, the water temperature could increase, in turn killing macroinvertebrates necessary for a healthy watershed and eventually lead to making Jordan Lake water undrinkable, he said.

History of the greenways

Carrboro has considered greenway construction in the area since the mid-1990s, said Jeff Brubaker, the town transportation planner. But it wasn’t until 2007 that the town formed an advisory board called the Carrboro Greenways Commission.

The commission focuses mainly on the construction of the Bolin and Morgan Creek greenways.

Brubaker said Bolin Creek’s wildlife would be mildly affected since there is a dirt trail at the potential greenway construction site.

In search of a construction plan, Carrboro hired Greenways Inc., a greenway consulting firm. The firm released plans in December.

The consultants recommended a path to run along Bolin Creek for a number of reasons. One included its access to Orange Water and Sewer Authority pipes.

That’s when the Save Bolin Creek group formed.

Carrboro’s next move

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen will not take action on building greenways until they receive community feedback, Brubaker said.

Residents can comment at public hearings in the spring, he said.

Morgan Martin, resident of Hanna Street near Bolin Creek, questioned the necessity of building paths on established dirt trails.

“I like to go back in those woods,” he said. “It doesn’t seem that necessary because it’s wide enough back there as is.”

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