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Signs make walking Chapel Hill easier

Walk Chapel Hill sign in front of the Courthouse gives directions to pedestrians to different downtown and campus destinations.
Walk Chapel Hill sign in front of the Courthouse gives directions to pedestrians to different downtown and campus destinations.

The town is in the process of installing nine signs located downtown on both Franklin and Columbia streets to help visitors get around and to encourage walkability.

“The project has been in the works for the past several months, in coordination with the Town of Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill Visitors Bureau, UNC and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership,” said Bobby Funk, assistant director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.

Funk said the idea came from a desire to encourage walkability in the downtown area.

The signs will point visitors to notable cultural and historical destinations in downtown Chapel Hill, downtown Carrboro and on the UNC campus, said Patty Griffin, spokeswoman for the Chapel Hill and Orange County Visitors Bureau.

“There’s so much to do downtown, and ... we share a border with the University, and many of the signs do highlight things on UNC’s campus — the landmarks like Morehead Plantetarium, or Memorial Hall, or the Old Well, or McCorkle Place,” she said.

Each sign will cost less than $100 to produce, Funk said.

Griffin said the walkability signs will improve the visitor experience in Chapel Hill, especially for tourists who are visiting the area for the first time.

“It would make it easier for people to navigate downtown as they’re walking,” she said.

“If it’s the first time you’ve been to Chapel Hill, you’re just not sure where things are, and having these way-finding signs are certainly going to help the visitor experience.”

One of the attractions that will be featured on the signs is the Ackland Art Museum.

Emily Bowles, spokeswoman for the Ackland Art Museum, said she thinks the sign will bring more visitors to the museum.

“There are people who are visiting downtown Franklin Street and might not know that we are steps away, and these signs are drawing attention to the fact that we are a short walking distance to the hub of Franklin Street,” Bowles said.

“We really do have so much, and we are a small college town, and we are easily accessible on foot, or by bus.Things are so close together, there’s so much richness here that it would a shame to miss things.”

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