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The Daily Tar Heel

On-street loading zones under review

“And it makes it equally harder for other drivers who also to have to go around,” Hall said. “It gets really congested.”

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is hosting a forum on April 29 for business owners to discuss their thoughts and concerns about loading zones in downtown. Meg McGurk, the executive director for the partnership, said loading zones have not been an issue for Chapel Hill yet. But as commercial development continues and the town grows, it could become a big problem since trucks have to park in the streets to unload their supplies.

“This meeting is to hear from the people to see what is working and what is not working,” she said. “We don’t have any potential solutions in mind. That is why we are reaching out. Let’s take this opportunity to see what is going on.”

McGurk said the biggest issue from trucks stopping in the street to unload is that the trucks block traffic flow and can put pedestrians in danger as other drivers go around the parked truck. On the two-lane Rosemary Street, this is an especially prevalent problem.

Freshman James Hunt said the loading zones also cause problems for buses to navigate, in addition to problems for other drivers.

“I’ve been driving with my sister, and cars are parked on either side of the street. We can’t really get around because it is basically a one-way street.”

For businesses, loading zones are necessary components to run their business.

“Loading zones are very important for businesses,” said Parker Emmerson, the catering manager for Mediterranean Deli. “Given proper usage, they can genuinely help.”

Corey LaPrade, an employee at Pantana Bob’s, said he thinks that loading zones do make things more difficult for traffic, but he does not feel it is a very important issue.

Pantana Bob’s has a large parking lot where the delivery trucks park to unload their supplies. LaPrade said their deliveries go very quickly and last at most 30 minutes.

“I don’t think it is a big enough deal to go after it,” he said. “I think everyone does the best they can do. If they could fix it, it would be ideal.”

LaPrade said he did not know what the perfect solution would be to solve the issues surrounding loading zones since there is not room to expand the road, and the businesses need parking spots on the side of the road.

McGurk said many urban developments have extensive alley systems where trucks can park to unload their wares, which Chapel Hill does not have. This is why most unloading is done in the streets.

“Chapel Hill has always been and should always be a friendly town. We should always be supportive of people trying to do business,” Emmerson said.

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