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The Daily Tar Heel

Looking forward with the Chapel Hill 2020 plan

The plan is not necessarily set to be completed by the year 2020, as its name suggests, but can be seen as a play on words for residents to have 20/20 vision looking forward, said Megan Wooley-Ousdahl, a community sustainability planner for the town of Chapel Hill.

“The idea is for the people of Chapel Hill to have ‘good vision’ for their community as they look forward to the future,” Wooley-Ousdahl said.

The Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan, which passed in 2012 after an unanimous town council vote, is meant to be a representation of the community’s ideas for how to improve the town.

The document is a guide for the town for the next 10 to 15 years and outlines different areas that the community is interested in improving.

The plan has six overarching themes — a place for everyone; community prosperity and engagement; getting around; good places, new spaces; nurturing the community; and a collaboration between the town and UNC.

“The six themes help guide the work of the staff and the council in setting policies,” Wooley-Ousdahl said. “The committee that developed the plan wanted the community to have an active voice in developing the objectives.”

She said most of the money for 2020 projects is specifically set aside in the town budget and some is funded by specific departments.

There are also five major goals the plan hopes to reach through the objectives and policies implemented in the next several years: implement more bike and pedestrian paths; create an entrepreneurial enterprise hub on Rosemary Street; create entertainment, dining and arts centers; establish a structure to support community and neighborhood engagement; and increase workforce and student housing.

“I think there are a number of discussions and priorities in the plan,” Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow said. “Some are small area plans as a result of the 2020 plan, but there are also big themes that have guided council and town work the last few years.”

Storrow was a member of the committee that helped create the plan before he was elected to Town Council.

Although all work is guided by the plan, the Town Council has passed several specific plans for town improvement with these themes and goals in mind, including the Chapel Hill Bike Plan.

Based on the “getting around” theme, the Chapel Hill Bike Plan was officially adopted as a component of the plan in June 2014 and aims to implement new bike routes and facilities in town.

Some elements of the bike plan have been implemented since the plan was passed, including the addition of bike lanes on Rosemary Street.

“I feel like (bike lanes on Rosemary) is a good start, but on a campus that is primarily being walked and biked, I feel like the primary focus shouldn’t be on driving, but on pedestrians and bikers,” said UNC sophomore and frequent biker Yaser Iftikhar. “I think bike lanes should be standard on all streets.”

Along with smaller area plans, the Chapel Hill 2020 plan greatly focuses on improving and maintaining the general downtown area.

“How we maintain vibrant downtown and how we build upon it are rooted in the goals created in the Chapel Hill 2020 plan,” Storrow said.


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