The Board of Aldermen is trying to respond to these concerns by implementing a new downtown slow zone policy to encourage safer driving and protection for pedestrians.
Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils said the downtown slow zone policy was previously brought up to the board by the Transportation Advisory Board.
The board then had to figure out how a policy like this could function and work in Carrboro.
“The board directed staff to come back with more information on the feasibility of adopting such initiatives, and they did that May of 2014,” Seils said.
“So the board asked the staff to start drafting a policy for a downtown slow zone.”
He said this new policy is not a policy inspired by accidents in Carrboro.
He instead explained it was a precaution to prioritize safety and compliance with already existing speed limits and regulations.
“It’s not in response to specific incidents,” Seils said.
“Although the idea of a downtown slow zone is inspired in part by initiatives you may have heard of called Vision Zero.”
Vision Zero is a project that has created improvements in various parts of society, especially in transportation, to benefit those who are visually impaired.
“The goal of a downtown slow zone is to reduce interaction between pedestrians and the cars and to increase the safety of pedestrians,” Seils said.
“What people can expect to see with a downtown slow zone policy is a collection of physical measures and aesthetic measures, educational and enforcement activities that will basically improve compliance with our existing speed limits.”
Board of Aldermen member Sammy Slade said the board wants to encourage the people of Carrboro to utilize different forms of transportation.
He said this will ultimately make Carrboro’s downtown a safer environment for residents.
“It’s more of a means in which to provide a safe place for pedestrians and bikers and encourage more people to use alternative forms of transportation,” Slade said.
“So it’s a safety issue and a means in which to stop using as many cars as we currently use in this time of climate change.”
Bergen Watterson, transportation planner for the town of Carrboro, said the downtown slow zone policy is still in the beginning stages of development and that it will not yet go through the Board of Aldermen for discussion.
“It is just in the beginning stages and will likely go through a lengthy process before going to aldermen for actual discussion,” Watterson said.