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The Daily Tar Heel

Rosemary construction improving sidewalks, impeding traffic in the meantime

In the meantime, navigating one of the town’s most popular streets has become difficult.

The Streetscape Master Plan, which was established in 1993, is designed to enhance the pedestrian experience with sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, benches, public art, plantings and other improvements along Franklin and Rosemary Streets.

The Rosemary Street Public Improvement Project ­— which fits into the Streetscape plan — is being funded with $1.6 million in street and sidewalk voter-approved bonds.

The town has been working to connect sidewalks and raise curbs on Rosemary Street to improve public accessibility.

Catherine Lazorko, communications manager for the town of Chapel Hill, said components of the project also include accessible crosswalk ramps. 

“The primary sources of funds for the Rosemary Street Public Improvements Project are 2003 and 2015 Streets and Sidewalks bond funds,” Lazorko said.

Emily Cameron, the landscape architect for the project, said brick pavers are being installed between curb and gutter and sidewalk on West Rosemary Street. New bicycle racks and trash receptacles also will be installed in the brick amenity strip on both East and West Rosemary Street later this October, she said.

Chapel Hill residents see the street upgrades as both constructive and a hindrance.

“The overall outcome is going to be beneficial, but currently it’s a nuisance and is causing some issues with students crossing the street,” said Clare Bocklage, a UNC sophomore and Chapel Hill resident. “It’s kind of dangerous because, as we know, Carolina drivers are already crazy enough.”

The last section of sidewalk on the 600 block of West Rosemary Street, was installed the week of Oct. 3, Cameron said.

“The contractor will also start work on the foundation for the brick retaining wall adjacent to the town-owned parking lot at the corner of North Columbia and East Rosemary Streets,” she said.

Cameron said Duke Energy is in the process of upgrading preexisting streetlights to LED as well as installing new LED pedestrian lights. These light installations are expected to be finished by the end of October. Wiring systems for the new pedestrian lighting will be installed underground instead of overhead.

“Once the street resurfacing happens in the next three to four weeks, the project will be substantially complete,” Cameron said.

The several street trees that were removed earlier this summer to minimize their root disruption on sidewalks will soon be replaced. The planting of these new trees is anticipated sometime between Nov. 1 and March 1, 2017, depending on the selection of a landscape contractor.


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