The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday May 25th

Residents critique traffic plan at third Wegmans community input meeting

This Wegmans store in Chapel Hill will look like this store in Alexandria, VA. Photo contributed by Valerie Fox.
Buy Photos This Wegmans store in Chapel Hill will look like this store in Alexandria, VA. Photo contributed by Valerie Fox.

The Town of Chapel Hill held its third community meeting to receive input on the Wegmans supermarket development and its impact on local traffic on Tuesday evening. 

Dozens of Chapel Hill residents from areas near Wegmans attended the meeting. Town Operations Manager Judy Johnson, Town Traffic Engineering Manager Kumar Neppalli and Justin Brown, associate vice president for consulting engineering firm Pennoni, which is working on the Wegmans project, each gave presentations of the Town’s proposed traffic-calming measures. 

“We want to make sure we’re not having any adverse impact on our neighbors,” Johnson said. 

The Wegmans project has been underway since a special use permit was submitted to Chapel Hill in early 2017. The $30 million development will replace Performance Auto Mall, between U.S. 15-501 and Old Durham Road. The deconstruction of Performance Auto Mall is underway. 

The original permit was approved for a 130,000 square foot floor area and 750 parking spots. The store plan has since decreased to 99,000 square feet. 

Community members have raised several concerns regarding increased traffic to streets and neighborhoods near the Wegmans site, specifically Scarlett Drive, Legion Road and Legion Road Extension, Cooper Street and Standish Drive. 

Tuesday’s meeting primarily discussed four proposed traffic calming devices for the streets around Wegmans: no-through truck signs, all-way stop control with stop signs, electronic speed display signs and a traffic diverter on Cooper Street at Old Durham Road. 

The traffic diverter would make it so residents would have to take longer routes to get back to Cooper Street.

Neppalli said the traffic diverter on Cooper Street at Old Durham Road was not previously met with much push back. 

This was not the case at the June 11 meeting. 

Community members expressed concern about the extended route and asked if the diverter would just push traffic onto other residential roads. 

The proposed traffic calming devices are not permanent. The Town collected surveys from everyone in attendance asking about the four devices that were presented. 

Chapel Hill Town Council is scheduled to vote on the plan at the June 26 meeting. However, Johnson said, the meeting could be pushed back to September if community members are not satisfied with the traffic calming plan. 

Brown said Wegmans construction will likely be completed in early 2021. 

“There’s plenty of time to do these things,” Neppalli said. 

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