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Public input on future of Bolin Creek Greenway to extend through September

A sign on the Bolin Creek Trail is shown on July 10, 2023.

The Town of Carrboro adopted the Bolin Creek Greenway Conceptual Master Plan nearly 14 years ago. The plan is the first comprehensive guide for the greenway's construction and has allowed for greater walking, wheeling and bicycling accessibility along the Bolin Creek and James Creek corridors.

In March, the Carrboro Town Council requested that public input be received before it makes a decision on the alignment of the trail.

Now, the council wants to hear from the community about where the Bolin Creek Greenway should go and how to best implement the master plan. This public comment project, which is open through September, is called ‘Which way for the greenway?’

“We landed on the phrase ‘Which way for the greenway?’ to be sure that it really describes the primary question at hand,” Catherine Lazorko, Carrboro’s communication and engagement director, said. “There seems to be a lot of things that people want to talk about or explore with regard to this area along the creek, but this engagement effort is focused on these alternative alignments.”

The Bolin Creek Greenway Conceptual Master Plan will be completed in five phases, two of which — phases 1a and 1b — are already complete and in use.

The completed plan would consist of 4.8 miles of trail allowing residents from both Carrboro and Chapel Hill to safely travel from Wilson Park to Morris Grove Elementary School and anywhere in between in Carrboro.

“One of the benefits of having a completed greenway network is that it will finish the job of linking together neighborhoods, connecting community members to schools and really knitting neighborhoods together,” Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said.

The future of the greenway could follow any one of three directions: the Creekside Trail alignment, the Upland Forest alignment and the Bolin Connector alignment.

Trail alignment options for the Bolin Green Greenway. Photo Courtesy of Steve Spindler Cartography/Town of Carrboro

The proposed Creekside Trail alignment design for the greenway, recommended in the Bolin Creek Greenway Conceptual Master Plan, is for approximately two miles of trail near Bolin Creek, which extends from Estes Drive to Homestead Road. 

“One of the other benefits of the creekside alignment can be that in a really degraded quarter like the one we have along Bolin Creek, especially in Carrboro, is that it can actually provide for some opportunities for restoration and stabilization of the stream bank,” Seils said. 

The Upland Forest alternative would direct users to Seawell School Road and utilize existing trail corridors. Some of the constraints of this alignment include steep topography, increased engineering costs and the loss of more trees.

The Bolin Connector alignment would tie into existing and proposed bicycle facilities. All modes of transportation, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users and vehicles, would share the streets. 

Community members can go online to take a survey, view the greenway map or take a virtual tour on the project webpage. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the greenway at community events and pop-up stops around town during the summer and fall. 

“When they say they want to hear from the entire community, they want to hear from everyone in our community,” Melody Kramer, a resident of Carrboro, said. “I deeply believe that living in a college town means elevating the voices of college students and graduate students who live here and thinking about how to construct our communities so that they benefit everyone who lives here.”

@DTHCityState | 

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