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The Daily Tar Heel
Town Talk

Carrboro pursues constructing a slow zone for downtown

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Members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen want you to slow down and smell the roses.

And by smelling the roses, they mean appreciating the downtown.

The Transportation Advisory Board wants to create a slow zone in Carrboro, and the Board of Aldermen expressed interest at a meeting Tuesday.

A slow zone is a small area with well-defined boundaries and high pedestrian and bicycle activity, said Seth LaJeunesse, a member on the Transportation Advisory Board. The average vehicular speed is 20 mph.

They are usually located in small areas with a history of vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian crashes and in places with vulnerable populations.

The town already has a 20 mph speed limit on most streets, but LaJeunesse said the town should use other methods to give drivers a feeling that they are entering a new zone.

He suggested artistic entrances or gateways, adjustments to walk signals, bike corrals and curb extensions.

“The slow zone would reappropriate space on Weaver Street for walkability, beauty, diversity, art and music,” he said.

LaJeunesse said the walk signals should be changed to appear three or more seconds before stoplights turn green to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross before cars begin to move.

He said that would allow drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists more easily and would be especially helpful for right turns.

Chapel Hill controls the timing of walk signals, so voting to approve this measure will have to wait until the town has a conversation with those in control.

Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell said this would be inexpensive and important enough to pursue.

Bike corrals have already been added to the area and the arts commission will have to consider its budget before making a decision about artistic entrances.

Recent measures to prevent cars from parking close to a curb are a natural opportunity for curb extensions according to Alderman Sammy Slade.

The board asked the Transportation Advisory Board to report back on the progress of this presentation in two to three months.


The board voted to raise the maximum towing fee from $100 to $125, which is the same as Chapel Hill.


“Maybe it would be appropriate to have a lion there, too. It seems like this would be a good place for predators to coexist,” said Alderman Sammy Slade when looking at a serene picture of an example of a slow zone.

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