Project Symposium - Watch the Recording
Cary and our project consultant, Stantec, hosted a Project Symposium on September 30. For the public's convenience, the public meeting was recorded. The project team discussed the corridor's existing conditions, reviewed the Priorities & Needs survey results, polled the audience and opened the floor for Q&A. We hope you watch this video at your convenience.
Why are we studying CHR?
Chapel Hill Road (CHR) extends through the northern end of Cary's Downtown, but it has a very different look and feel than other downtown streets, like Academy or Chatham. Today, CHR's width alternates back and forth, wide to narrow throughout the corridor. Sidewalks are sporadic and there are no bike lanes. The street's future design should complement the downtown identity and reflect the character of the area. Today, the street generates many questions, including:
- How can the street best serve the homes, businesses, schools, and churches along the corridor?
- How do we create a sense of place?
- How do we make CHR walkable and pedestrian friendly?
- Do we want bike lanes? If so, where?
- How many lanes do we need?
- What is the right speed limit for CHR?
- Do we need streetlights? Drainage improvements?
- Do we want landscaping? Public art?
- And more
The Mobility Study will provide certainty to property owners and create a vision for the corridor.
The Imagine Cary Community Plan (CCP) currently proposes widening Chapel Hill Road between NW Maynard Road and NE Maynard Road to a four-lane street with center median. Today, the majority of Chapel Hill Road is a two-lane street with sporadic sidewalks, resulting in frequent sidewalk requests particularly near Northwoods Elementary School.
Maynard Road (NC 54): A Downtown Bypass
Maynard Road (NC 54) is an alternate and convenient route to Chapel Hill Road. The four-lane road with a 45 mph speed limit can function as a bypass, keeping through traffic out of the downtown. As a result, Chapel Hill Rd can be examined in a different context. Less consideration may be given to the motorist, and higher priority placed on pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. The street's design should connect neighborhoods, schools and businesses encouraging residents to walk, bike and use transit.
The current roadway transitions from 2-, 3-, 4-, and
5-lane sections often, with posted speed that varies
from 25, 35, and 45, mph, and even the right-of-way
(ROW) width varies between 60, 100, and 150 feet.
These patterns describe a roadway that has been
partially improved in segments over many years. It
may not be necessary for the entire corridor to have a
uniform ROW, posted speed, and number of lanes, but
it will be helpful to define distinct sections that prioritize more than motorists.
Three existing conditions diagrams below provide a
comprehensive look at the CHR corridor today.
Diagram 1 displays speed limits and traffic signals, number of travel lanes, AADT (average annual daily traffic), and crashes.
Diagram 2 displays pedestrian facilities and crashes, traffic volumes, right-of-way widths and adjacent land uses for CHR between NW Maynard Rd and Academy St.
Diagram 3 displays pedestrian facilities and crashes, traffic volumes, right-of-way widths and adjacent land uses for CHR between Academy St and NE Maynard Rd.
Given the pandemic, our ability to hold in-person meetings is temporarily put on hold. We'll be conducting more virtual engagement activities.
Public engagement will be a key element throughout the project. A small survey conducted earlier this year provided a clear consensus that participants wanted sidewalks throughout the corridor. Those responses helped in the development of a broader second survey to help identify Priorities & Needs which ended on September 24, 2020 with over 1,400 participants.
The 10-quesition Priorities & Needs survey was open for over 7-weeks to gather public input. Survey participants answered questions, marked problem areas on an interactive map, and left many, many comments about pedestrian needs and other ideas on how they would improve Chapel Hill Road. Thank you to all who participated. There will be additional public engagement activities as we progress through the study.
Cary hosted a Project Symposium on September 30. That public meeting was recorded and is included above on this webpage. The project team discussed the corridor's existing conditions, reviewed the Priorities & Needs survey results, polled the audience and opened the floor for Q&A. Over 60 people attended this virtual meeting to learn more about the study and next steps.
The Visual Preference Survey is now live until end of day November 1, 2020. What is a visual preference survey? Well if we were in person, I'd hand you sticky dots to place on the pictures of pedestrian facilities, bike facilities, and other design elements that you like most and want to see on the corridor. Today, we've moved this exercise online. Tell us your preferences for various types of community design, pedestrian facilities, bike facilities, land/streetscaping, and other options. You can determine which facilities and design options contribute positively to the street's overall features.
Focus Group Meetings
In September, Cary staff and our consultant Stantec met with nine focus groups and stakeholders to learn how they use the street today, to hear in their words what their current transportation needs are and to learn what their priorities are for a future street design. The focus groups and stakeholders included bike/pedestrian advocates, schools, transit, emergency services (fire and police), economic development, development/investors, faith-based organizations, downtown business and neighborhoods. We listened and learned a lot from these groups. Some recurring themes emerged including a need for pedestrian improvements and a general consensus that Chapel Hill Road is a "forgotten corridor".
The study began in early 2020 and will take approximately 18 months to complete.