Get the Facts - Sidewalk on NC 54

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A petition posted on calls for the Town of Cary to connect the sidewalk along NC 54 between Fairbanks Road and Wilson Road near the Park Place and Park West shopping areas. It states that residents of the surrounding neighborhoods are not able to safely walk to commerce a few blocks away. 

How does the Town decide where to install sidewalks?

Each year the Cary Town Council establishes a priority list of proposed sidewalk locations for projects that have been requested by citizens and Town staff. The annual sidewalk priority list considers a number of factors including safety, use, connectivity and constructability in its ranking of projects.

How does this section of NC 54 rate in terms of pedestrian safety?   

There have been no injury crashes involving pedestrians on NC 54 near Fairbanks Road.

Has the Town considered installing a sidewalk along this section of NC 54?

Yes. NC 54 is a state-maintained thoroughfare and the NC Department of Transportation partnered with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), the Town of Cary, the Town of Morrisville and Norfolk Southern to investigate potential improvements to NC 54 from the I-540 interchange in Morrisville to NW Maynard Road in Cary as part of the NC54 and More Feasibility Study.

In addition, the Cary Community Plan, Imagine Cary, proposes a 10‐foot wide street‐side trail along the east side of NC 54 and a five‐foot sidewalk on the west side of NC 54. This project is included in our 10-year Capital Improvement Plan budget but has not been funded.

Why hasn’t sidewalk been installed?

The installation of sidewalk along this corridor is planned in conjunction with other roadway improvements, such as widening NC 54 from Cary Parkway to Maynard Road to a six-lane median divided thoroughfare. The cost to make these changes is budgeted at $40 million and funding has yet to be approved.

NCDOT is using the NC54 and More Feasibility Study to consider funding for the project via its Strategic Transportation Prioritization (SPOT) process. The development taking place along this corridor may also help fund some of these improvements.

Why can’t the Town just fill in the missing piece?

While installing a sidewalk from Fairbanks Road to Wilson Road may seem like a simple project, the Town would first need to acquire the land, install curb and gutter and widen the road before addressing the sidewalk. A traffic signal would also need to be install at Fairbanks Road.

Moreover, there are a lot of pressing needs around Cary and it isn’t possible to fund all sidewalk requests right away. In fact, there are some requests that have been waiting multiple years.

Why doesn't the Town install a temporary sidewalk?

Sidewalks, whether temporary or permanent, must be accessible for all pedestrians. A gravel path would not be ADA compliant.  

How can citizens request a sidewalk be installed?

Requests for sidewalks can be made to the Transportation & Facilities Department. Sidewalks along residential streets must be accompanied by a petition signed by at least 70 percent of homeowners within the "area of influence" as noted in the Sidewalk Requests (Town's Policy Statement No.135). The Transportation & Facilities Department will provide a map and addresses for the area of influence. The project will be scored based on a number of factors as highlighted in Policy 135.

Resources petition for Sidewalk on Chapel Hill Road

Sidewalk Request Program

NC 54 & More Study


Juliet Andes, AICP
Facilities Planning Manager
Transportation & Facilities Department
(919) 462-2008