Chapel Hill Road 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, Chapel Hill Road'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 Chapel Hill Road 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 Chapel Hill Road?
- 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.
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 this second survey.
Given the pandemic, our ability to hold in-person meetings is temporarily put on hold. We'll be conducting more virtual engagement activities and reaching out to a broader audience. This 10-question survey will help us identify your needs and priorities along the corridor. It should take 5 minutes of your time. How would you improve Chapel Hill Road? What's your wish list? Share your ideas with us. At the end, you can join the study's mailing list to be notified of future engagement activities.
The study began in early 2020 and will take approximately 18 months to complete.
Luana Deans, P.E.