Thursday, April 5, 2012

University Presents Transportation Updates to the Town of Chapel Hill

The University’s 2011 transportation report to the Town of Chapel Hill outlines trends and traffic mitigation measures on main campus and in adjacent neighborhoods.
Council Meeting Summary
 Posted Date: 3/26/2012

The Chapel Hill Town Council met Monday, March 26, in Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., to consider an agenda that includes the following highlights. This brief summary is sent immediately following the public hearing. It does not include petitions to the Council and should not be viewed as official minutes. Council meetings are replayed on Chapel Hill TV18 at 9 a.m. Tuesday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They also are available via streaming video at The full agenda is available at or by contacting Communications and Public Affairs at 919-968-2743 or

Ordinance to Prohibit Use of Cell Phones by Motor Vehicle Operators 18 Years or Older: The Town Council enacted an ordinance to prohibit the use of hand-held and hands-free cell phones by drivers 18 and older. It will take effect June 1, 2012. Police will not stop drivers soley for talking on cell phones, but for violating other driving laws, such as speeding. The secondary offense of talking on a cell phone while driving will carry a fine of $25. The ordinance is the first of its kind in North Carolina. The State Statute on use of mobile phones by persons under the age of 18 prohibits both handheld and hands-free use. Texting while driving is prohibited by State law for all drivers. The Council requested plans for an education program including information signage at Chapel Hill Town limits.
Update on Chapel Hill 2020: The Chapel Hill 2020 planning process is moving into the review and refinement stage with the first of draft of the new comprehensive plan prepared and provided to the public for feedback. See The Council considered a report from Town Manager Roger Stancil that provided an update on activities and a calendar of events leading to Council consideration of adoption of the Plan in June. A number of people who have been involved in the process as stakeholders spoke to the Council to share their concerns and suggestions for improving the process.

Tree Protection Ordinance One Year Update: Revisions to the Town's Tree Protection Ordinance were enacted by the Town Council on December 6, 2010, with an effective date of March 1, 2011. A key provision of the revised Ordinance was a requirement for minimum tree canopy coverage for all developments subject to the Town's Special Use Permit requirements that are located outside of the Town Center Zoning Districts. During the first year of administering revisions to the Town's Tree Protection Ordinance, staff have not identified specific issues with the Ordinance revisions that would appear to require Council action at this time.

NC 54/I-40 Corridor Study Transportation Land Use Master Plan: The study was prepared by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization in coordination with the Town of Chapel Hill and City of Durham. The NC 54/I-40 Corridor Study includes a series of recommended transportation improvements. The recommendations include transit, pedestrian, bicycle and roadway improvements. The implementation of the overall program of transportation improvements is intended to be phased, thereby allowing for modifications if anticipated conditions within the corridor, such as projected development or increased traffic volumes, change.

2011 University of North Carolina Annual Development Plan Report on Transportation for Main Campus: University staff members provided a report that discusses changes in transportation issues associated with the Development Plan, mitigation measures and recommendations including existing and proposed traffic calming measures on the main campus and in adjacent neighborhoods. In accordance with the above requirements, the University submitted the 2011 annual Transportation report in December of last year.

The Town staff reviewed the 2011 report and agrees that it is prepared in accordance with the approved guidelines. Staff noted that a new traffic signal is under construction at the intersection of East Drive and Mason Farm Road. This traffic signal includes pedestrian crosswalks, countdown heads, and bicycle activated loops. Several residents expressed concern over vehicular speeds on Ransom Street and McCauley Street. Per the Town request, the University collected vehicular and speed data on both streets.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Main Campus Development Report: University/Hospital staff presented a report reviewing the status of development under construction, and previewing campus projects that are planned. The report stems from a 2005 Council request that representatives from the University participate in semi-annual meetings to provide the Council with updates on University development activity.

OWASA/Draft Drought Response Operating Protocol: The Council has been considering changes to the Water and Sewer Management, Planning and Boundary Agreement proposed by OWASA, Hillsborough, and Orange County. The key topic of discussion has been OWASA's Jordan Lake Water Supply Allocation. The Council provided feedback on the Draft Drought Response Operating Protocol. The protocol describes the procedures and criteria OWASA will use for making water supply and demand management decisions during drought, water purchases, and/or use of OWASA's Jordan Lake water supply allocation.

Opposition to Hydraulic Fracturing Otherwise Known as "Fracking": The Council passed a resolution to voice its opposition, absent guaranteed public health and environmental protections, to the natural gas extraction technique known as "fracking" which relies on chemicals and water at extreme pressure to release natural gas from deep underground.