Author Archives: dra1962

Developers also ask for small area study for Estes-MLK area

Members of the Estes Neighbors Coalition have been asking the town to implement a small area study for the Estes-MLK area (the MLK South future focus area, with specific parameters yet to be determined).  On June 6, several neighbors met with the town’s planning staff to discuss these issues.  At that meeting, we learned that Scott Radway, on behalf of the developers of the Carolina Flats proposal, has already contacted the town to request a small area study — but an accelerated process that would consist of 3-4 meetings and be completed by September 2012.  (The developer’s proposal is at  2012-06-01 Estes-MLK Study Proposal.) Estes Neighbors has asked the Town for studies of the area to be conducted at deliberate pace, beginning in the fall of 2012, with broad participation from all relevant stakeholders.  While we are pleased that the developers have expressed an understanding of the need for good communication, we will emphasize that this process must be guided by a focus on the larger good of the town and community, and cannot be rushed to serve the interests of one group.

It is rare indeed when all parties, the neighbors, the Town and the developers agree a conceptual planning process is needed. It is our hope that everyone involved in this planning process will be willing to take the time to do it right.

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Development scenarios for the South MLK area

Here are the maps developed by the town’s consultant regarding scenarios for development in the South MLK area (from Homestead Rd. to downtown).

South-MLK-future-focus-scenarios

They include a base map and the following three scenarios:

1. Incremental growth: This includes high-density residential development along Estes from MLK toward Somerset, with one new road from Estes into that development.

2. Modest redevelopment: This includes low-density commercial/office and high-density residential development along Estes all the way to Phillips Middle School (including new roadway access from Estes).  It also includes high-density residential development behind the offices on MLK north of Mt. Bolus Road that would extend toward (but not connect to) Caswell Drive, with a new entry road from MLK.

3. Transit-oriented growth: Same as #2 for the Estes and Mt. Bolus areas.

Any of these options will have major consequences for traffic flows, pedestrian safety, and environmental quality in the area and beyond.  Please take a look and help us to convince the town council that any development projects along these lines should not be undertaken without substantive, sustained input from local residents and others affected by the potential changes.

The complete set of future focus scenario maps for the town of Chapel Hill can be found at http://2020buzz.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/all-future-focus-scenariossmall.pdf.  The maps for South MLK are the last four in the set.

Chapel Hill Development Activity Map and Report

Here are the town’s Development Activity Report and Development Activity Map (GIS). The map in particular is very useful.

Development Activity Report

Development Activity Map

NCDOT projects involving Estes Drive

From a neighbor, regarding NCDOT projects involving Estes Road:

I have found not only the listing of three Estes Drive projects on the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) site:

http://www.ncdot.org/projects/search/#t=1780

but also a listing of the priority given to these projects when they were submitted to the Dept. of Transportation by our Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO). [I was not even aware that that there is such a group, but apparently, according to Wikipedia, a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is a federally mandated (and funded) transportation policy-making organization in the United States that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities (for any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000)]. In any case, our area MPO – DCHC MPO — apparently rates various highway projects from our Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro area.

Here’s the status for the three Estes Drive projects (last rated by our Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO on October 26, 2011). First, the roundabout at Estes and Greensboro Street was ranked #53 by our DCHC MPO and was not funded by the NCDOT and is to be rescheduled for reprioritization. Second, the widening of Estes between Greensboro Street and MLK to add bike lanes, sidewalks and transit accommodations was ranked #1 by our DCHC MPO and was costed out at $2,197,000 but was not funded and is to reprioritized. Third, and of greatest interest to many of us, is the project Dan reported in his email: the widening of the existing Estes roadway between MLK and Caswell to include two 12-foot lanes, four-foot bicycle lanes and sidewalks. This project got a ranking of #25 by our DCHC MPO and was not funded by the NCDOT and is, as the other two Estes Road projects, to be reprioritized. [I’m not clear about when that process will occur.]

So the widening of Estes along the proposed Carolina Flats development is on the planning list but apparently off in the future. However, it does sound like the widening of Estes between Greensboro Street and MLK is not too far off.  The two documents which outline all area projects – bicycle and pedestrian as well as highway are:

1. NC-DOT Document (Highway Projects in the SPOT Database

2. DCHC MPO Regional Prioritization Methology 2011-10-26

I am not sure if the widening of Estes between MLK and Caswell – apparently a two-lane, not a four-lane effort – will require added land on one or both sides of the current road; its also not clear which end of Caswell is the end of the project. This project would make only one significant change — the adding of bike lanes — along with a second sidewalk.

 

Carolina Flats application files and concept drawings

Here are the Concept Plan Application and Concept Plan Drawings for the Carolina Flats @ Estes proposal.  The project description states that it is “Proposed rezoning to MU-V for a 590 multi-family student housing community and a 125-145 room/suites hotel.”  The application includes a map and photos of the site and surrounding areas.  Note that the drawings envision vehicular access from Estes as well as from MLK.

These are large files, so they may take some time to load.

Carolina Flats Concept Plan Application

Carolina Flats Exhibit Files (Concept Plan drawings)

Estes Neighbors has moved!

We reach out to all citizens living and working near Estes Drive, now called the Central West Focus Area, Our new site is called Central West Citizens.

                           Please move to our new website for up to date content.

Google map