Report: UNC's Carolina North will double traffic

Staff writerMay 5, 2009 

Fifteen years from now, the future Carolina North campus will nearly double the traffic on the roads that feed it, according to a draft analysis released Tuesday.

Right now, approximately 40,000 vehicles travel Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive every day. By 2025, 40,000 more will enter or leave the campus, and MLK Jr. Boulevard will exceed capacity by 2015 because of the new traffic, says the analysis prepared by consultants at Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc.

By 2025, parts of Estes and Eubanks Road will see traffic volume more than twice capacity, unless those roads are widened or traffic is diverted elsewhere.

The study says MLK Jr. Boulevard northbound will need an additional left turn lane onto Estes Drive Extension by 2015. By 2025, “many more intersections may need signal timing adjustments and turn lane additions to maintain their level-of-service,” the report states. “More extensive reconstruction may also be needed of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive in the immediate vicinity of the site.”

More than a dozen intersections along MLK, Homestead Road, Greensboro Street in Carrboro, Columbia Street, Estes Drive and U.S. 15-501 already have poor levels of service, according to the study. With the new traffic as of 2015, others would reduce their levels to E or F, the lowest two grades. They include: - MLK at I-40 - MLK at Weaver Dairy Road - MLK at Piney Mountain Road - MLK at Estes Drive - North Greensboro at Weaver Street - Estes Drive at Caswell Road - Estes Drive at East Franklin Street

By 2025, more than 20 additional intersections would have poor levels of service, as far west as the Calvander community on Old N.C. 86.

Carolina North traffic may also trigger a need for signal lights at Homestead and Rogers roads and at Estes Drive Extension and Airport Drive.

The draft analysis called for new sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, bus stops and bike lanes to serve the campus.

“The redesign of major roads adjacent to the site will need to account for these sidewalk and pedestrian crossing needs,” it says.

Chapel Hill Transit will require one or two more buses by 2015 and at least 10 by 2025, according to the analysis.

“The cost for operating these initial vehicles should be borne by the project,” states the report.

The study suggested potential traffic-calming measures to discourage cut-through traffic on and near the following streets: - Piney Mountain Road - Hillsborough Street (Chapel Hill) - Seawell School Road - North Elliott Road - North Lakeshore Drive - Barclay Road - Northwood Road

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