Carrboro reports its accomplishments

Aug. 25, 2013 @ 02:35 AM

The Town of Carrboro increased its bond rating, completed two sidewalk projects, cleaned up after a terrible wind storm and helped launch an airship, according to a Report to the Community that recognizes noteworthy achievements and milestones for 2012-2013.
The report, released last week, lists 12 pages of accomplishments that run from the mundane – 6,812 tons of trash collected – to the unusual – designing a project to install bike detection at signalized intersections.
As if it was not already well known, the community report reveals Carrboro’s emphasis on promoting walking and bicycling as a way to get around town.
The town completed issuance of $4.6 million sidewalk and greenway bonds that were approved in 2003. It completed sidewalk projects on Elm and Pine streets, bid out a sidewalk project on Davie Road, completed the Wilson Park Multi-Use Path, began designing the Rogers Road sidewalk project, installed bike racks on Main Street and developed plans for a bike corral.
A bike corral is a standard vehicle parking space along a street that is converted into a parking space for four to eight bicycles. Crews installed the bike corral Thursday across from Weaver Street Market.
Construction began on improving Smith Level Road, which will include sidewalks and bike lanes, and Carrboro held its first Open Streets Day for bicycles in April. It completed the design for the Homestead-Chapel Hill High School Multi-Use Path, received $40,000 from the N.C. Department of Transportation to improve safety for school kids coming and going from the McDougle schools, helped organize Walk and Bike to School Day, helped organize the 4th Bike Breakfast, and police watched and cited drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians at marked crosswalks.
Alderman Lydia Lavelle, who is running unopposed for mayor of Carrboro, said the town has been working with the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition, which created a master plan to improve safety and accessibility for bicyclists.
Main Street in front of the Town Hall and Looking Glass Café went on a diet as part of the bicycle plan.
“It restripes it so there’s a bike lane and more walkability,” Lavelle said.
Town Manager David Andrews said he was proud of the work the town staff did on the Hampton Inn Project, which will likely open this week, and the rebuilding of the PTA Thrift Shop, which is set to open in October.
The town also bought the parking lot next to the Open Eye Café, he said.
“That will address our long-term parking needs,” he said.
The town worked out an agreement with Main Street Properties to keep Fleet Feet in Carrboro. It has a store on East Main Street, and will open its headquarters in a building to be built where Seagroves Pottery was, he said.
“Our staff has really been working hard,” he said.
Lavelle also pointed out that the finance department came up with a way to retire some of the town’s debt early, which kept the town from having to increase taxes, Lavelle said.
“That was some really smart, forward thinking by our town,” she said.
The town’s debt rating increased by two grades each by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, according to the report.
The Planning and Zoning Department issued 319 commercial permits for additions, renovations and new construction totaling more than $6.1 million and 253 residential permits for additions, renovations or new construction totaling more than $20 million.
The Public Works Department collected 5,187 cubic yards of leaves, and resurfaced 3.61 miles of streets.
Fire and Rescue installed 257 child safety seats, tested and painted 1,174 fire hydrants and taught two safety classes for older adults. It responded to 1,517 calls for service.
And the airship? Carrboro coordinated three launches of the A.E. Bates Airship from Hank Anderson Park. The airship, owned by Greenpeace, flew around Chapel Hill and Carrboro with signs on it promoting clean energy.