Creekside Paving Proposal

Update on Paving

In June 2016 the Board of Aldermen tasked the Carrboro Town staff to come back with a process for the public to give input to the locations for additional multi-use paths in Bolin Forest. Friends of Bolin Creek opposed the creekside route in 2009 and continues to do so in 2017. It’s our position that the Town can plan for new bike routes without putting pavement in riparian areas that would adversely affect the biodiversity of our creek and forest.

We’ve learned that the Board of Aldermen has recently endorsed a Mayor’s committee to consider how a public process might work.  After the committee completes its work, the Board of Aldermen will consider their recommendation some time this Spring. No one knows how long this process could take.

A 2003 baseline study financed by the State Ecosystem Enhancement Program and the EPA determined that the 400+ acre Bolin Forest was especially valuable and important to preserve in its natural state — a valuable forest that would be fragmented if the Town allows paving along the creek.  It was this baseline report that enabled the purchase of the 27 acre Adams tract later that same year using a Clean Water Act grant, as well as Orange County and Carrboro funds.

Background

In June 2016, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted to proceed with a public discussion about paving along Bolin Creek based on the controversial 2009 Bolin Creek Greenway Conceptual Plan proposal to place a paved greenway right next to Bolin Creek. The Conceptual Plan includes three possible route options, but recommended a route along Bolin Creek itself.  This option would mean a 30 feet wide clearing of a DOT “multi-use pathway” extending from the Homestead bridge through the Carolina North forest and P.H. Craig property, then skirting the west side of the Adams Preserve, and finally connecting to Estes Drive extension back of Ironwoods. The creekside route was tabled in 2009 because of citizen concerns about water quality, erosion to creek banks, and disruption of the creekside ecosystem.

At the same time, in 2009, Friends of Bolin Creek advocated for an alternate route along Seawell School Road which a year later received support from a Citizens’ Advisory group called the Carrboro Greenways Commission.

A major complicating factor is the part OWASA plays in this ongoing saga. The 2009 Bolin Creek Greenway Conceptual Plan recommended that the Town should not make the paving decision until OWASA replaces the existing sewer line (estimated date 2021). Also, the Conceptual Plan strongly suggested that OWASA should adopt a new alignment 50 feet back from Bolin Creek.

Read more about the controversy here…