AGENDA #14

 

MEMORANDUM

 

TO:                  Mayor and Town Council

 

FROM:            W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager

 

SUBJECT:      Streetscape Master Plan Review

 

DATE:            June 27, 2005

 

This report is a follow-up to the Councilís discussion at its May 23, 2005 meeting of future Streetscape improvement projects. Adoption of the attached resolution would establish a committee to review the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan adopted in 1993.

 

BACKGROUND

 

On April 25, the Town Council received a report on the Managerís recommendations for 2005 downtown improvement projects. At that meeting, the Council referred the Managerís recommendations to the Chapel Hill Downtown Economic Development Corporation, the Community Design Commission, the Historic District Commission, and the Public Arts Commission for their review and comment.

 

On May 11, Public Works Staff attended two meetings to receive comments from these groups. The first meeting was with the Chapel Hill Downtown Economic Development Corporation. The second meeting was a special meeting of the Community Design Commission to which members of the Historic District Commission, and the Public Arts Commission were also invited. The Downtown Commission was also notified of the special meeting of the Community Design Commission.† At these meetings the Town staff made a presentation that included a brief history of the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan project, before-and-after examples of completed projects, a summary of the Managerís three recommended improvement projects for 2005, and an overview of three other downtown sidewalk reconstruction projects that have not yet been completed.† Each group discussed the proposals and made recommendations to the staff.

 

On May 23 the recommendations of the citizen groups were forwarded to the Town Council along with further discussion by staff of the input received on May 11 and the Managerís revised recommended downtown improvement projects.

 

DISCUSSION

 

At the May 23 meeting, after consideration of the Managerís recommendations, the Council approved the following:

 

  1. Authorized the Manager to proceed with crosswalk upgrades at the intersections of Franklin Street and Columbia Street and at the mid-block crossing on East Franklin Street using imprinted asphalt and utilizing $50,000 in Streetscape funds;

 

Comment: Public Works Staff have identified a local contractor, met with Engineering staff, and consulted with NCDOT. We were informed of DOTís schedule to resurface Columbia Street in 2006; therefore, we recommend delaying improvements to crosswalks at the Columbia-Franklin Street intersection until summer 2006 after the resurfacing is complete. Preparations are being made for crosswalk improvements at the mid-block crosswalk on East Franklin Street at Porthole Alley. The work is tentatively scheduled for early August of this year.

 

  1. Directed the Manager to undertake a study of the custom street and pedestrian lighting installed downtown;

 

Comment: Public Works staff contracted with an electrical engineer who specializes in outdoor lighting to study the existing lighting. The study will include an analysis of the existing light conditions on the street and sidewalk, a comparison of the conditions to standards for comparable roadways and commercial areas, and recommendations to address any deficiencies identified. The results of the study will be presented to the Town Council in a future report.

 

  1. Directed the Manager to provide the Council a process for establishing a committee to review the 1993 Downtown Streetscape Master Plan. The Council directed that the review committee include members from each of the following Town advisory groups: Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, Community Design Commission, Planning Board, Public Arts Commission, and the Transportation Board. The Manager was also directed to involve the Downtown Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Business Alliance in the review process.

 

Comment: We recommend that the Council ask each of the five Town advisory groups to appoint two members each to represent their boardís interests in the Streetscape Master Plan review. We also recommend that the Council ask the Downtown Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Business Alliance to appoint one member each to the review committee.† We recommend that the review committee be asked to examine the 1993 Downtown Streetscape Master plan and make recommendations for revisions or additions that reflect changed downtown conditions since the Master Plan was originally adopted. We recommend that the review committee also be specifically asked to recommend implementation strategies for Rosemary Street.

 

We believe Public Works staff can provide background information to the committee, schedule meetings, conduct site visits downtown, and can assemble other maps and information as may be requested by the committee. We recommend that the process include at least one public forum to involve other groups and individuals with interests in downtown improvements, such as merchants and property owners. The Streetscape Review Committee will be asked to report to the Town Council prior to the Councilís consideration of future improvement projects.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

We recommend that the Council adopt the attached Resolution establishing a Streetscape Review Committee as described in this report.


A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING A STREETSCAPE MASTER PLAN REVIEW COMMITTEE (2005-06-27/R-27)

 

WHEREAS, the Town Council adopted the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan in November 1993 following a three-year process involving public input; and

 

WHEREAS, the Town Council on behalf of the citizens of Chapel Hill has established a record of funding and constructing downtown improvements based on the Streetscape Master Plan; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2003 the voters approved $2 million in bond funds to be used for additional Streetscape improvement projects; and

 

WHEREAS, the Council seeks to continue to enhance the downtown with improvements in the public right-of-way; and

 

WHEREAS, the Town Council has received a report from the Town Manager describing a process for establishing a review committee to propose recommendations for future implementation of Streetscape improvements;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council establishes a Streetscape Master Plan Review Committee as described in this report.

 

This the 27th day of June, 2005.