TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager
SUBJECT: Recommended 2003 Streetscape Construction Project
DATE: February 10, 2003
Adoption of the attached resolution would authorize the Town Manager to:
On November 22, 1993, the Town Council approved the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan. Since that time, construction projects totaling 2690 linear feet have been completed by Public Works crews. In addition to improvements constructed by Public Works crews, private developers and Orange County have installed several sections of improvements in conjunction with new construction and the renovation of existing downtown buildings. A map of the Streetscape study area indicating where improvements have been completed is included in the attachments (Attachment 1).
In 1996, $1,000,000 in Streets and Sidewalks bonds were approved for Streetscape improvements. Of this $1,000,000, approximately $386,000 has been spent or encumbered for construction projects and an additional $292,000 has been allocated for lighting improvements as approved by the Town Council on November 11, 2002, leaving a balance of $322,000. If $150,000 is allocated for Streetscape construction in 2003, the remaining balance available for future work would be approximately $172,000. This balance would be adequate to construct at
least one additional section of improvements in 2004, and we recommend that a minimum of $150,000 be retained in the Streetscape account for this purpose.
In past years, we have provided the Council with several proposals detailing different locations where Streetscape improvements are needed and could be constructed using in-house labor during the summer construction season, between the University’s spring commencement and the beginning of the fall term in mid-August. This year’s report describes four sections that are each of a size that could be completed using primarily in-house labor between May 19 and August 26, 2003. The description of each proposal found in Attachments 2-5 is accompanied by a summary of advantages and disadvantages as well as approximate cost estimates for construction.
Recommended Project – South side of the 100 block of East Franklin Street from University United Methodist Church (150) to McCorkle Place at an estimated cost of $150,000.
A detailed description and preliminary design for this recommended section is included in the attachments (Attachment 2). We recommend construction of this section now because it would allow for installation of the underground conduit system necessary to complete lighting improvements in the 100 block of East Franklin Street. As described below, the new light locations in this area were included in Duke Power Company’s request for an encroachment agreement from NCDOT and the funding is in place to permit the extension of the lighting improvements proposed elsewhere in the 100 block of East Franklin Street into the project area. We also note that this project location would completely finish all Streetscape improvements within the 100 block of East Franklin Street and would provide another opportunity to enhance pedestrian safety with construction of a curb extension at the Henderson Street intersection.
Lighting Component – On November 12, 2002, Town staff requested that Duke Power Company negotiate an encroachment agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and proceed with the purchase and installation of new street and pedestrian level light fixtures in sections of the 100 block of East Franklin and North Columbia Streets. That request is currently being processed and Duke Power Company has informed the Town that the final cost of improvements is likely to be approximately 15% less than the $292,000 preliminary estimate provided to the Town in fall of 2002. We anticipate that approximately $40,000 of previously allocated funding will therefore be made available and we recommend that approximately $36,000 of it be allocated for a total of four new street and pedestrian lights being proposed as a part of the recommended project.
We note that the recommended project site is located adjacent to the area where lighting improvements have been requested from Duke Power Company and that the four light locations in the project area were included in Duke Power Company’s request to NCDOT for an encroachment agreement. If an alternative project location is selected by the Council, we recommend that this previously allocated $40,000 be retained in the Streetscape account for future use.
We believe that it would be more efficient if lighting improvements at these other project locations were delayed until a large contiguous area of improvements, including the necessary underground ductwork, is in place to support a lighting improvement project of a size that will have a significant impact on Downtown lighting levels. In discussions with NCDOT engineers, they have also indicated that in order to maintain a desirable overall lighting uniformity, lighting upgrades should be installed in large contiguous sections on both sides of a street rather than as smaller pockets of brighter lights on a single side. We also note that a lighting improvement project of this size (as recommended by NCDOT) will likely require funding significantly greater than what will be available once this year’s construction has been completed. We believe that future Capital Improvements Project funds and/or bond funding will likely be necessary to continue with lighting improvements in other Downtown areas.
Possible Alternative and/or Future Projects: In addition to providing information about the recommended project, the attachments include detailed descriptions and preliminary designs for three other locations where improvements are needed and that could be considered as alternative sites this year or as possible future projects. As discussed above, in these locations we do not recommend the installation of lighting improvements concurrent with Streetscape construction.
The three additional Streetscape projects described in the attachments are:
Possible Future Project 1 - South side of the 400 block of West Franklin Street from Kenan Street to the west side of Parking Lot #3 (Attachment 3) at an estimated cost of $96,000;
Possible Future Project 2 - South side of the 400 block of West Franklin Street from the former Chrysler dealership (419) to Roberson Street (Attachment 4) at an estimated cost of $94,000; and
Possible Future Project 3 - North side of the 500 and 600 blocks of West Franklin Street from Chapel Hill Tire to Crook’s Corner (Attachment 5) at an estimated cost of $106,000.
If directed by the Town Council, the staff could initiate more detailed design work for one of these possible future projects for primary consideration as a Streetscape construction project in 2004.
Public Art Component: As with the 2002 project, once a Streetscape construction option is selected, Public Works staff could meet with representatives of the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission and its staff to determine what type of public art could be included in the 2003 project. Adoption of the attached resolution would authorize the Town Manager to allocate 1% of the project budget to public art. The Public Arts Commission could recommend an alternative use of the funds to the Town Council.
We recommend that the Council approve the attached resolution authorizing the Town Manager to:
2. Recommended Project - description and preliminary plan for improvements to the south side of the 100 block of East Franklin Street from University United Methodist Church (150) to McCorkle Place (p. 7).
3. Possible Future Project 1 – description and preliminary plan for improvements to the south side of the 400 block of West Franklin Street from Kenan Street to the west side of Parking Lot #3 (p. 9).
4. Possible Future Project 2 – description and preliminary plan for improvements to the south side of the 400 block of West Franklin Street from the former Chrysler dealership (419) to Roberson Street (p. 12).
5. Possible Future Project 3 – description and preliminary plan for improvements to the north side of the 500 and 600 blocks of West Franklin Street from Chapel Hill Tire (502) to Crook’s Corner (610) (p. 14).
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE TOWN MANAGER TO PREPARE WORKING DRAWINGS FOR STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE 100 BLOCK OF EAST FRANKLIN STREET FROM UNIVERSTIY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (150) TO MCCORKLE PLACE; DISCUSS CONSTRUCTION PLANS WITH AFFECTED PROPOERTY OWNERS AND MERCHANTS; UTILIZE $150,000 OF STREETSCAPE BOND FUNDS FOR THE PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION; AND SCHEDULE CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN MAY 2003 (2003-02-10/R-4).
WHEREAS, the Town Council adopted the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan as part of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan; and
WHEREAS, $150,000 will be available in bond funding to implement a portion of the Streetscape Master Plan; and
WHEREAS, the Council has received a report from the Town Manager recommending that a section of Streetscape on the south side of the 100 block of East Franklin Street that is in poor condition be improved;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council authorizes the Town Manager to develop detailed working drawings for Streetscape improvements including lighting upgrades at the project location recommended in this report, discuss these improvements with affected merchants and property owners, and schedule construction to begin in May of 2003.
This the 10th day of February, 2003.