Travel Safety Initiatives
We want everyone to travel safely in Chapel Hill. The Police Department and area partners will continue speed enforcement and Watch for Me N.C. initiatives throughout the month of February. These initiatives are an effort to continue to preserve and enhance a safe community in which to travel, whether on two wheels, four wheels, two feet, or other methods.
Watch For Me N.C. is a statewide safety initiative designed to improve relationships on roads between people who drive, people who walk, people who roll and people who bike. People may receive helpful information, warnings, and in some cases, tickets for violations during these initiatives.
The Chapel Hill Police Department is taking additional steps to encourage safety among all travelers of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and throughout the community. You may notice an enhanced police presence along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Watch For Me N.C. travel-safety initiative scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27, is being moved from South Columbia Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. You will also notice temporary digital signs along the road to encourage safe-travel behaviors.
Tree Replacement: Franklin Street at Columbia Street
A large tree at the southwest corner of the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets (in front of University Baptist Church) is in poor health and is scheduled to be replaced.
The Town’s arborist has been monitoring the tree and has found that it is hollow, posing a potential hazard to people in the area if it is not removed. The decline in the tree’s health is due to storm damage and disease over the tree’s lifetime, which is estimated to be more than 80 years.
Town crews are scheduled to remove the tree the week of April 10. During the removal of the tree, the right lane of eastbound West Franklin Street (traveling from Carolina Square toward the University) will be closed in front of the church.
The replacement tree will be a species native to North Carolina. It will be planted in the fall, giving it the greatest chance to thrive.
Town staff reached out to staff at University Baptist Church about the replacement and learned that the church took steps in the past to try to prolong the life of the tree. When the sidewalk that is currently in place between Franklin Street and the church was installed, with the assistance of tree professionals, the tree roots were carefully exposed, cleaned and wrapped with a protective cover in order to help the tree thrive.
The Town of Chapel Hill, which has a strong commitment to sustainability and interest in decreasing the urban “heat-island” effect, regrets when trees must be replaced. Our Tree Protection Ordinance identifies tree canopy as an important community value. We are proud that this year marks our 18th year as a Tree City, a designation from the national Arbor Day Foundation. Visit our Trees webpage at townofchapelhill.org/trees.
For more information, contact Park Maintenance Superintendent Kevin Robinson at 919-969-5104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.