Carrboro Linear Parks Project

Let's build something great in Carrboro.

Urban green spaces are associated with improved physical and mental well-being, community cohesion and connection, and improved access to nature within populated areas. Planning for a comprehensive linear park system in Carrboro has been underway since at least the 1980s. For decades, community members along with Town staff have worked towards connecting people who live in far north Carrboro to the very southern tip via a network of off-road multi-use trails, which can also be described as linear parks. The Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan states:

All people in Carrboro, of all races and backgrounds, will have safe and equitable access to recreational and cultural opportunities, including a connected network of parks, green space, and trails.

The Carrboro Linear Parks Project (CLPP) was founded in order to advance the discussion around expanding and connecting an accessible linear park network in Carrboro.

There is much more to come in terms of where this website will take you. For now, we start at the beginning, with the long history of planning for connected greenways, linear parks, and multi-use trails in Carrboro.

What is a linear park?

Typically, a linear park is a park that runs along, under, or over a public right-of-way. A greenway or rails-to-trails path can be considered a linear park. Utility easements, which often run along creeks or through neighborhoods, can also provide space for linear parks. The High Line in New York City, where a park was constructed on a decommissioned elevated rail track, is probably the best known linear park in the United States. Hillsborough's River Walk is an excellent local example of a linear park.

What opportunities exist in Carrboro for linear parks?

  • The Bolin Creek Greenway and the Morgan Creek Greenways have long been envisioned as the two main spines of a network that could be expanded to reach many corners of town.

  • In Carrboro, in addition to some existing and planned trails, there are several unofficial green spaces that are enjoyed by those residents who know about them and feel confident navigating the sometimes forbidding terrain and unmarked access points. In many instances, this is public land that could function not only as utility corridors but as areas for access to green space.

  • Co-locating greenway trails with existing utility easements is an efficient use of land, which ensures improved stewardship of the easement environment, provides equitable access to public land for residents and protects the natural area from damage due to unmanaged recreational activities. See more at Rails to Trails.

  • The existing OWASA sewer easement along Bolin Creek, which runs from north of Homestead Road and continues south behind Chapel Hill High School, Smith Middle School to Estes Drive, represents a good opportunity for the town to construct a linear park. The easement is wide, the area is already very popular with those that are aware of it, and treating this area with greater care would also provide valuable opportunities for stream restoration.

  • The Morgan Creek trail, which is currently in the planning stages, takes advantage of multiple existing easements. The land at the western terminus of the future linear park will connect with land surrounding University Lake, which is a vast public green space and recreational area in Carrboro. There are several well-defined mountain bike trails in this area already, and OWASA maintains seasonal boat rentals on the Lake itself.

What are the possibilities?

We can link to Existing Parks

    • Wilson Park

    • Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Park

    • Umstead Park (Chapel Hill)

    • Twin Creeks Park (planned)

    • Southern Village Community Park (Chapel Hill)

We can link to Existing Trails

    • Homestead-Chapel Hill High School Greenway

    • Jones Creek Greenway

    • Tanyard Branch Trail (Chapel Hill)

    • Bolin Creek Greenway (Chapel Hill)

    • Morgan Creek Greenway (Chapel Hill)

    • Fan Branch Trail (Chapel Hill)

We can link People to Schools

    • Chapel Hill High School

    • Smith Middle School

    • Seawell Elementary

    • Carrboro High School

    • Morris Grove Elementary

    • and more

We can link several neighborhoods to downtown Carrboro and Chapel Hill

    • Affordable housing developments such as (planned) Jay St. to Chapel Hill's Tanyard Branch Trail

    • Lake Hogan Farms via Winmore under Homestead and all the way to Estes Dr, or Bolin Creek Trail in Chapel Hill

    • Areas south of 54 to downtown Carrboro and points north.

Want to be part of the carrboro linear parks movement?

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