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Executive Summary

This initial Transportation Impact Analysis for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Development Plan is being submitted to the Town in accordance with the requirements of the Town of Chapel Hill’s Office/lnstitutional-4 (01-4) Zoning District regulations. The purpose of this initial analysis, and subsequent updates, is to provide an assessment of the transportation implications of the Development Plan and develop mitigation measures to address any impacts. Transportation elements addressed include automobile traffic, transit, parking, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and associated air quality issues.

The Development Plan projects will add approximately 5.9 million gross square feet of new development to the campus. Some of this new area is required to address current space deficits. The net increase in new occupiable floor area for the Development Plan is approximately 3.6 million square feet, or an estimated 35 percent increase over existing occupiable floor area. There is also an anticipated increase in employee growth of 35 percent. Students are expected to grow by 13 percent to just under 30,000.

The Development Plan will permanently displace 3,811 existing surface spaces, and add 5,361 new spaces to Main Campus. The net parking impact of the proposed Development Plan is an increase of 1,550 spaces. Of these, 1,398 are for patients/visitors, 421 are for employees, and there is a net loss of 239 for resident students.

When the growth in employees and students is taken into account, the following Main Campus parking “shortfalls” are projected to occur with implementation of the Development Plan (shortfall is defined as the difference between the amount of Main Campus parking that would be required if parking continued to be provided at current rates, and the amount that will be actually provided):

  • 2,675 employee spaces
  • 39 commuting student spaces
  • 502 resident student spaces

The resident student parking will be accommodated in storage parking. Therefore the total number of commuters that must be diverted to alternatives modes is 2,715. The analysis described in this report has projected that these commuters will use the following modes in lieu of driving and parking on Main Campus:

Modes of Transportation and Commuters
Mode of Transportation Commuters
Chapel Hill Transit 1,500
Regional transit 250
Ridesharing 150
Park-and-ride 815
Total 2,715

Future visitor parking needs are accommodated in the Plan, and take priority over other groups.

Other strategies that are being pursued include increased teleworking, cycling, and walking. It is important to note that the University has budgeted and advertised for a fulltime Transportation Demand Management (TOM) coordinator. The role of this person, expected to be on board by Fall 2001, will be to promote and assist employees in learning about and using alternative modes.

In addition to addressing the commuting needs of employees and students, these strategies will also help reduce traffic congestion on Main Campus and reduce exhaust emissions.

An analysis of roadway intersections on or near Main Campus that may be impacted by the Development Plan was also undertaken for existing conditions, and year 2010 with and without the Development Plan (No-Build and Build conditions respectively), per the Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines.

Some of the intersection traffic count data used in the analysis are almost ten years old. Therefore the accuracy of the 2010 projections is somewhat questionable. Conclusions regarding improvements to intersections should wait until completion of the first update of the Transportation Impact Analysis, which will utilize current data to be collected in the fall.

The analysis showed that conditions at several intersections that are suffering poor levels of service in 2001 will deteriorate further in 2010 as a result of growth in background traffic unrelated to the Development Plan. While the Development Plan will not significantly increase Main Campus parking, the location of some of the planned parking decks will add traffic to some intersections, causing congestion to increase at these locations.

Geometric improvements could be considered at several intersections even without the Development Plan. In addition, signal timing and phasing modifications may be appropriate at some intersections, but should be based on the analyses that will be undertaken with current counts later this year.