The saga about proposed improvements to Smith Level Road goes back over twenty years.  During the April 21, 2009 BOA meeting when we discussed Smith Level Road, a timeline of the back and forth with NCDOT was presented to educate those of us who have not been in Carrboro for this entire time.  To sum, the current status of the road is this:  DOT is ready to spend money on improvements to Smith Level Road, and has presented a plan to Carrboro which has been met with much disagreement.   Although the plan does include bike lanes and sidewalks (in the early years, DOT did not include these, so some advancement has been made), the plan starts with a four lane connection from 15-501 onto Smith Level Road for almost a mile.  It then crests on a hill where the road turns into a combination of three lanes and two lanes.  It then continues with a roundabout in front of Carrboro High School, past Ray Road, where the proposed improvements end.   Here is a story from The Daily Tar Heel about the evening that the BOA discussed the proposal by DOT on April 21, 2009:

 http://www.dailytarheel.com/news/city/aldermen-vote-to-widen-road-for-sidewalks-bikes-1.1726955

 In my view, the worst part about the proposal is the four lane section off of 15-501.  Admittedly, that area is not the most attractive now, but this would set the stage to encourage massive automobile use down this road.  The rest of the road improvements, which vary from two lanes to three lanes where turn lanes are suggested, are acceptable to me.  I have not heard enough about the roundabout to decide how I feel about this, although I will say that I drive through the roundabout at the end of Old Erwin Road in Durham every day and can tell how it has improved traffic safety at that intersection.  I know our citizens have concerns about the proposed roundabout on Smith Level Road because they are worried that it might actually be more unsafe for children walking to the high school.

 After discussion, the BOA voted 6-1 to reject the plan, and to instead ask DOT to improve Smith Level Road with bike lanes and sidewalks.  Mayor Mark Chilton voted in favor of the plan, acknowledging that while it was not the total preferred plan, being able to get the bike lanes and sidewalks would be a marked improvement over the current unsafe conditions.  Speaking for myself, I understood and agreed somewhat with the rationale of Mark’s argument, but decided ultimately to vote with the rest of the BOA to try to get what we wanted.