The Town of Elon is studying how to improve the safety and multi-modal connectivity of the portions of East and West Haggard Avenues within its jurisdiction that together form a primary east/west route through Elon’s downtown, connecting the City of Burlington to the east and the Town of Gibsonville to the west.
The Town of Elon recently adopted its new Future Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Envision Elon 2040) and continues to work on the Elon Land Management Ordinance (LMO) project, which will replace Elon’s current Land Development Ordinance (LDO) with a new set of development regulations intended to implement the Envision Plan.
As described in Envision, improving the western and eastern gateways into the Town along Haggard Avenue are high priorities for improvement, as they make a first impression and shape visitor’s image of the Town. “Streetscape, public art, and wayfinding signage are among the elements that contribute to creating a welcoming experience” at these gateways, as noted in the Plan.
Conducting a Haggard Avenue Corridor Study was identified as a Top 6 Priority Action Step in the Envision Elon 2040 Plan, to “create a safe, comfortable environment for pedestrians and cyclists along Haggard Avenue with streetscape improvements and a better development edge.” This project therefore implements Recommendation Item IS-4.2 from this Plan, which states:
“An examination of this road corridor that links the Town of Elon to Gibsonville and Burlington will help define on a segment-by-segment basis ways to introduce safe bike and pedestrian connections, enhance the streetscape, better manage vehicular circulation, and improve the relationship of adjacent development to the street to create a highly accessible and safe place to live, work, dine, or shop.”
East Haggard Avenue (SR 1455) and West Haggard Avenue (SR 1454) are minor arterial roadways with 2-3 lanes and posted speed limits ranging from 25 to 35 mph, that together form a primary east/west route through Elon’s downtown, connecting the City of Burlington to the east and the Town of Gibsonville to the west, as shown on the Project Vicinity Map. E. Haggard Avenue (SR 1454) between N. Williamson Avenue (SR 1301) and NC 87/100, serves as a major thoroughfare for access to Elon University, the old Elon Elementary School, and various local businesses. W. Haggard Avenue (SR 1454) between N. Williamson Avenue (SR 1301) and University Drive (NC 100)/Burlington Avenue serves as a major thoroughfare for access to Downtown Elon, Elon University, and various local businesses.
The complete project area includes the entire length of E. and W. Haggard Avenues in the Town of Elon’s jurisdiction (approximately 2.65 miles). However, to facilitate detailed study, it has been divided into three separate project Phases, with only Phase 1 underway at this time. The three different project phases are shown on the Haggard Avenue Study Phases Map, and described below:
- Phase 1 – Antioch Avenue to York Road (0.75 miles) – CURRENT STUDY
- Phase 2 – Western Gateway – Antioch Avenue west to University Drive/Burlington Avenue (1.1 miles) – Future Study
- Phase 3 – Eastern Gateway – York Road east to University Drive/Webb Avenue (0.75 miles) – Future Study
Two main elements will be produced for each Project Phase, including a Unified Corridor Plan and Vision as well as a supporting Corridor Overlay Zoning District and Map. Together, these items meet the following project goals:
- Evaluate the potential for reducing the 3-lane section(s) to 2-lanes
- Investigate opportunities for additional on-street parking in and near Elon’s downtown core
- Improve multi-modal access, uses and connectivity (especially bicycles)
- Calm traffic and include complete street elements
- Improve safety for all users
The Unified Corridor Plan will contain Schematic Roadway and Streetscape Designs that follow a consistent theme and provide street level amenities that are user-focused, contextual, functional and integrated.
The Corridor Overlay Zoning District recommendations and proposed Map will be provided to the Town’s LMO consultant and include permitted land use, landscaping, setback, building form/massing, lighting, ingress/egress, and signage development standards.
SCHEDULE / PROJECT UPDATES
To date, the following tasks have been completed:
- March 2020 – Town of Elon issued Project RFP to hire consultant
- June 2020 – SEPI Engineering and Construction, Inc. is hired by the Town
- July 27, 2020 – Stakeholder Committee* Meeting #1 is held virtually
- September 10, 2020 – Public Input Meeting #1 held virtually. Comments were provided through an online form.
- October 8, 2020 – Title VI Compliance – Environmental Justice and Demographic Data Assessment
- November 16, 2020 – Stakeholder Committee Design Charette
- January 2021 – Draft Plan Submitted to Town/Stakeholder Committee
- March 4, 2021 – Virtual Public Meeting #2
Upcoming & Future Tasks include the following:
- May 2021 – Plan presented to Board of Aldermen
*Haggard Corridor Stakeholder Committee is led by the Town of Elon Planning Department and SEPI Inc., and consists of representatives from the Town of Elon (Downtown Development and Public Works), Elon University, City of Burlington, Town of Gibsonville, Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC), Burlington Graham MPO, NCDOT and several citizens representing bicycle and pedestrian users.