Chapel Hill Prepares for Historic Final Four Showdown! Be Mindful of Transportation & Parking!

The Town of Chapel Hill is preparing for a historic matchup between UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Franklin Street UNC Victory 030522

The Town of Chapel Hill is preparing for a historic matchup between UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. For the first time ever, the No. 8 Tar Heels will face the No. 2 Blue Devils in the Final Four. The game starts at 8:49 p.m. Saturday, April 2.

The Town has extensive experience managing the excitement that a big Tar Heel victory brings to Franklin Street and our community is nationally known for our large post-game celebrations.

Chapel Hill’s Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Public Works, Parking Services, Parks Maintenance, and other departments are planning a coordinated response to a possible victory celebration. Safety measures include additional public safety personnel downtown Saturday and traffic diversion plans to reduce vehicles in and around the event area.

Ditch the Bonfires and Fireworks

The Town takes many steps to enhance safety at such events, but we need your help. Bonfires and fireworks on Franklin Street are extremely dangerous.

During previous celebrations, the Chapel Hill Fire Department and Orange County Emergency Services have responded to injuries that have resulted from the presence of bonfires.  And, the UNC Jaycee Burn Center and UNC Campus Health have treated the severe, life-changing injuries that have occurred.

In recent years, revelers have launched celebratory fireworks during these events, which are illegal in North Carolina and which are particularly dangerous in and around tightly-packed crowds.

Watch: Andrew Madlon’s story

Watch: Blake Tedder’s story

Prohibited Items

Chapel Hill ordinances and North Carolina statutes prohibit the following items in the celebratory crowd and immediate-surrounding area:

  • Weapons of any kind
  • Fireworks and explosives
  • Flammable substances
  • Furniture
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass bottles
  • Coolers
  • Paint
  • Animals

Getting Downtown Saturday

Downtown Chapel Hill will be extremely busy Saturday evening. Plan ahead if you want to experience the game downtown. In anticipation of a UNC win, signage will be in place, notifying drivers that parking is not allowed in street closure areas.

  • The Town will begin restricting parking at 1 p.m. Saturday
  • The Town will begin towing cars at 6 p.m. Saturday

If your car is towed you can reach the Chapel Hill Police Department after hours by calling Orange County’s non-emergency number: 919-732-5063.

If UNC wins, the Franklin/Columbia streets intersection and nearby roads will be closed to motor-vehicle traffic and it will be nearly impossible to get downtown except on foot. Please plan accordingly and note the items above that will be prohibited within the closed event area.

In the event of road closures Chapel Hill Transit Safe Ride routes will be delayed until streets are reopened. Most Saturday Transit routes end by 7:15 p.m. and remain on their regular routes and schedules.

Our local businesses appreciate the support of Tar Heel fans. Chapel Hill Fire Department staff will be performing safety checks at downtown businesses to make sure capacity limits are followed and the Chapel Hill Police Department will watch for alcohol violations.

Follow the Town of Chapel Hill on Facebook and Twitter for timely updates.

Chapel Hill Transit Restores Trips On CW & CM Routes Monday

HIRING BUS OPERATORSChapel Hill Transit will restore several trips to the CW and CM routes beginning Monday, March 28.

Staff at Chapel Hill Transit reduced service on several routes January 10 amidst the unprecedented numbers of daily call outs due to safety protocols related to COVID-19 and other illnesses. “The number of call outs has decreased, though they haven’t returned to normal levels. We feel comfortable adding back some of the services we had to stop,” according to Nick Pittman, transit planning manager. “We know these service changes impacted a lot of customers, and we’re excited to be able to begin returning service to our community members.”

Customers can view the updated schedules on the All Routes & Schedules page.

The CW route will begin running the following trips:

  • Departing from Old Fayetteville Road at NC 54
    • 7:40 a.m.
    • 8 a.m.
    • 8:40 a.m.
    • 9 a.m.
    • 3:50 p.m.
    • 4:50 p.m.
    • 5:50 p.m.

The CM route will begin running the following trips

  • Departing from Jones Ferry Park and Ride
    • 7:15 a.m.
    • 7:45 a.m.
    • 8:20 a.m.
    • 8:50 a.m.
    • 3:20 p.m.
    • 3:50 p.m.
    • 4:25 p.m.

“As our team members become less and less impacted by COVID-19 and other issues that prevent them from coming into work, we look forward to bringing back more and more of our service,” says Jeffrey Sullivan, community outreach manager. “Please continue to be patient with our team and follow COVID-19 safety protocols on our buses, including wearing a mask over your nose and mouth while on the bus.”


Chapel Hill Transit Spring Break Service Changes

Chapel Hill Transit will adjust some routes schedules March 11-19 for UNC Chapel Hill’s spring break.

Chapel Hill Transit will adjust some routes schedules March 11-19 for UNC Chapel Hill’s spring break.

Chapel Hill Transit will not run trips of the NU Route that start after 6:30 p.m. and will not run the Safe Ride routes during UNC Chapel Hill’s spring break March 11-19.

The following trips of the NU route leaving the RR lot will not run from Saturday, March 12 through Saturday, March 19.

  • 6:35 p.m.
  • 7:00 p.m.
  • 7:40 p.m.
  • 8:20 p.m.
  • 9:00 p.m.
  • 9:40 p.m.
  • 10:20 p.m.

The Safe Ride routes will not run on the following days.

  • Thursday, March 10
  • Friday, March 11
  • Saturday, March 12
  • Thursday, March 17
  • Friday, March 18
  • Saturday, March 19

Chapel Hill Police Plan Enhanced Traffic-Safety Initiatives in March

The Chapel Hill Police Department is planning an enhanced number of pedestrian safety enforcement operations this month, in addition to normal patrols.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is planning an enhanced number of pedestrian safety enforcement operations this month, in addition to normal patrols. In February, the Department conducted 60 operations in an intensified effort to keep pedestrians safe. Officers cited a dozen drivers for various offenses. Scheduled special operations in March include – but are not limited to – the following dates:

  • Friday, March 4, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 10, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Sunday, March 13, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday, March 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 23, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, March 25, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 31, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

Each effort will focus on areas with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including downtown, and mid-block crosswalks (ex. along the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Estes Drive corridors). We encourage everyone traveling, regardless of your mode of transportation, to remember that community safety is a shared responsibility.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is also planning three speed enforcement operations in March – in addition to normal patrols – with the main goal of improving safety for everyone who shares roads.

  • Tuesday, March 8,  11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 15, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

*Dates and times are subject to change

Please use the following tips to improve safety for everyone on and near the roads:

  • Limit distractions
  • Phones down; eyes up (this is true for people driving, walking, riding a bike, and rolling)
  • Keep your music at an appropriate level to hear what’s happening outside your car or around you
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks 
  • State law says all vehicles must yield to pedestrians once they have safely entered a crosswalk
  • Please use designated crosswalks to cross roads
  • Walk against traffic; ride with traffic 
  • People walking who don’t have access to sidewalks should walk in the opposite direction as traffic
  • People riding bicycles should ride in a bike lane or in the same direction as traffic if there isn’t a designated path
  • Bicycles are permitted to ride on the sidewalk except downtown (Franklin and Rosemary streets). Bicycles are permitted on sidewalks along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard outside the Chapel Hill Police Department as long as they are going in the same direction as traffic.

The Town will utilize its variable message sign (VMS) boards throughout Town to alert people driving of the events as well as encouraging them to limit distractions and watch out for people walking and people riding their bikes.

Vision Zero

On October 13, 2021, Chapel Hill’s Town Council adopted a Vision Zero Resolution, which states that traffic injuries and deaths are not inevitable “accidents” but preventable crashes and commits to eliminating them on Chapel Hill streets. View the resolution here.