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Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project

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There is a set of public meetings coming up on the Durham-Orange light rail next week:

 

According to the OurTransitFuture website, the meetings will be at the following dates/times/locations:

 

  • Tuesday, Nov. 18, 11:00 – 2:00 PM  Durham Station Transportation Center, 515 W Pettigrew St, Durham
  • Tuesday, Nov. 18, 4:00-7:00 PM    Friday Center, 100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19, 4:00 7:00 PM  SpringHill Suites,  5310 McFarland Dr, Durham (south of 15-501  between Mt. Moriah Rd. and SW Durham Drive)
  • Thursday, Nov. 20, 4:00-7:00 PM  Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham

 

 

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Sooo many elevated guideways!  This thing is going to cost a ton!  And I'm still trying to figure out who is going to ride this.

 

LRT makes so much more sense from Cary through downtown Raleigh to Millbrook Rd.  Or from Garner through downtown Raleigh to RTP.

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This is the secnd or third version of the flyover I have viewed. Each time I see it I am appalled by the poor quality of the route. It only touches a small sliver of Chapel Hill (and is essentially useless to any non-medical student), it is the least pedestrian frendly LRT I have ever seen (how many stations are either in the median of a busy throughfare or surrounded by massive park and ride lots?), few stations at existing multifamily areas (plus few stations where future TOD is possible), massive expense of elevated structures, etc. i do understand that planners need to minimize ROW costs but I think that goal has designed a virtually unusable system.

I am very pro transit (i am a regular rider of the blue line in Charlotte) and I grew up in this area, but honestly this plan looks disasterous to me. I really think Durham and Orange would be better served by local, street running, LRT / streetcar networks in each town connected wih a spine of robust, dedicated lane, BRT down 15-501.

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Thanks to the huge student population, this could surpass 25k in daily ridership easy. I must say that this is going to be insanely expensive with all the flyovers.

Edited by ricky_davis_fan_21

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Thanks to the huge student population, this could surpass 25k in daily ridership easy. I must say that this is going to be insanely expensive with all the flyovers.

 

But that is the problem, it essentially bypasses the primary student populations in both Chapel Hill and Durham.

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Agreed that there seem to be a lot of flyovers compared to most other light rail lines. I especially wonder why there seem to be a lot of flyovers that just go over parking lots like at Patterson Place or South Square. I also wonder whether the grade separation at West Cornwallis Road is necessary.

 

I think the route into Chapel Hill is OK, I don't see that much benefit of going through the University Mall area instead of Meadowmont/Glen Lennox. But I agree they are missing out by not extending further into Chapel Hill and on to Carrboro. There was a very high-level feasibility study that determined it could be done, by going on street along Columbia/Pittsboro. But I guess the money isn't  there. Orange's contribution from the sales tax is much smaller than Durham's. If I could magically wave my hands and take some money away from flyovers and put it towards a Franklin Street / Carrboro extension, I would, but there probably are reasons this won't work.

 

Erwin Road is definitely the right place for this to go on approach to central Durham. It would be nice to cut a bit closer to the center of Duke's campus, but you'd be hard pressed to find a viable route.

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This is the secnd or third version of the flyover I have viewed. Each time I see it I am appalled by the poor quality of the route. It only touches a small sliver of Chapel Hill (and is essentially useless to any non-medical student), it is the least pedestrian frendly LRT I have ever seen (how many stations are either in the median of a busy throughfare or surrounded by massive park and ride lots?), few stations at existing multifamily areas (plus few stations where future TOD is possible), massive expense of elevated structures, etc. i do understand that planners need to minimize ROW costs but I think that goal has designed a virtually unusable system.

I am very pro transit (i am a regular rider of the blue line in Charlotte) and I grew up in this area, but honestly this plan looks disasterous to me. I really think Durham and Orange would be better served by local, street running, LRT / streetcar networks in each town connected wih a spine of robust, dedicated lane, BRT down 15-501.

There are a tremendous number of people employed by both UNC Hostpitals and Duke Medical Center.  Parking at either site is incredibly limited and difficult.  It really isn't difficult seeing tons of support for the hospital employees alone for this plan.  It looks like there are roughtly 30,000 employees combined between the main Duke Hosptial, University, and research locations alone.  That number will surely be much higher in ten, twenty, thirty years.  Again, parking is limited as it is and seeing Duke and UNC incentivize the use of the rail line woudn't be a stretch at all. 

 

The question about being in too many major roads is unavoidable if Chapel Hill is to be included which with the vast number of people there as well, it obviously has to be. 

How you connect UNC hospital to other parts of Chapel Hill is worth discussing, but this line probably wouldn't make as much sense spreading through Orange county more than it does with the lower population numbers that way. 

 

Durham has been planning around these proposed stops for years and I have no doubt that it would be a smashing success in the Duke/downtown corridor. It won't be too long before there are tens of thousands of new residents living virtually on top of these stations.   As the city continue to grow from its core, interior traffic and parking will continue to get more and more difficult and more and more alternatives will be welcomed.

 

I see the Durham portion of this to look great.  I'm less certain how the Chapel Hill section will work, but the parking limitations alone at the University and hospital makes me think that down the road this will be quite popular.  Like most everybody else, seeing this go to the RTP is the most glaring need.  Interested to see what Wake Country does there.  

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Relegating this to status symbol over effective transit option would be an error felt for decades. I say take away vehicle lanes and condemn right of way as needed to get it to the right places. I've been riding MAX all week and it serves PDX's inner city and outer burbs equally well. 

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Is there a plan to go to RTP in the Durham/orange plan? Also how far behind is the Wake plan? In real time. Can wake catch up? Just a few questions. It's seems like both sides will need each other as always.IMO

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Is there a plan to go to RTP in the Durham/orange plan? Also how far behind is the Wake plan? In real time. Can wake catch up? Just a few questions. It's seems like both sides will need each other as always.IMO

 

wake is just a couple of years behind if they move forward.  latest update

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/16/4327996_raleigh-cary-look-to-improve-rail.html?rh=1

 

Pro light rail candidates swepts the Wake board of commissioners so everybody expecting movement there.  By 2016 a referendum is expected to be put to the voters regarding a sales tax increase to start collecting for the project as was similarly passed in recent years in Durham and Orange counties.

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Is the Orange Line between Chapel Hill and Durham completely dead? I can't find any news on it other than when the DOT capped light rail funding a year or so back. Best of luck to you guys on your mass transit either way! 

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From the New York Times, "Durham Dreamed of a Transit Line.  Duke University All but Killed It," by Richard Fausset, March 18, 2019.

Excerpts from the NY Times

"Duke officials have said they are not opposed to light rail in general, only to this specific project." ...  "Duke officials are adamant that their objections to the project are serious and insurmountable.  They said construction vibration and electromagnetic interference from the trains might affect sensitive research equipment at Duke’s sprawling medical campus, which the train line would skirt.  And they are concerned about the project’s impact on the underground utilities that serve the medical center — and the threat of new lawsuits."  ...  "The proposed line would not go to the regional airport, for example, nor to Raleigh, although there are future plans for a heavy-rail connection to the capital. The cost of the light-rail line — to be borne by local, state and federal taxpayers — has ballooned beyond $3 billion."

merlin_151907799_4d9205e8-023b-4894-9134-a4b48caaea3c-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

"Duke University officials blocked a planned light-rail line that would cross its property, citing concerns that building and operating the line could interfere with sensitive equipment at the school’s sprawling medical campus."  Photo Credit - Madeline Gray for The New York Times

Link to NY Times story:  https://www.google.com/search?q=new+york+times+durham+dreamed+of+a+transit+line+by+richard+fausset&oq

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