Chapel Hill Transit

The Truth About Traffic

Whenever there’s a new development proposal pending before a local governing board, the center of the conversation always seems to gravitate toward traffic. Given this tendency, I think it’s important we understand historic traffic changes in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation maintains historic traffic counts for urban areas around the state, including Chapel Hill. These traffic counts date back to 1997, with the most recent data being from 2013. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the average annual daily traffic in some major areas around town:

 

Area

1997

2004

2013

Change, 2013 vs. 1997

W Franklin St (just west of Columbia St)

17,400

18,000

12,000

Will Chapel Hill Transit Really Start Charging Fares?

At a work session earlier this month, the Chapel Hill Town Council received a report on the fiscal sustainability of Chapel Hill Transit. The report describes CHT's current situation as akin to “tale of two cities.” One the one hand the system has been enormously successful in attracting new ridership and on the other hand facing some fairly significant obstacles because of that sucess. The report identifies funding as the chief area of concern, noting that the urgent need for capital expenses mostly to help replace the agency's aging fleet. 

In response to the meeting, a slew of stories appeared with headlines like "Chapel Hill Transit Could Start Charging For Bus Rides." That got me and a few of OrangePolitics' other editors thinking: what would happen if the system really were to start charging fares as a way to be more sustainable? After talking it over a bit, we came up with (at least) two potential issues:

Fixing Weaver Dairy Road's Bus Service

Coffee and buses, under most circumstances, discussing these two seemingly unrelated things in the same sentence would seem strange, that is unless you're talking about a certain part of Chapel Hill. I of course am talking about Weaver Diary Road, a fairly major thoroughfare in the Northern part of of town whose underwhelming bus service marks a major problem for the Chapel Hill Transit system.

The fundamental problem lies in the fact that the current bus line that services Weaver Diary Road, the T Route, only goes as far as East Chapel Hill High School. If a resident of the lower section of Weaver Dairy wants to go grab coffee at the popular Joe Van Gogh cafe located at the Timberlyne shopping complex via public transit, they will be forced to take a long and complicated route with at the very least 1 transfer. Furthermore, Joe Van Gogh is but one of many prominent businesses located at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Weaver Dairy Road, all of which are not easily accessible to the residents of lower Weaver Dairy Road due to the current alignment of the T Route. 

This Week in Orange Politics: October 20-26

Early voting starts week! Don’t forget out there and let you voice be heard.

While both school boards and the Hillsborough Town Board, the County Commissioners will consider operational changes at the Community Home Trust and endorsing staff recommendations for new bus service in the central and rural parts of the county. The Carrboro Alderfolks will schedule a public hearing on the Lloyd Farm Conditional Use Permit and the Chapel Hill Town Council will review a number of development proposals.

Throughout the week, Chapel Hill Transit will hold public input meetings on the North-South Corridor.

Here’s the full summary:

CARRBORO BOARD OF ALDERPERSONS

Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Transit Update Meeting

Triangle Transit and Chapel Hill Transit are pleased to join forces to provide the Downtown Chapel Hill Community with updates on the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project as well as Chapel Hill Transit services and projects. Find out how additional transit options will benefit and impact business and residents of Chapel Hill, proposed alignments, and timetable for construction and operation.

WHO:

Presenters:

  • Brian Litchfield, Director of Chapel Hill Transit
  • Patrick McDonough, Manager of Planning and Transit Oriented Development
  • Natalie Murdock, Public Involvement Manager, of Triangle Transit

WHAT:

Prepared presentation and Questions and Answers over light appetizers

WHEN:

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:00-7:15 PM

WHERE:

LAUNCH Chapel Hill, 321 W Rosemary St

COST:

Free, Please RSVP Here

By 2035, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro area is expected to add nearly 200,000 residents and approximately 120,000 jobs. In 2011, Durham County residents demonstrated their support for transit initiatives by approving the transit sales tax. In 2012, Orange County residents concurred, approving a transit tax of their own. Light rail transit between the Durham-Orange Corridor’s three main activity centers—UNC (Hospitals and University), Duke (Medical Center and University), and downtown Durham—has been proposed as a means to support the growth. Triangle Transit is pleased to report that planning for the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (D-O LRT) Project has reached the project development phase, and Triangle Transit is studying the social, environmental, and human impacts of the proposed project. And Chapel Hill Transit’s North-South Corridor, along with other service changes, will help address growth and congestion. You may learn more about these projects at www.ourtransitfuture.com and www.NSCStudy.org.

Date: 

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 6:00pm

Location: 

LAUNCH Chapel Hill, 321 W Rosemary St

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