Are we really still part of the Triangle?

So let's make some assumptions up front for this discussion. Let's assume that the TTA builds according to plans it's rail system (big assumption at this point due to the Bush administration's witholding of dollars). And let's assume this area continues to grow and becomes what we many folks really want it to be - a drawing point for the creative class and a great place to continue living. Well, while folks in Durham and Raleigh and even, gasp, Cary will be taking advantage of the rail line and touting themselves as a pseudo-urban mecca, we'll be over here with our wonderful but less than glamorous bus system trying to compete. So far, south Orange has the best planned development and the best public transit, but what happens when that isn't true anymore? Do all the cool single artists and video clerks move to Durham? Doesn't this put us at a competitive disadvantage in terms of attracting some of the people that add color and diversity to our towns?

The current reality is that TTA can't even THINK of extending the line until 2020 assuming all of their plans go perfectly well. I love that TTA is doing a rail corridor, but we need a link sooner than 2020. Shouldn't Orange County elected officials be scrambling to find ways to get it sooner? Wouldnt' it benefit us to be plugged into the region?

Remember, we're assuming for the sake of the discussion that the rail line will happen... ok.... go.


I don't think the Durham-CH rail line as it is now proposed will

ever happen for several reasons: It doesn't address our

biggest transportation problem which is getting to

RTP, RDU and Raleigh; it's enormously expensive, even its

local costs, it won't begin to dent the traffic congestion,

it's low priority for Durham (witness their decision to move

the rail station to accomodate Sams-Target),

and its physical drawbacks due to low

hill-climbing capability and large turning radius are destructive.

We have the corridor saved -- that's good -- so I believe that

we'll probably put in some dedicated bus routes to get through

high-congestion areas easily while running buses on the

roads where the congestion is not so bad. Finally, the feds

will pay for 80 pct of bus facilities, but only 50 pct of

rail facilities. Bottom line: Yeah for rubber tires!

speaking of usable rail lines, has there been any talk relating to Carolina North of extending the State University RR east from the powerplant over to the Carolina Inn (the right of way is still there, the rails were torn up in the 1930s and a steam line is underground) and using this line to move people back and forth to the airport property?? The line does run to Durham, but is rather lengthy as it joins the Southern RR mainline half way between Durham and Hillsborough. The federal high speed rail initiative is going to double track the line from Greensboro to Durham sometime in the next 15 years.

The latest news on mass transit plans for Orange County can be found at

whiile a novice on this -- please correct.

The rail placement seems to have serious flaws from a chapel hill standpoint.

I would surmise the major destination for those living in chapel hill would be

1. RTP

2. Raleigh

3.Airport/southpoint mall.

if the rail line was built along I-40 when all the new lanes were addied they could have created a transfer point common to Durham and Chapel hill and had these destinations DIRECTLY accesible in a straight shot.

As I understand it to go to RTP or raleigh from Chapel hill assuming the 15-501 route happens 30 years from now - you will have to go indirectly through durham first.

along I-40 would have been the best choice.

as far as usership a free bus system with a transfer station near I-40 or park n ride may do quite well compared to this rail line assuming it costs at least 2 $ or more each way.

According to the Census Bureau, we are't a part of the Triangle anymore. If my memory is correct, the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill metropolis was split into two metropolis areas. The significance is that Chapel Hill's new metropolis area now has less than 1,000,000 residents, and when businesses do a typical 1 million+ metropolis search, Chapel Hill won't show up on their radar anymore. This handicaps our ability to attract jobs to our area (and limits our ability to compete as a 'pseudo-urban mecca.')


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