Carolina North meetings today

Here's a reminder that UNC will be holding informational meetings for the community about their plans for Carolina North at 3:30pm and 5:30pm today. This new 900-acre campus for UNC will be located at the northwest intersection of Estes Drive and MLK Blvd - smack dab in the middle of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. If done well, it has the potential to be a model of sustainability supporting education, transit, green space, smart growth, and environmental preservation to benefit the entire community (as envisioned by The Village Project). If done poorly, it could drag us down to level of sprawl and traffic that plagues much of the rest of the Triangle.

Let's keep our eyes on UNC, and help make sure they get it right by giving them the feedback they need as early as possible. Apparently these informational meetings are going to be monthly events, so please send them your feedback about how they can make the meetings more accessible to the public in the future (for example, I'd find it easier of it was off campus - but still transit accessible - and later in the evening).

Just a reminder that we will hold our first set of monthly Carolina North meetings tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m at the School of Government. Please see email below for details on bus service and parking.

Hope to see you there. If you have any questions, you can reach me at 962-9245.

From: Convissor, Linda
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:24 PM
Subject: Carolina North Meeting: March 27, 2006

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I am writing to invite you to the first in a new series of meetings about Carolina North. The first meeting will be Tuesday, March 27 with others to follow on April 24 and May 29, the last Tuesdays of the month.

To accommodate different schedules, we will hold two sessions. The information reviewed at both will be the same so attend whichever is most convenient for you. Both sessions will be on Tuesday, March 27th in room 2603 of the School of Government:

3:30 PM. Parking available in either the Hwy 54 Visitor Lot or in the Rams Head deck.

5:30 PM. Parking available as above or in the School of Government parking deck.

Information on transit service to the School of Government is below.

At the meetings, University representatives will present potential uses of Carolina North and three conceptual approaches to its development. Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions and share comments. The feedback will help the university as it develops a concept plan for the UNC-owned property.

The draft conceptual plans that will be presented draw on the guiding principles developed by the Leadership Advisory Committee for Carolina North, an ecological assessment of the property and sustainability strategies.

An RSVP is not required, but it would help with meeting logistics if you would contact Tiffany Clarke at

For Carolina North information, visit our web site at

If you are a neighborhood or community contact, please forward this to your group as well as any others who may be interested. We hope for extensive participation from the community. My apologies in advance to those who may receive duplicate emails.

As always, please feel free to contact me. We know there is great community interest in Carolina North and look forward to your input at this early stage.


The School of Government is served by numerous bus routes, including the FCX, G, HU, S, V and the RU. Please check the Chapel Hill Transit site at for maps of the routes, exact schedules and real-time transit route information.

I hope to attend and maybe even live blog the 5:30 session. Please post your own thoughts, especially if you attend one of these meetings.



An important clarification over initial news media reports was made by Linda Convissor in her above memo:

"At the meetings, University representatives will present potential uses of Carolina North and three conceptual approaches to its development."

There was some concern that the University would unveil their three concepts over the three months of scheduled meetings. Getting all three concepts on the table at once allows for much greater potential for feedback from the community. I commend the University for this approach. Now perhaps we can ask them to schedule the subsequent meetings at some additional sites and times that will make it a little easier for citizens to attend.

I hadn't realized there was any confusion about the three concepts being presented at this meeting. Thanks for clarifying.

I may be focussing too much on semantics here, but I want to stress that our intent is not to "unveil" anything, which to me implies a finished product. Rather, the idea is to show three possible concepts or scenarios for the University and local community to study, consider and respond to, give input etc. None of them is "finished", they are just ideas sketched on paper.

Hope that is helpful.

Linda, are the materials posted to the UNC website? I didn;t see anything at

Even though I'm out of town, I'd still like to take a look prior to the meeting.

I'm at the School of Government and if anything interesting happens I will post here. (Using my phone, so will K.I.S.S.) I am also taking photos which I will post later.

So far, CN "quarterback" Jack Evans has been talking about generl goals. He says the hope to follow the BoT's instruction to have a plan to the Town Council by Oct 07, which means a draft must be to Trustees by July.

Now a speaker from design firm Ayers Saint Gross is saying plans will include compact mixed-use development & transit, open space, streets & zones, building heights. She is now showing a composite map of the ecological assessment.

All three schemes assume transit following the existing rail line and another major transit connection to MLK Blvd. Also all have a road connection to Homestead Rd. All disturb 250 acres of land. They are called Centers, Interwoven, and Grid.

They are now going to split us into 3 groups that will rotate and look at each plan in turn.

Unfortunately these subgroups are also discussing other projects like RENCI and the Carolina Environmental Program. Nice, but taking precious time away from the PLANS.

Development is concentrated in Crow Branch watershed and will be accompanied by watershed restoration. North-south pattern with rail connection at northern end of property and 4 internal stations optimizes solar orientation. 5 huge soccer fields along the central spine. It is assumed that all housing serves UNC-related people. There is no parking estimate.

Compact on regular blocks. Connects to rail line at southernmost point. This seems to have a little more area that isn't within 1000 feet of transit stations. Parking is integrated with blocks (could be decks internal). Could be mixed, even within buildings. North-osuth road runs on east of Crow Branch. Main road T's at Sewel School Road, transit also follows this road to MLK. Green square/plaza in the center. Rec fields on the edge.

Random: Ana Wu assures me the plans (which I am taking pictures of) will be available on the web site. The dean of the School of Pharmacy reminds me of the Chancellor.

One new aspect of the general CN plan that was presented today (for the first time, I believe) is that one of the anticipated uses for CN would be patient care. No information was given as to what kind of numbers we might be looking at but patient care tends to not be transit oriented so this will be an interesting new aspect to watch as the plans develop.

Built around 4 main (open/green) squares with stations. ALL development is within 1000 feet of transit stations. Main roads stay on the outside, with the interior focused on bike and pedestrian movement. There is more flexibility in land uses. Large parking areas ring the outside. This plan most resembles the older North Campus area of UNC. North-south connector road goes east of Crow Branch. The northern perimer road connects MLK to Sewell School Rd.

There is no wrap-up session but we are now asking some process question of Ana. She says the expectation is that they will ultimately combine different elements of each plan. We are wondering how these plans will get detailed enough to be an application by July.

I attended the 5:30 session with Ruby, Jason Baker, Mike Collins and many other folks from all over, including faculty, students, neighbors, and interested residents.

I would not call the three "ideas" plans at all, they are better labeled "three conceptual approaches." When the maps are posted, you will see how each has a different set of design concepts embedded. I suspect that the later concepts will be a hybrid of some sort, but the envisioned programs that might be cited there appear to drive each concept.

Clearly, some orientation decisions have to be made in order to get to anything close to a plan and a sequencing notion will also have to be articulated. If one is thinking 50 years out, one must have some notional ideas on how you want to grow the 250 or so built out acres.

Anna Wu did indicate that housing and work space would probably progress simultaneously as they build out. Given that the major artery, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd is already a major corridor, it would probably be the case that they will start at that N-S boundary and build out to the west.

I thought that there were some good questions asked (and answered to the best of their current knowledge) and hopefully, people filled out comment cards that will feed the next presentation.

BTW, I heard the news guy tell Linda Convissor that his story would air on NBC-17 (Ch 2 on T-W) at 11pm.

Ruby- thanks for posting the pictures! I was at the 3:30 meeting and thought the material on the posters would have been better presented in the lecture hall. They could finish 15 minutes earlier and allow people to take a closer look at the posters and asked questions afterward.

Thanks, Ruby, for the great pictures and ongoing summary (how do you do that?!?).
I thought there was a lot of good information at this presentation, but everything very vague. As others have expressed, I wondered how it could be possible to get from these vague concepts to a tightly focused concept plan by July.
I also didn't feel I needed the pep talks from the UNC departments - I know where they would like to go and trust them to move in the right direction as regards academic and intellectual progress. What concerned me was a lot of whiffs of old thinking. There was a lot of matter-of-fact acceptance of the idea that 'bigger is better' and 'even bigger is even better'. That's the kind of thinking that has gotten us where we are today, environmentally. We use our resources too inefficiently and wastefully.
I would like to see some more creative approaches to growth than simply acquiring more territory...

I couldn't make either meeting, but read the complete UNC
PowerPoint presentation, at
One of which mentions "reservoirs of parking". Did anyone
ask or did UNC volunteer how much parking or how many
residences or how many square feet of buildings are planned?
I thank UNC for holding these information meetings.

Joe, they had no numbers for parking, residences, or building square footage. That's why it's not a plan yet but just a concept. I'm also waiting for some details.

Looks like they have posted yesterday's materials at

I hope that they make audio/video or a transcript of Q&A there at some point.

Joe, some folks did ask specifically and they said they did not have numbers for parking. FYI, only the "centers" concept utilizes parking reservoirs because the idea is that there would be no auto traffic through the center of the site.

Thanks for the link, Mark. I checked their site a few times this morning and then had to get back to work. Too bad they don't use a blog or RSS so we don't have to go hunting around for information.

The N&O reported 120 residents attended the meetings. I counted about 100 people total at the 3:30 meeting. Were there fewer people at the 5:30 meeting? If so, the poster format probably worked better.

There was talk of street parking in the 'grid' and 'interwoven' plans. I thought there were also parking lots in them as well. If there will be a conference center at CN, at least one larger parking will be required (could be a parking deck).

I like the 'transit nodes', highlighted by a 1000 foot radius circle to represent a convenient walking distance from the node. The 'interwoven' plan has some gaps in the node coverage but protects/improves the Crow watershed (and adds to the Bolin Creek watershed by converting the end of the runway). It also spreads out the development along the northern entrance off of Homestead and does more than the other plans. All plans cover ~260 acres. The 'centers' plan has some interesting features focusing pedestrian and bike traffic within clusters of buildings. Taller buildings will be in the center and smaller ones on the edges. It was said this would allow some choice in where to live since some people would prefer to live in a 4 story building instead of a 8 story building. Note, in all plans, I heard it is highly unlikely any single family home will be built.

I was glad to see the development concentrated in the southeast corner, hopefully protecting the developed forest. I was hoping the Seawell First School property would have been closer to the rest of the activity. It looks like it could have fit in nicely in the southwestern area. I wonder if/where another school will be sited.

I wanted to ask if the programs - Institute for the Environment, RENCI, and School of Pharmacy - are the only programs slated to be part of CN. BTW, the Institute for the Environment has evolved out of the Carolina Environmental Program (CEP) directed by Douglas Crawford-Brown and will be announced on April 12th. Along with the Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Technology (IAM),, the CEP presented the Energy and the Environment symposium in early March. Together they are also developing an Energy and Environment program for UNC. Truly exciting developments! (disclaimer- I work for the UNC Chemistry Department :) )

From the poster:

"The UNC Institute for the Environment will benefit from using Carolina North as a living laboratory—while it assists
the University, and the local community, in designing and building it. To facilitate this collaboration, the Institute
hopes to locate its headquarters building on the Carolina North campus."

I hope they can integrate green building design and renewable energies in a natural setting and for instructional tools/examples in CN. Which reminds me, there was talk about arranging the buildings at CN in all plans to take advantage of solar energy by allowing southern exposures.

I understand that CH is not in favor of the new road that runs through CN to Homestead Rd. I for one think it is logical and needed as another outlet for CN. Can anyone tell me why CH opposes this road?

I don't think the town is on record with any specific opinion about that road (that I know of). I wouldn't be surprised if Council Member Easthom opposes it, though. It would connect directly to Weaver Dairy Road Extension which has a lot of unused capacity and runs through her neighborhood.


I concur with Ruby's assessment. I'm not sure that there is opposition to a road per se - I think the concern is more about how much and what kind of traffic that road would be carrying.

The town is on record with regard to that road in a letter that was sent to Tony Waldrop or UNC in general some time ago, that the Town had no intention for the proposed road to connect to Weaver Dairy Extension (in so many words), which all came up when the Town decided to keep WDE as a 2 lane on its long range transportation plan (it was downgraded from four lanes )---and then the road was marked for bike lanes such that it is in fact a 2 lane road (tho very wide). I would have to go back and find that letter but I know it exists (existed) and I recall a not-too-happy unwritten response to that letter. Additionallyl, the Horace Williams Citizen Committee (not unanimously but in majority with one or two dissenting?) felt that such a road would unnecessarily "bisect" large tracts of land on either side--- and tell me, what purpose would it serve? What would it serve, who would it serve? It would be a conduit only to transport tens of thousands of cars OUT of Carolina North and through neighborhoods, for what? Quick access to I-40. Why congest MLK anymore? Diffuse it up a parallel road through kid- dense neighborhoods. Whether I live in these neighborhoods or not, this is 20th century planning----poor planning with auto-emphasis. Because WDE is wide I think people assume that it is to be a future major thoroughfare. Yet, it runs through dense neighborhoods. Because it is wide does that mean it has "capacity"? I'm sure physically you could fit many cars down the road. I argue that because it is wide, does not mean that the floodgates should open for cars now or in the future. Houses are built very close to this road and there is NO commercial on WDE---just people getting to and from homes/school . I remember Kumar Nepalli referencing this road as a neighborhood road although it is technically considered a minor thoroughfare (it has no commerical anywhere like MLK). You bet I oppose the idea of this road. It is completely and absolutely a severe detriment to the quality of thousands of lives in these neighborhoods. And I'm happy to say all this now, or whenever they choose to present this plan before the council.

Therre are two northern entrances: An eastern one along the narrow length of property stretching north to Homestead and another to the west along the rail corridor. I did hear the rail corridor could be used for buses transit. The Interwoven plan, connects these two along a 'transportation corridor'. The Grid and Centers plan leaves these separate, the western one joining up to Seawell School Road to the west. Only for the Interwoven plan does the eastern entrance off of Homestead offer reasonable access to CN. One could envision the transporation corridor of Interwoven feeding into the center of the Centers plan or into the center of the Grid. Of course, if signs are posted at the MLK/WDRE intersection directing CN traffic down WDRE to a northern entrance, it will be used. In the Grid and Centers plan, it can become a scenic entrance to CN from I40. A WDRE/Northern entrance can help ease traffic along MLK, it's difficult to ignore the possibility.

BTW, there are plenty of times when there is little traffic on Weaver Dairy Road Extension (WDRE) but there are also times when the traffic picks up- nothing like waiting for two light cycles to get through the MLK-Estes intersection just after 5pm- but more so than any residential street (I know, it's not a residential street). Those busy times are in the ~8am and ~5-6pm. I don't know what its capacity is but I think adding the morning and evening traffic from Homestead developments and the future CN will put WDRE to capacity and then some. I suspect WDRE will be widened, the speed limit increased and Homestead Road will be widened (is there room for two extra lanes?). If sidewalks were added to both sides it would be a benefit. The Nothern Area Task Force in CH should generate suggestions on easing traffic concerns along WDRE. Sorry to go off topic...

At the minimum, the Town is on record with the following strategy in the Horace Williams Citizens Committee Report, adopted by the full council as policy and used as such during the LAC meetings:
Under "natural areas/parks and recreational facilities" : Goal 1-B,Strategy A: "Roads shall be located so as not to subdivide large environmentally sensitive tracts." This is a direct reference to the North/South proposed road, and also any other road that might serve no other purpose than serve as a automobile corridor.

I missed your post before. Thanks for mentioning that WDE was limited to two lanes. I don't want WDE widened. Nor do I want Homestead widened. Given the dependence on automobiles, there needs to be a way to allow efficient flow of traffic to bring people to (and out of) CN, the schools on Seawell School Road and all of the development near Homestead (mostly in Carrboro). Or a convenient, alternative form of transportation must be provided. Maybe an increased population in the future will generate enough passengers to justify light rail or significantly extended bus transit.

Laurin, my mistake for forgetting the Town's explicit conversation about Weaver Dairy Rd Extension. As Marc points out this whole conversation is a reminder to us that CN must focus on transit as a primary mover of people to-and-from the site, and that the new campus should be designed to work best without cars (as the old north campus is now) so that they become a less practical way of getting to and through the site.

Also, note that all of the plans included an entrance on Estes Drive, and some connected to Seawell School Road as well. I imagine that any of us who live off the streets that might access Carolina North will feel the same way as Laurin does about carrying the extra capacity.

I did hear the rail corridor could be used for buses transit. The Interwoven plan, connects these two along a ‘transportation corridor'.

Marc, this is not true, at least if the rail corridor remains an active freight line. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has very strict rules about what types of vehicles may run together in railroad rights-of-way. At this time, you cannot run light rail and freight rail trains in the corridor at the same time due to the extreme weight differential of vehicles if there is a derailment. I know of only one operation in the US where even the temporal separation is in effect, in New Jersey.

Buses, much, much lighter than light rail trains, are extremely unlikely to receive a waiver for simultaneous operation. In light of this situation, the only way you would get buses on the rail corridor is to end rail operations. This means you'll add hundreds of tractor trailers coming to Chapel Hill to haul coal, and you'll also impact the small number of businesses along the rail spur (ie Fitch lumber) that infrequently use the line but benefit greatly from its proximity.

There are some good ideas on the transportation front in two out of the three plans. The interwoven is a non-starter for me. In the next week or two, I hope to sketch some ideas out on paper and share them.

Are you saying that a busway couldn't exist anywhere in the rail right-of-way even separate from the tracks?

Ruby, yes, under the current regulatory situation, that's exactly what I'm saying.

The only possible away around this would be a temporal separation- freight trains run between 10 pm and 5 am, and buses run at all other times. Never would the two allowed to be run simultaneously. While I'm not 100% sure, I am pretty confident there would need to be approval from Norfolk Southern (who owns the tracks) and then a waiver granted by FRA for even the time-separated operations. I believe that the likelihood of either of those things happening alone is very low, never mind together.

That's a disturbing idea, considering the town's current Long Range Transportation Plan projections rely on using the existing rail tracks as a transit corridor. In order to continue to expand our transit offerings, especially with so much development going on in NW Chapel Hill, using MLK as the only real north/south corridor is going to severely limit the number of options we have open to us.

Ruby, during a discsussion on TTA, poster Burg claimed:

I've heard plenty of people suggest "Why not just run buses on the corridor currently planned for rail?" - but this is a non-starter.

The North Carolina Railroad and Norfolk Southern are not amenable to having a Light-Rail line in their right-of-way, due to liability problems. A paved BRT line would be exactly the same. This is the main reason that TTA selected FRA-compliant DMU vehicles for the Raleigh-Durham corridor. In other words, if we decide on any technology that is not FRA-compliant, steel-wheel-on-rail, we completely lose the use of the NCRR corridor.

I don't know if that pertains to "our" tracks but I can imagine a bit of a tussle to work out jurisdictional issues.

In a study on [PDF] converting BRT (bus rapid transit) to LRT (light rail), the point was made that the recommended ROW required for BRT is 11.5' each direction plus the occasional breakdown lane. Total ROW (right of way) could weigh in at 35-38'.

In the same thread on UrbanPlanet, it was stated as a given that rail requires at least a 25' buffer from other transit modalities. These guys seem to be pretty well informed, so I'll accept that figure.

Given that, we're talking existing rail ROW + 25' buffer + 38' BRT ROW + width of occasional stations.

Also, it would require separate bridges.

I did a quick back of the envelope calculation (using GoogleEarth) to see if the current ROW could manage that - it would be tight.

As far as LRT on the existing freight rails, it appears that if Federal bucks are used then the kind of rolling stock you're allowed to use is severely constricted (it appears from the discussion you have to use fairly full-fledge train cars).

Of course, if we could use buses on rails somehow, and deal with the intermittent freight traffic, then maybe a busway would be possible. Then again, there are folks here really against using the rail corridor because of environmental, noise and safety issues.

If all of the 20,000-30,000 people that are proposed to eventually be at Carolina North live off-site then they could arrive by transit from wherever they live or a P & R lot outside of town(assuming that these facilities are built). But the Horace Williams Citizens Committee report calls for housing to be built on-site to accommodate at least 25% of the people working there and many of the representatives on the UNC Leadership Advisory Committee called for a much more significant percentage of the workforce to be housed on site. In any case we would be talking about a minimum of 5,000-7,500 housing units at CN. I assume that most of those housing units are going to want to have at least one car (for those times you need to travel outside of the available transit options, etc.). In addition, some of the private partnerships that UNC is proposing for CN will undoubtedly require some level of parking. Thus we will still need to figure out how to accommodate a significant number of additional cars on MLK, Estes Drive, etc. with whatever plan comes along.

Well Patrick's information has light rail looking a lot more attractive to me. (I wasn't opposed to it before.) Even more so if it can better connect us to existing and future regional and national rail lines.

All three of the proposed plans also included a (presumably bus) connection to MLK.

We really need to kick our driving presumptions here. Chapel Hill in 40 years is not going to function like Chapel Hill today.


I find your response on the road coming cutting north through CN to Homestead to be somewhat myopic. You assume that the traffic would all be aimed at Weaver Dairy Road Extension (WDRE) and on to I40. My assumption is that while that may be true to some extent, much traffic might be going west locally or other local addresses in the high growth Northern Transition Area. (The NTA sounds to me like the Northeast Territory…virgin wilderness and wild animals!) Without a northern exit we force that traffic either up Seawell School Road (past 3 public school sites) or through Carrboro.

Also not having a north road will not spare WDRE added traffic from Chapel Hill North. As it goes now many drivers, myself included, when faced with a decision of driving north on Seawell School or taking MLK North opt for Seawell School and end up taking WDRE if we are going to points north like Timberline or the I40 interchange.

Not having a northern road also adds to traffic on MLK and Estes. How does having a northern road add to congestion on MLK!?? I am puzzled by your statement above. If anything it should help ease that congestion. I do not support a "more roads are always better approach" but dispersing traffic geographically with reasonable access roads makes sense.

I appreciate the community approach you have to WDRE. Unfortunately I believe the development of our communities, including CN, will make this road even more of a thoroughfare in the future.

Will, there are mistakes in that information. Let me clarify.

I don't know if that pertains to “our” tracks but I can imagine a bit of a tussle to work out jurisdictional issues.

FRA regulations should apply on the Carrboro rail spur.

In a study on [PDF] converting BRT (bus rapid transit) to LRT (light rail), the point was made that the recommended ROW required for BRT is 11.5′ each direction plus the occasional breakdown lane. Total ROW (right of way) could weigh in at 35-38′.

I'm sort of getting off topic, but no BRT project in the US has ever been converted to Light Rail. Houston is doing a BRT project and is going to put the LRT tracks in the street before the first bus rolls. This may be the only exception to that rule.

As far as LRT on the existing freight rails, it appears that if Federal bucks are used then the kind of rolling stock you're allowed to use is severely constricted (it appears from the discussion you have to use fairly full-fledge train cars).

Federal funding has nothing to do with it. This is an operational rule of the FRA. Think of it this way, no matter where you are in the US, if you're driving a tractor trailer with hazmats on board, you're not allowed in tunnels of a certain length, regardless of who paid for the truck. Same type of rule.

Of course, if we could use buses on rails somehow, and deal with the intermittent freight traffic, then maybe a busway would be possible.

This isn't going to happen in the USA, again, due to FRA safety regulations. If you're running on standard gauge rail in the USA where freight operates, the vehicle needs to be able to take a hit of something like 800,000 lbs and not have the passenger compartment buckle. There is no bus in existence, and very likely no light rail vehicle in existence that can meet this standard.

After looking at UNC's presentation this week, my sense is that the best outcome would be a combination of rail and bus technologies that produces very convenient transfers at key places.

Thanks for the clarifications Patrick. Are the corridor widths correct? Is it true that if rail is used, then, it has to be FRA compliant, as the UrbanPlanet poster said?

What if the University purchased that spur, what rules do they have to follow ?

Whoops! Is it true that if rail is used, then, it has to use FRU compliant rolling stock, as the UrbanPlanet poster said?

The FRA doesn't care who owns the railroad from the cogeneration plant to University Station.

The decision tree looks more like this:

IF Freight rail remains active, THEN...
IF Freight rail does NOT remain active, THEN...

As long as there is freight moving on the rail spur, the only transit technology that is appropriate without a FRA waiver and without special permission from the host railroad is FRA-compliant rolling stock such as a commuter rail train or DMU (the equipment proposed for TTA Phase I). The upside to DMU or commuter rail is that you could send it to Durham, Cary, Raleigh, Hillsborough, Burlington-anywhere along the NCRR.

If there is NOT Freight on the rail spur, AND UNC buys out the railroad up to University Station, then it may be possible for UNC, CHapel Hill Transit, TTA or some combination thereof to run light rail or buses in the corridor as engineering and environmental constraints permit. Of course, the line would become a dead end at University station with no ability to get to Hillsborough without getting back on regular streets, and no ability to travel on the NCRR. To go to Durham, Raleigh, Cary, etc- you'd need to run buses out onto I-40 or run the full 15-501 corridor alignment from Durham to Chapel Hill to have busways or LRT tracks. The upside to Light Rail or bus is that you can run them in mixed traffic with cars if need be, which cannot be done with DMUs.

What a shame to not be able to use the rail corridor
in some fashion, train or bus, to serve 10,000 people
every day due to the very small amount of current rail
use that the line sees today. There has to be some sort
of compromise position.

Has anyone discussed the once-suggested new I-40
interchange to feed cars into CN?

Finally, the limiting factor for CN may not be car
movement; it may be car parking. There has to
be a balance between the two or neither functions.
Remember that UNC had to greatly scale back its plans
for the Bell Tower lot parking deck, not becuase it couldn't
be built, not because of cost, not because of aesthetics,
rather because there was no way to move the cars
in and out of it at 8am and 5pm.

The consultants we are working with on the long range transit study have significant experience working with rail companies. Still, there would be numerous issues to address to be able to make use of that corridor (with or without trains). Anyone who's waited on Main St while the coal trains shuttle back and forth has a sense of this.

Dan and all

The thoughts on rail for a variety of uses and Dan Coleman's comment above on waiting on the coal cars on Main St. reminds me of one more thing to ponder in the Eubanks Rd saga with the Transfer Station and other heavy use of that road in the future. I reminded BOCC of the potential increase in rail traffic in the future and how that was yet another use for Eubanks that will create the prefect storm of congestion I see in Eubanks future. Homestead Road is headed down the same path only without heavy, industrial traffic that will be added to Eubanks.

If we are serious in considering a future use of the rail spur we must start considering that this rail line bisects many critical roads in our community. For me the logic is simple: if you grow rail traffic on the spur then drivers are going to spend more time waiting at rail crossings.

The State actually has a 10% interest in the line from Cameron Avenue to University Station, Norfolk Southern owns the rest and is the operator. To take freight off the line would involve dropping coal generation at the UNC Power Plant, very unlikely given the huge state investments in the power plant.

I am reminded of the InterCoastal Waterway down in
Florida. A recreational boat on the ICW with a tall mast
has the right to open a drawbridge, which,
depending on the time of day and the size of the road
over the bridge, can wreak havoc to many people.
Solutions vary, but many towns have adopted rules
such as the bridge will be open only hourly,
and boats will have to queue up to go through the open
bridge at its next opening.

Are similar solutions available for the use of the rail line?



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