July 2010

Information Session for New Sustainability Technologies Program at Durham Tech's Orange County Campus

Durham Tech's Orange County Campus is offering a new Solar Photovoltaic Installation Certificate as part of the Sustainability Technologies program this upcoming fall.  A solar photovoltaic installation certificate will cover energy use analysis and solar photovoltaic system installation.  The intended audience is electricians or people who are working in facilities services under the supervision of an electrician.  This certificate can build on the existing skills of students who are enrolled in or who have completed the Electrical, Architectural, or Industrial Systems associate degree program.  An associate degree and a diploma program will begin this academic year and includes electrical and math courses for students without previous electrical experience.  The diploma program will include work experience with a local company. View the Sustainability Technologies plans of study which can be completed entirely at the Orange County Campus.

To find out more detailed information about admission procedures, plan of study, etc. we have scheduled two upcoming information sessions:

Monday, July 26      5:30–6:30 p.m.      Orange County Campus (OCC)
Thursday, July 29     5:30–6:30 p.m.     Orange County Campus (OCC)

 For additional information please contact Carlo Robustelli, carlo@durhamtech.edu or (919) 536-7238 ext. 4202. 



Monday, July 26, 2010 - 1:30pm


Durham Tech's Orange County Campus, 525 College Park Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Friends of the Downtown monthly meeting

Friends of the Downtown Meeting
Thursday, July 29, 2010
10:00 AM, coffee starting at 9:30 AM
Franklin Hotel, 311 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill
The Friends of the Downtown will be hosting Dan Douglas, Director of Urban Planning and Urban Design for Kling Stubbins, the consulting firm hired by the Town of Chapel Hill and the Downtown Partnership to develop the Downtown Development Framework & Action Plan; a guide for downtown development for the next five to eight years. (http://www.downtownchapelhill.com/onecol.php?s=development&ss=Development+Framework+%26+Action+Plan&det=5) Douglas will present the draft plan for public comments and questions.
The Friends of the Downtown August 26th meeting will feature a speaker discussing the future development at University Square; 123 West Franklin (http://www.123westfranklin.com/).
Parking is available behind the hotel. For information on public transit options - please click here http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1176.  Friends of the Downtown meetings are free and open to the public. 
For more information please contact Pat Evans at patevans (at) bellsouth.net.


Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 5:30am


Franklin Hotel, 311 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill

Neil Pedersen To Retire in June

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Neil Pedersen has announced that he will retire at the end of the coming school year.  Dr. Pedersen has been superintendent since 1992 and has worked in the district since 1987.  The school system issued a press release with an overview of changes and accomplishments during his tenure.

It's absolutely stunning for any school district to have a superintendent serve for such an extended period of time.  It's probably difficult for our community to conceive of how things might be difference if we had a succession of 5-6 superintendents in the same time period. 

Public Hearing on Hillsborough-Orange County Rail Station Plan

Hillsborough Town Board to Hold Public Hearing on Rail Station Plan

WHAT: Public Hearing on Proposed Rail  Station Plan

WHEN: 7 p.m. July 26

WHERE: Town Barn, 101 E. Orange  St. Access parking from East Corbin Street.

The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing July 26  on the final draft of a proposed plan that includes a rail station on land  the town owns southeast of downtown.

Public comment on the proposed Hillsborough Rail Station Small Area Plan  will be received during the Town Board’s monthly work session at 7 p.m.  July 26 in the Town Barn, located at 101 E. Orange St.

The proposed final draft contains conceptual plans for a rail station  site, which also could house a police substation and municipal meeting space.  The conceptual plans were presented at an open house March 31. The Town Board  received a report on the final draft of the small area plan document at its  monthly work session on June 28.

Under the proposed plan, the town’s 20-acre site off Orange Grove  Street also could include a civic/arts center, fire station, multi-level  parking garage, office space, park land and townhouse condominiums. The  Hillsborough Youth Athletics Association ball fields now located on the  property would need to be relocated as the site is developed over time.

At this time, the project has no identified funding. However, the town is  pursuing a variety of funding options. Until funding is identified, the  project will remain at a conceptual level.

The draft plan also proposes a recommended transportation network and land  uses for adjacent property to the south, located immediately behind the  Daniel Boone shopping area and commonly referred to as “the Collins  property.”

The draft plan and conceptual plans and renderings may be viewed on the  Rail Station Task Force page of the town’s Web site. The renderings are  conceptual only and do not represent final design, architecture or scale of  the buildings. The style and density of proposed buildings or land uses  likely will change as more input is provided through the town’s formal  site design and review processes.

For more information, visit the Rail Station Task Force’s Web page:


 or contact Senior Planner Tom King <http://www.ci.hillsborough.nc.us/contact/senior-planner/> ,  staff liaison to the task force, at 732-1270 Ext. 73.



Monday, July 26, 2010 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm


Hillsborough Town Barn, 101 E. Orange St. Access parking from East Corbin Street

SEHSR Mtg in Raleigh Monday 7/26/2010

There will be a public meeting Monday evening in Raleigh on the Raleigh to Richmond section of the high speed rail + Greenway.
Meeting Details: http://ht.ly/2fPrT
DEIS PDFs: http://sehsr.org/deis/sehsr_deis_download_files.html

Comments also accepted online: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SEHSR

The trains will probably be hybrid (NOT all-electric).  They will make 4 roundtrips daily Charlotte⇄Raleigh (via Hillsborogh & Durham), plus 4 roundtrips daily Charlotte⇄Washington DC (via Hillsborogh, Durham & Raleigh).

Between Raleigh & Charlotte, the SEHSR and any associated greenway will closely follow the current Amtrak NCRR route, with slight realignments to widen curves.  The DEIS states, "the greenway will typically follow the old, unused rail right of way when the rail alignment is on new location."

Between Raleigh & Richmond, the plan takes a more direct route, following US-1 through Wake Forest, Youngsville, Franklinton, Henderson, and Norlina (instead of Rocky Mount).

The trail creates tourism opportunities in all communities along the route, even those unserved by the train.

Paralleling the rail corridor makes a lot of sense for trail users as it provides a route with minimal cross-traffic and connecting to highly desirable destinations.

Section 2.4 "Multiuse Greenway Concept" states:

In December 2006, Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation
(DCR), and representatives of Dinwiddie, Brunswick, and Mecklenburg counties
voiced their support for a multiuse Greenway Concept associated with
the SEHSR corridor and its inclusion in the SEHSR Tier II DEIS. The
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
also voiced its support for an extension of the Greenway Concept south
into North Carolina and terminating at the Neuse River, north of
Raleigh, NC. The advantage of including the Greenway Concept in the
SEHSR study is that the potential environmental impacts, both human
and natural, that would result from the proposed greenway can be
determined at an earlier stage in the process. This would allow the
necessary environmental documentation for the greenway to be prepared
so that local municipalities could pursue the construction of the
greenway in their jurisdictions.

The exact location of the Greenway Concept will not be determined
until the preferred alternative for the SEHSR project is selected because the impacts
associated with the Greenway Concept would be too minor to have a bearing on the selection
of a preferred alternative. The potential impacts associated with the Greenway
Concept will be documented document (e.g., Finding of No Significant
Impact) will be prepared for the Greenway Concept.

If construction of the greenway is undertaken by local municipalities,
guidance from the US Department of Transportation will be used and FRA
will be consulted.
For purposes of impact evaluation, the greenway is proposed to have a
30 foot trail “footprint” on a 60 foot ROW. The greenway ROW will be
adjacent to but separate from the rail ROW. The 60 feet should provide
enough room for the greenway cut/fill slopes not to interfere with the
proposed SEHSR construction limits as well as allow for necessary
design adjustments for the greenway. The trail itself will be
approximately 10 feet wide. Problem areas will be identified where
additional ROW may be needed (contained within the current SEHSR study
corridor), and impacts will be calculated for those areas. It is
anticipated that in municipal areas, trail traffic would be redirected
to existing city street ROW and sidewalks or other trail networks as
determined by each municipality. In addition, the trail will utilize
portions of the existing inactive rail ROW not needed for the new rail

The Greenway Concept design will conform to the American Association
of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the
Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities (2004) and
the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities (1999), as
well as the NCDOT adopted "Design Guidelines for Bicycle Facilities,"
where possible and practicable.

The SEHSR Greenway Concept has potential to be an important feature of
the state-wide trail networks that are being developed by the states
of Virginia and North Carolina in conjunction with local governments.
Additionally, the SEHSR Greenway Concept may be incorporated into the
East Coast Greenway (ECG), an urban version of the Appalachian Trail
for walkers, cyclists, and other non-motorized trail users. Founded in
1991, the East Coast Greenway Alliance is a non-profit organization
aimed at connecting cities and towns along the East Coast with a
continuous, 3,000 mile long, traffic-free path from Maine to Florida
(Figure 2-7). The ECG is a combination of paved greenways, crushed
gravel paths, urban streets, and rural bike routes. Approximately 21
percent of the ECG was been completed as of December 2008. As stated
on the Alliance’s website, the “Alliance will not own or directly
manage any portion of this trail. Rather, it will be owned and managed
by municipal, county and state agencies. The Alliance works to ensure
continuity and a consistent quality of route” (ECG Alliance, 2008).

The route and ownership of the ECG is determined by each state,
municipality, locality, and community through which it passes.
Therefore, each section of trail is independently
managed and representative of the needs of its respective region.

Comments also accepted online: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SEHSR



Estoy de vacaciones

In case you haven't noticed, I am on vacation and not able to visit the site regularly. I've been out since Monday, and I'll return about a week from today. Until then do not expect blog entries to get promoted to the front page or anonymous comments to get approved (although I'll drop in and check up IF I can).

Happy summer to you!



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