Highway 54 Corridor Study and Light Rail Alternative Routes

Here are a couple alternatives for providing input on the future development and changes along Highway 54. While these topics are certainly related, there are different groups driving each project, with separate schedules and decision to be made. Obviously at some point these plans will need to come together, but at this point it's important to make sure your comments are directed to the proper group.

The Highway 54 Corridor Study was created to study potential transportation improvements along the Highway 54 Corridor and the best direction for future development to follow in the area. The draft of the second report is available for public comment. It includes such things as a major reworking of the interchanges along Highway 54, including replacing some with bridges. It proposes changes to the I40 interchange. Park and Ride lots are pushed back to 751 and 15-501 so that cars destined for park and ride lots will not contribute to Hwy 54 traffic. There are also bike and pedestrian trail enhancements. And of course they recommend higher density development in areas located close to future light rail stations. There are two documents you can review, links below, or you can attend an informal Drop In information session and ask questions directly to the planners.

Corridor Study Website: http://www.nc54-i40corridorstudy.com/
Summary Report (13 pages): http://www.nc54-i40corridorstudy.com/pdffiles/E_ExecSumm_FINAL.pdf

January 12, 2012 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
2nd Floor Committee Room, Durham City Hall
101 City Hall Plaza, Durham, NC 27701

February 13 from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
Chapel Hill Town Hall, first floor conference room.

A set of public transportation improvements are in the process if being passed by Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh. These include several components, including bus enhancements over the next few years, a commuter rail line between Durham and Raleigh reusing the existing old freight rail lines, and (eventually) a new light rail system between Durham and Chapel Hill. As the planning for the light rail system creeps forward, the route it will take is being pinned down. Near us, the line was planned to go from the Friday Center to Meadowmont to Durham (known as the C1 route) until fairly recently an alternative route was proposed to take the rail line east from the Friday Center along the south side of Highway 54 to cross over the wetlands at the same place as the existing bridge for the road (known as the C2 route). Residents of Downing Creek are understandablye concerned about this, and the DCCA Board of Directors have documented several specific concerns we have and feel need to be addressed should the C2 route be named the "Local Preferred Alternative". At the moment both routes are proceeding in parallel through environmental studies, but the time will soon come when a final decision will be made. There will be a public hearing about this at the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transportation Advisory Committee's meeting on January 11th at 9am at Durham City Hall in the 2nd floor Committee Room. If you are interested, here is the link to the agenda. The DCCA Board of Directors sent a letter the the Chapel Hill Town Council when this item was before them, and we are sending another for the TAC meeting. We have chosen not to argue that Meadowmont should be forced to accept the route, though we don't understand why the majority would not want it, but to provide conditions which would need to be met to make the C2 alternative acceptable. If you wish to send your own remarks, you may send them to comments@dchcmpo.org or calling Andy Henry at 560-4366 extension 36419.

Agenda: http://www.dchcmpo.org/agenda/agendafiles/tac/2012-01-11/Agenda%201%2011...