Triangle Transit General Manager David King said the current thinking for the commuter service is to build on the four trains Amtrak already runs through the area, plus the two midday runs the national system is adding to its schedule on June 5, 2010.
Durham county commissioner Ellen Reckow says there is increased support for using heavyweight “commuter” trains to link Raleigh, Durham and maybe other towns. Commuter rail shares existing tracks with freight trains. Such a service would offer connections between cities, but stops would be farther apart.
Wednesday’s meeting brought together elected officials from Wake, Durham and Orange counties so they could hear an update from administrators on each county’s transit planning.
All three are planning on large, early expansions of bus service, to build ridership and public support for transit in the short run and serve as feeders into the rail system in the long run. The 2008 recommendations from the Special Transit Advisory Commission also favored a light rail run from the Duke University Hospital area to the UNC campus in Chapel Hill.
What I don’t understand is the exact route that was chosen years ago, utilizing US-15-501-bypass corridor in Durham.
As my quick map shows, a Chapel Hill road route is closer to the denser part of town, and is the same route currently being used by the DATA bus system. Encouraging TOD>transit-oriented-development along this route would provide a much more efficient implementation of transit in our area. An equally efficient alternative can be found for serving Duke University, just as Chapel Hill has done with UNC. Its up to DATA and Duke Transit to start working together.
I am excited about the progressive steps that I am seeing in Triangle’s transit plans. Let me just say that transit means different things to different people and everyone has opinions and biases. Ultimately what we end up using – to get around – will be different than what was imagined earlier.