Important Work on Transit Continues
The final round of Public Workshops on future bus and rail improvements in the Triangle have been held and the Alternatives Analysis reports for the Durham/Orange, Durham/Wake and Wake Corridors have been released. The Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO) and the Durham County Commission have approved the Durham Bus/Rail Investment Plan. On June 27th, Commissioners voted to place a one-half cent sales tax referendum for public transportation (transit) on the general election ballot in November. On November 8th, voters approved a one-half cent sales tax to fund bus and rail improvements.
To learn more about the Durham Bus/Rail Investment plan and to see the Wake and Orange transit planning efforts, click on the link below.
To read the Durham Bus/Rail Investment Plan, click on the link below to go to the web site of the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolican Planning Organization
In 2009, the region’s two planning organizations (Capital Area MPO and Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro MPO) completed work on 2035 Long Range Transportation Plans. The plans include increased bus service and rail service. A coalition of transit, transportation and environmental groups joined to support State House Bill 148, providing for future referenda for funding transit projects using voter-approved sales taxes. Triangle and Triad counties can hold referenda on a one-half cent sales tax for transit. Other counties are permitted to go to the voters for a one-quarter cent sales tax. With passage in the NC General Assembly in summer 2009, Governor Bev Perdue signed the bill into law in August.
Currently, counties in the region are working with Triangle Transit, CAMPO and DCHC to finalize individual county plans which will include enhanced transit options. County Commissions have the authority to call for a referendum when they are satisfied with the transit plans they have decided upon and are ready to go to the voters for funding. The adopted bill also ties state funding into future projects.
The Triangle is home to 1.5 million people and is projected to grow rapidly to 2.5 million people over the next generation, adding more people than currently live in our four largest cities combined: Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill. With the added population will also come changes in its demographic makeup, housing and the propensity for people to want and to use high-quality transit service:
- Those aged 65 and older will grow from less than 10 percent of our population in 2000 to more than 15 percent.
- Proportionately more people will live as singles, couples or other households without young children.
- A significant number of people will continue to live in households without a car, either by choice or necessity; the number of households without cars in the region increased from 27,000 to 29,000 between 1990 and 2000.
- Market research indicates that about 20-30 percent of people would prefer to live in a more compact, walkable neighborhood where people can get to jobs, shopping and recreation without using a car. Where such neighborhoods exist or are built, they typically command a premium over comparable suburban housing, since a much smaller percentage of housing is supplied in this walkable, transit-oriented pattern.
One thing that will not change is the Triangle’s challenge. The number of people that cross a county boundary every day to get to work has ballooned from 57,000 in 1980 to 180,000 in 2000. One of every seven workers who lives in Wake County travels to a job in Durham or Orange counties. And, one of every 10 workers who lives in Durham or Orange counties travels to a job in Wake County. Upwards of 50 percent of the workers in eastern Chatham County, southern Granville and Franklin counties, northwestern Johnston County and northern Harnett County commute.
Riders have embraced transit in the Triangle at levels higher than the national average. In Spring 2008, a 29-member Special Transit Advisory Commission completed work on future options including bus, rail and/or circulators.
- Transit Service Planning: service changes and improvements coming soon
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