Is Hillsborough ready for rail?

A recently-completed feasibility study has smiled upon the idea of rail service in HIllsborough, and the town is purchasing land for a future station. Amtrak and NC DOT say it makes financial sense, but they also say that it can only work if the town gets serious about long-term planning.

Just in time for the Orange County Comprehensive Plan, which some think is overly reliant on sprawling growth and not doing enough smart land use planning!

The town would need to further develop and adopt a concept plan of how rail service would fit into overall community development, such as plans for land use, road networks and transit, bike and pedestrian access. The rail service would need to coordinate well with other modes of transportation.

A comprehensive review of the local rail infrastructure, including nearby road and pedestrian crossings, would be needed.

The town also would need to locate a site for a rail/transit stop. Concurrently, the town is obtaining property in Central Hillsborough that has the potential to serve as a rail stop and transit center.

Comment on Comprehensive Plan Now, Commissioners to Vote in Fall

Orange County Comprehensive Plan This fall, the Orange County Commissioners are scheduled to approve a new Comprehensive Plan; the first such vote in nearly thirty years! If you work, live or own land in Orange County, the Plan affects you; it sets a vision for how the county will develop over the next 20 years. Please take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of Orange County by voicing your interests and concerns to the Orange County Planning Board and County Commissioners.

Once adopted, the new Comprehensive Plan will begin to impact decisions about our tax base, the kind of jobs and housing created in the county, where new development will occur, what that development will look like, and how we will move about the county.

Let's get Chancellor Thorp off to a good start

Holden Thorp starts his new job tomorrow. I'm feeling very encouraged about his potential to establish a more collaborative relationship between the University and our local governments. I hope he will remember that neither can thrive without the other.

What advice do you have for him?

GA bills on University airport(s) - whose authority? whose power to take land?

At present two bills related to University airport(s) are proposed in the N.C. General Assembly. One is Apodaca's S1962, which has been discussed at some length on OP, designed to prevent the University from building hangars for AHEC planes at RDU and keep HWA open until another airport is built.

The other, about which I'd heard somewhat less, is H2725, sponsored by Yongue, Insko, Glazier (Primary); Bordsen and Faison -- short title: "UNC Operating/Capital Funds/Airport Auth" -- giving UNC board of governors the power to create and maintain state-level airport authorities.

It's a lengthy, typically intricate bill covering a wide range of requirements, needs, and eventualities (including the right to sue and be sued), as well as the construction of authority commissions (the likely membership of which we can certainly speculate about, given the recent history of lobbyist/advocate presence on committees and commissions related to HWA).

The Orange Bus

I see that the BOCC has decided to rename OPT as The Orange Bus, with resultant web-site and advertising changes as well as painting all their vehicles OP-orange. As a side-note, perhaps OP should think about taking out some advertising on the buses. Commissioner Barry Jacobs was against the idea, according to OrangeChat, calling it "too precious" and saying that he thought OPT was just fine. C'mon Commissioner Jacobs, this is a web 2.0 world! I am totally in favor of OPT becoming The Orange Bus. First off, how many of you knew what OPT was the first time you heard the acronym? How many of you know what OPT actually does? But, The Orange Bus, that's easy to understand and by playing on the county name it becomes catchy.

This does raise a question in my mind though and that is, what changes will be made on the website to make it a better tool for potential customers. As it stands right now, I think most people have no idea what OPT does unless they are already using it. How will the website make this information more accessible? I had the opportunity just this morning to tell a coworker moving to Hillsborough about the Hill-to-Hill route - she had no idea that it existed and was very excited about the possibility of not driving every day. How will The Orange Bus get this information out to the public?

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