Blogs

Recent updates make walking and biking even easier in our towns

Our Carrboro and Chapel Hill communities have made a number of efforts lately to improve connectivity in their downtowns and improve the walking and cycling experience for residents. Carrboro is already recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community, the only silver-level awardee in North Carolina. Chapel Hill is a bronze-level awardee. But there's always more to be done, to enhance the safety and convenience of getting around by bike and on foot. Several new improvements have recently been completed or are in the works. Our university is getting into the act too.

Bike Fixit Stations. At Wilson Park in Carrboro, the Town installed the first of three bike repair stations, followed in short order by the other two at the Libba Cotten Bikeway and at Town Hall. The tools and pumps at the stations are protected by simple shelters so that riders can make minor repairs or just fill their tires without exposure to rain or hot sun.

Fixit Station

Morgan creek trail expansion in Chapel Hill

The Morgan creek trail has been in place and heavily used by residents of Chapel Hill for some time.  The paths popularity is in spite of being isolated and lacking any connectivity at the ends.  Most people, wanting to enjoy this fine path must drive on a highway, and then park their cars in a lot that is often overflowing on weekends.  Families, living only a couple hundred yards away on either end, have no safe way to reach the greenway other than to drive there in a car.  

Town counter data backs up how popular this trail really is.  A counter, installed on the path last year, recorded an average of 307 trips per day on the trail over the last 329 days. A total of 101,297 trips in all. Most users of the trail pass the counter twice as they head in and out from the lot, so that is over 50 thousand trips in less than a year.

When I have run past the lot for this trail, and seen bikes loaded up on cars, I wondered why the town cannot make it fully accessible to the thousands that use it.  My feelings were this situation is a failure in urban planning to have a recreational facility that requires a majority of the people to drive there to access *

Chapel Hill has open data - Now what?

The latest column published in the Chapel Hill News by OrangePolitics editors Jason Baker and Molly De Marco plus Josh Mayo asks: "Now that Chapel Hill is providing access to their data, what are we going to do with it?" Read more here and share your thoughts below:

On Jan. 14, Chapel Hill’s town staff held an event at the public library to introduce the town’s new open data portal to the community, and gather feedback about where to take it going forward.

If you haven’t yet seen the portal, we encourage you to visit www.chapelhillopendata.org. Launched last summer, the portal is a platform for sharing the data the town collects and manages so that citizens can use this information, that is essentially ours in the first place, to help make our community a better place.

The Role of BRT in the Durham Orange Transit Corridor

With the rollout of regional transit plans in our area, we can see that Wake County plans 20 miles of bus rapid transit (BRT) routes.  Here in Orange County, we have an 8 mile BRT route planned in additional to a proposed 18 mile light rail line connecting Durham and Chapel Hill.  Should we deploy BRT as the anchor of our transit network and replace the Durham Orange Light Rail line with BRT?

First, a bit about BRT.  It takes many of the things that make riding light rail transit (LRT) attractive, but uses diesel buses in dedicated exclusive roadways instead of electric rail cars on tracks.  A true BRT system has stations with shelters and raised platforms like LRT.  Fares are paid in advance to speed loading and buses come at regular intervals.  Most importantly, a true BRT system has its own exclusive roadway.  If the bus is stuck in the same traffic with cars, it’s not really “gold standard” BRT.  It’s just a bus.

Immigration forum

This evening I attended a Chapel Hill/UNC forum about immigration and the law. The county sheriff and town police chief were there. They said the IDs issued by Faith Groups were very helpful and encouraged other districts to use them. The current Trump immigration order bans refugees from all countries not just the 7 nations often listed. None of the officials remember any local police being involved with deporting people. However, depending on the crime someone is arrested for, data is entered into systems which can be accessed by ICE. The immigration lawyers present advised legal immigrants with visas or Green Cards not to travel outside of the US nor near the US border states.

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