Meeting the Access Management Challenges of Downtown Carrboro

I was going to try to re-hash the following into a column for the Citizen, but the issue of access in downtown Carrboro has generated so much discussion this week I figure I might as well put this out now. Below the jump is an email I sent to Mayor Chilton and all members of the BOA regarding the broad issue of access to downtown, and a sampling of several Transportation Demand Mangement strategies the town could pursue.

Letters take liberties with logic

A couple of recent letters to the editor are stretching logic and hyperbole in order to make their points. I think they end up having the opposite effect. In today's Daily Tar Heel for example, senior Chris Garrison complains that "if Benito Mussolini can get public transportation to run on schedule" why can't Chapel Hill? Do we really have to answer that, Chris?

In last week's Independent Weekly, Sharon Cook wrote a letter taking issue with that paper's October 2007 characterization of her as a newcomer to the issue of justice for the African-American neighbors of the landfill. She accused the Indy of shoddy reporting, and explained her history of supporting her Rogers Road neighbors.

Hillsborough hopes for trains

Apparently some Hillsborough residents are working to restore train service to their town. It sounds encouraging, although I'm confused that they didn't mention TTA or plans for regional rail connections.

The potential of commuter rail service returning to Hillsborough is part of a study being conducted by engineering firm HNTB, which was presented last week to town officials and residents.

Jim Kessler, an HNTB representative, explained the scope of the study that explores the possibility of passenger trains stopping through Hillsborough. The study, which began in October and will conclude in June 2008, will explore how well-suited the current rail system is to passenger service, Kessler said. It is not, he added, a feasibility study that would lead directly into restoring those services.


TTA giving 20 pennies for your thoughts

As printed in the Chapel Hill Herald on Saturday, March 3rd:

Do you use public transportation very often? If not, what would you encourage you to use it more? Wireless Internet? More comfortable buses?

The Triangle Transit Authority is asking those questions in a creative web survey currently available on its site at Folks are given twenty “pennies” to spend on a variety of possible upgrades to buses as the agency makes replacements in its fleet.

Some of the items are pretty cheap. One-penny upgrades include things like expanding the front-of-bus rack to accommodate three bikes rather than the current two or to install 10 bike lockers per year at various stops around the Triangle.

Others are so expensive they will use up almost your entire “budget.”

For instance, putting a rear window on the back of the bus would cost 16 pennies and implementing Sunday service would require all of your money.

I take the bus every day to work in Raleigh at the Sierra Club so I devoted my greatest expenditure of six pennies to fuel the buses using B20 biodiesel.

Thank you, Mr. Moeser

People keep e-mailing me about it, so I might as well blog it: on Friday the Chancellor of UNC wrote a letter to local elected officials pledging to not pursue the 17,000 parking spaces that were previously proposed for Carolina North, and to cooperate with the regional transit study in which UNC was already supposed to be a partner.

Coverage from WCHL (with audio clips, cool!), Chapel Hill Herald, and a mention in the News & Observer (scroll down).

I appreciate the Chancellor's affirmation that the community has some part to play in making Carolina North successful.



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