GoTriangle is inviting members of the community to comment on proposed changes to the plan for a light rail system that it plans to begin constructing in 2020.
According to GoTriangle officials, the changes reflect a Federal Transit Administration review and public feedback suggesting frustration with certain aspects of the the light rail’s initial design.
The system will run through Durham and Orange Counties’ with the goal of connecting Durham and Chapel Hill and providing “about 24,000 trips a day to residents and commuters connecting to jobs, education and healthcare.” In August, the Durham County Board of Commissioners voted to fill a $57.6 million state funding gap for the project, a decision that brought about criticism from many who believe it to be a bad use of taxpayer dollars.
The preliminary design plans presented publicly by GoTriangle in April also earned pushback from the public. In July, a local urban design group named Durham Area Designers penned a letter to the company’s board “critiquing both station aesthetics and the transparency of the process.”
Now, GoTriangle has presented its plans and proposed changes in a detailed “online meeting” that allows users to add comments to any section. The site will be open for feedback until Nov. 30, and there will also be a public meeting held on Nov. 19 in which people can go inspect the designs in person and offer their critique. Two other public meetings took place earlier this month.
The new changes are “meant to keep project costs in line, provide better pedestrian and bike access, and get the most benefit from future station-area development.” Some of them would affect the entire system, such as the incorporation of smaller station platforms that serves two train cars rather than three.
Other adjustments address problem spots at specific stations caused by parking lots and rail segments, such as the switch to a single-track bridge across New Hope Creek.