The regional bus and transportation planning agency GoTriangle has released an advance copy of the draft environmental impact statement for the Durham-Orange light rail line proposal. The statement is to be published formally later this week by the Federal Transit Administration. You can read about the impact statement and comment online here.
GoTriangle spokeswoman Natalie Murdock said the statement is a significant milestone for the project, because it narrows down a final route for the rail line. She said this should help the public focus their questions and feedback.
"This is what's being proposed by GoTriangle and the FTA. They can give us specific feedback about those specific locations. So instead of different variations, they'll know specifically what the impact to those communities may be," she said.
The statement narrows down route options and addresses logistical concerns of some groups, including the Durham VA and Levin Jewish Community Center. But some people near the "C2A" segment proposed along the south side of Highway 54 in Chapel Hill are still concerned.
Lynn Culton, a manager of the Downing Creek Community Association, said her residents worry GoTriangle didn't study their area well enough, and that the proposed road level line will block traffic, strand residents and encroach on parking options.
"People in other areas voiced their concerns and were listened to. Nothing was spoken of 'C2A' until much, much, much later in the game, and we feel like it kind of just slipped through the cracks," Culton said.
Culton said she hopes GoTriangle will move the rail line north of Highway 54, elevate it, or move it along the roadway's median.
GoTriangle will host public information sessions and public hearings for Sept. 15, 4-7 p.m., at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, and Sept. 19, 2-5 p.m., at the Durham Station Transportation Center in Durham.
The agency will also host two formal public hearings planned for Sept. 29, 4-7 p.m., at the Friday Center, and Oct. 1, 4-7 p.m., in the Durham County Commissioners chamber, 200 E. Main St., Durham.