Staff writer Tammy Grubb’s interviews with light-rail skeptics and point/counterpoint columns by Bob Wilson of Durham and Dave Laudicina of Hillsborough kept the debate going on my Facebook page last week. (1,461 Friends; send me a Friend request and join in).
Will Wilson: I would be a complete supporter if light rail were better coupled with an efficient bus system, and wasn’t slated to go through the New Hope Creek bottomlands. It seems pretty clear that Triangle Transit is ready to sacrifice the last few remaining natural areas in that corridor for light rail transit. That's disappointing.
And in Durham, it seems that bus transit is the last option for getting around, rather than the first. Just last week I saw people needing to navigate pits of mud and standing in the rain to catch a bus that comes along every 30 minutes. Light rail solves transit problems in a one dimensional corridor, not a two dimensional city, and that makes excellent bus service a permanent need that we haven't fulfilled.
Molly McConnell: We need better, wider, more complete and more frequent bus service across the entire community. It takes over two hours and many transfers on a bus to get somewhere that takes 10 to 15 minutes by car in Chapel Hill. Also why doesn't the light rail plan between Chapel Hill and Durham connect to the airport and to current train stations in Durham and Raleigh?
Damon Seils: The Durham and Orange transit plans do include expanded bus service, in both the regional and local systems. Already this fall, with less than a year's worth of transit tax revenues collected, Chapel Hill Transit began expanding weekend and evening services, and the system's partners have already started to discuss how to use next year's allocation (likely to include additional weekend and evening services, shorter headways during peak hours, and more). Opponents of the transit plans want us to think it's all about the light rail project; it's not.
Chris Weaver: If you wish to have light rail, pull out your check book and write a check, and another, and ad infinitum. The return on the dollar is miserable, which is why I suppose it is acceptable to encumber the taxpayers as a whole for this hole.