Letter to CH News re Light Rail

 Think about Efficiency and Safety

I like the idea of fast trains between Chapel Hill and Durham. I voted for the half-cent tax. But the system planned by GoTriangle is not what I voted for. How about you? Can you afford $2.5 billion (at least) for a train slower than current bus routes and very hard to get to unless you live and work at UNC Hospitals, the VA or Duke?

I find it baffling that county commissioners have allowed GoTriangle to proceed to the plan’s engineering phase. Are they blinded by the shiny cars?

A 2015 traffic impact report by UNC states “In addition to finding appropriate sites for more Park & Ride, the key to a successful P&R system is the ability to run an efficient and quick transit shuttle service to Main Campus.”

Efficient and quick do not apply to the current plan, with or without more P&R. Today one can get from Chapel Hill to Durham by bus faster than on the projected light rail system. And it won’t be available until 2028! Road traffic certainly will increase by 2028, but electric buses can serve everyone in the county much sooner and at one-tenth the cost. Duke Energy has noticed and offered Chapel Hill Transit a free charging station on a trial basis. Why not try that?

The many ground-level street crossings make safety a big issue with rail. This plan is not glamorous, safe or efficient. Ask your commissioners/councils for a better one. Your tax burden depends on your efforts.

Joan Guilkey

Chapel Hill

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