Durham residents got to have their say on plans for expanded regional rail and bus service at a Triangle Transit presentation Wednesday afternoon.
The centerpiece of the workshop — one of seven being held in Durham, Orange and Wake counties in the third and final round of public meetings before detailed transit recommendations are scheduled to be presented this summer — was unquestionably a set of three separate railroad proposals. Triangle Transit and its partners have laid out a set of routes and stations, none of them final, that would enable travelers to move around the region without cars.
Both the Durham-Orange and the Wake train systems, or “corridors” as the planners call them, would run on newly installed light rail tracks and run from morning till night. The Durham-Wake system would feature commuter trains running on existing freight lines. The latter service is geared to moving 9-to-5ers between Durham, Research Triangle Park, Cary, N.C. State, downtown Raleigh and even Johnston County.
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Plenty of information was laid out on poster boards and tables Wednesday. Here’s a quick sketch of the bottom line:
* The Durham-Orange corridor (detailed map; other info here) would run 17 miles from UNC hospitals to Durham’s Alston Avenue, feature 17 stations, take 34 minutes to travel end to end, and cost about $1.4 billion to construct in 2010 money ($82 million per mile). It would carry 10,000 to 12,000 riders a day in 2035 and cost $14.3 million annually to operate (in 2010 dollars).
* The Durham-Wake corridor (detailed map; other info here) would run 37 miles between Duke hospitals and Greenfield at the Wake-Johnston line, feature 12 stations, take 51 minutes to traverse, and cost $629 million to build ($17 million per mile). It would carry 6,500 to 7,500 riders daily and cost $10.9 million to operate.
* The Wake corridor (detailed map; other info here) would run 18 miles from Cary to downtown Raleigh to the Triangle Town Center in North Raleigh, feature 20 stations, take 34 to 41 minutes to traverse, and cost from $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion to construct ($78 million to $89 million per mile). It would carry 14,000 to 15,000 riders daily and cost $15.5 million to operate.
The Durham-Wake cost is significantly lower than its counterparts’ because that system would mainly use existing freight tracks. That’s a big difference from the train proposal that was scrapped in 2006, which would have required new light rail tracks to be laid between Durham and Raleigh.