Durham Urged to Use Earmark Funds for Rail Corridor Soon

In late July 2010, Durham received a letter from Congressman David Price urging them to take prompt action to obligate $2 million appropriated in 2005 for preservation of a rail corridor. At that time Durham was negotiating with Norfolk-Southern (NSC) for a short corridor commonly referred to as the beltline. Those talks broke down but NSC has recently indicated it is interested in renewing discussions about at least a portion of the beltline. The urgency arises because the House has passed a bill seeking to rescind some $713 million in old, unspent funds for transportation. While these corridor funds are not included, Price's staff believe other unspent earmarks may also be vulnerable to rescission. For a fuller discussion, please see the recent Herald-Sun article. At it's August 2 meeting, TRTC's Board moved to request the City Council, the Durham County Commissioners and several other officials to find a way to make use of the $2 million in transportation funds that was earmarked for the city's preservation of rail corridors, and to offer our wholehearted support for this effort. If acquisition of the beltline corridor cannot be accomplished, other potential acquisitions should be considered, including a long-abandoned north-south corridor ending at Falls Lake. We'll report on this again in the near future as we learn of efforts by local governments to work out a deal for acquiring a local corridor.

Update on Repaving of ATT and Other Durham Trails

Repaving efforts began in May and are continuing. The contractor plans to repair and pave trails in the following order:

  1. The American Tobacco Trail between Cook Rd and Riddle Road
  2. The Riddle Road Spur Trail
  3. The American Tobacco Trail between Riddle Road and Morehead (downtown)
  4. The American Tobacco Trail between NC 54 and Dunhill
  5. The North-South Greenway Trail between Lavender and Murray.

Repairs to the pavement surface of the Riddle Road trail will begin on Monday, August 9. Paving will begin on Tuesday, August 10. The contractor will first pave the American Tobacco Trail between Juliette and Cook, and between Cornwallis Rd and Riddle Road, then will begin paving the Riddle Road trail. This may take multiple days.

Following the completion of the Riddle Road Trail, the contractor will resume paving the American Tobacco Trail between Riddle Road and downtown Durham.

Survey on High Speed Rail Corridor

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement process, NC DOT is seeking public input through a series of hearings and a short on-line survey. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. This new corridor will include a designated portion on which a trail can be constructed and we want to let the State know we strongly support this an want DOT and other State agencies to take an active role in getting trails planned and constructed from the VA line to Raleigh.

General Assembly Retains Funding for Adopt-A-Trail Grants

Great news! The General Assembly just passed a budget that retains full funding of $108,000 for Adopt-a-Trail, despite the extremely tough financial situation faced by state government this year. Thanks for your help in telling legislators about the value of the program. Legislators did report they heard from constituents, and that really made a difference in such a difficult year. Please take a moment now to thank your legislators for supporting the program. They will appreciate it, and it will help strengthen the support for future funding.

Here is contact information for House members and for Senators.

Trail Users Hear of ATT History, Key Players at Dedication of Chatham Section

About 100 people came out to the June 5th dedication. Information on the trail and related topics was available at several booths. Attendees heard remarks from Chatham, Durham, the town of Cary, NCDOT, NC Rail-Trails, TRTC and from Speaker of the NC House, Joe Hackney. For pictures please go to the American Tobacco Trail page on Flickr.

Parking at ATT Crossings in Chatham County

Over the past few months NC DOT and Chatham County have been examining traffic patterns and parking at both the O'Kelly Chapel and New Hope Church crossings. Significant and fairly high speed traffic is typical at both locations. In light of this high volume vehicle traffic and the limited sight lines at O'Kelly, DOT and Chatham have decided to limit road-side parking near the crossing. NO PARKING signs will be installed during June. Reduced speed limits for these roads are also being considered. Some discussion of this situation can be found in a recent Chatham Journal article. As noted in the article, Chatham is planning and budgeting for a dedicated trailhead parking area on New Hope Church Road to be opened in 2013. Trail users are urged to park at either the Pittard-Sears crossing or at the White Oak Church Road trailhead.

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