FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEXT Chapel Hill – Carrboro Calls on DCHCMPO to Remove NCDOT’s Exit 270 Interchange Re-Design from the State Prioritization Of Transportation (SPOT) Process Until NCDOT Coordinates with Local Government and Transit Agencies to Include Appropriate Transit Facilities in the Design
June 5th, 2023
NCDOT has released a proposed re-design for I-40’s Exit 270 between Durham and Chapel Hill that ignores much of the more thoughtful, collaborative work done in recent years, and instead presents a design that ignores local goals with an unrealistic timeline for review and comment. DCHCMPO should use every legislative tool in its power to remove this proposal from the SPOT process until a better design that incorporates municipal and MPO-level goals can be completed.
In 2020, the Durham-Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHCMPO) took the important step of removing several highway widening projects from its Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) to better support the DCHCMPO’s goals for safety, sustainability, and equity.
Later in 2020, NCDOT worked with the DCHCMPO, the Town of Chapel Hill, the City of Durham and transit agencies such as GoTriangle, GoDurham and Chapel Hill Transit, to produce a conceptual design for US 15-501 that identified dedicated bus transit facilities from Ephesus Church Rd and Fordham Blvd in Chapel Hill to Garrett Rd in Durham (https://www.dchcmpo.org/what-we-do/programs-plans/special-studies/us-15-501-corridor-study-durham-chapel-hill).
While the 2020 Concept Design could still be improved, it nevertheless represented a solid first step in planning for fast, reliable transit with dedicated lanes in the US 15-501 corridor with NCDOT and other local agencies partnering to produce a design that addresses multimodal priorities and not simply auto throughput.
NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro is deeply disappointed to see this design rushed forward without reasonable local input, and without any inclusion of the transit facilities identified in the 2020 US 15-501 study.
NCDOT has, on its website, training slides related to its Complete Streets policy, which state the goals of the program to be to:
- Reduce pedestrian crashes and unsafe conditions
- Improve access and mobility for those without a vehicle
- Enhance quality of life by providing transportation choices
- Ensure NCDOT has an equitable transportation system that works for everyone
“The design proposed by NCDOT has pedestrians walking across free-flowing interstate access ramps, and lacks any transit facilities whatsoever. It not only fails to meet DCHC’s goals, the NCDOT proposal fails to meet NCDOT’s own Complete Streets goals,” said NEXT Chapel Hill – Carrboro Board Member Molly De Marco. “It’s time to pull this failed design from the discussion table and start over.”