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Hypocritical Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities group promotes the Major Corridor Ordinance while opposing US 64 plans

By Donna Kelly
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - For anyone that’s interested in the US 64 proposal I strongly recommend going to the NC DOT website to view all the details about the plan, not just the talking points that Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities (CCEC) and our current Board of Commissioners have been promoting lately. I was very disappointed to see that CCEC did not list the North Carolina Department of Transportation web site in their links for more information although it was mentioned in one of their bulletins at least.

This project started in December 2007. The proposal has been refined after public meetings in 2008 and 2009. A final draft was released May 5, 2010 with public comment accepted from May 5 until June 30, 2010. During this process NCDOT sent out newsletters to affected property owners, meetings were announced in local papers and on TV and anyone that was interested in the proposal could have been added to their email list at any time during the study period. They really did make an effort to seek public input and received quite a lot.

While I have my complaints about DOT at times, this is an attempt to be proactive and consider long range options to deal with increasing traffic based on actual numbers. NCDOT has to balance all the uses of US64 as a state and regional highway as well as local uses. Many of the arguments I’ve been hearing against this proposal have nothing to do with the actual proposal but a desire to move in directions that are not under control of this study. Although it’s being characterized as a proposal to create an alternative to I-85/40 it’s actual a recognition that this is already happening and an attempt to deal with the reality that traffic on US64 is increasing for many reasons.

Although characterized as the same old reaction of just building more highways, North Carolina is actually a national leader in the use of alternatives, such as Superstreets, to move traffic more safely and efficiently without building more highways. I’ll admit Superstreets do appear confusing at first, but after talking with a number of people at one of last year’s meetings I gained a better understanding of how they work. Here’s an interesting report on the Superstreet concept.

The short range plan which includes the Superstreet could be phased in as the need occurs in specific areas and money becomes available. The long range plan which includes limited access would only be phased in when the short term solutions can no longer handle the traffic. The long range plan does not preclude other options that may delay the need even longer. The real need right now is at the eastern end of the study area in Cary while the need decreases as you travel west into Chatham County. It’s likely that the short term plan will suffice longer than 30 year, especially further west and possible that the long term plan will never be needed.

There will be additional public input and more detailed planning before anything is done. This plan is just an overall guide to what may happen in the future. It’s amazing that many of the same people that were promoting the BOC’s Major Corridor Ordinance and the Land Use Plan are so incensed by this plan. It seems rather hypocritical that opponents to the Board of Commissioners' plans are told that they’re being unreasonable but when the Board of Commissioners' supporters are in opposition to NCDOT’s plans there is no limit to the amount of input and influence they feel they should have in that process.

Long range planning as a general guide can be a good idea but no one can foresee the future. It’s when plans are drawn up to deal with imaginary future problems or the aesthetic preferences of a select group of individuals and rigidly applied to current conditions that they are unacceptable. While not perfect, this plan is based on actual numbers and observed growth patterns.

Again I encourage anyone interested in this plan to go to the NCDOT website and read about what NCDOT is actually proposing rather than just reacting to what some people are afraid is going to happen.

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Hypocritical Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities group promotes the Major Corridor Ordinance while opposing US 64 plans

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