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UNC Park & Ride program is a good beginning

By Larry Hicks
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005

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Chatham County, NC - Mass transportation ... something the County isn't into as of yet, but UNC, Chapel Hill, and Orange County is serious about. The UNC park and ride lot on 15-501 is a beginning. It is at the county line to be in close proximity to UNC, obviously, because it shortens the routes of the busses, providing greater service coverage. The lot will help reduce pollution, congestion, and reduce the exorbitant cost of fuels for those working at UNC. It's a start. The lot is not deeper into the County, because frankly the County hasn't shown much interest in working with our neighbors to the north (where many go to work, because that is where employment lies ... but that's another issue we can discuss regarding the efforts of the EDC).

UNC puts its commitment, not just in writing, but in cast iron.

The Land Use Plan Implementation Committee, LUPIC, in crafting the original draft of the compact community ordinance, recommended a requirement for park and ride accommodations within a compact community. It had been argued that higher density was required for mass transportation to be successful. In response, the committee recommended a mandated park and ride lot. But the Board at the time chose to eliminate this, among other things, as a requirement.

As for the impact of the UNC park and ride on storm water mitigation, the project accommodates this as well. Frankly storm water management at UNC is a major component of construction ... all impact must be mitigated so that post construction runoff does not exceed pre-construction runoff. For the park and ride, much of the pavement is pervious, rather than impervious, with retention systems beneath. Our neighbors to the north have a better understanding of the impact on our precious water resource, Jordan Lake, than our own county. We, on the other hand, continue to look for ways to lessen the protections, and to avoid the tough choices, e.g. the recent and ongoing discussion on potential changes to accommodate the 10/70 rule of impervious surfaces.

UNC puts its commitment, not just in writing, but in cast iron. If one were to travel onto the center of the UNC campus and look at their storm grates near the Stadium, for example, you will find, cast in iron on the storm water grates themselves, the following: "Dump No Waste - Drains To Jordan Lake". Sounds like a good mantra for Chatham, don't you think?

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