“Your plan is a very rich plan for public transit,” he said.
Cochran said the future of Chapel Hill transit could also include improved pedestrian and bicycle access — especially around Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
“MLK is really a real transit-rich corridor,” he said.
Cochran said a 2009 transit study looked at adding bus lanes to the boulevard, which would allow for more bus service. He said a more detailed study will be done in 2013.
According to a possible transit plan for 2040, there may also someday be express buses for MLK, Cochran said.
Martin said it is important to look at these projects many years in advance because they can take decades to implement.
And he said at the beginning of the process, it is important to look at what the community needs.
“We develop what the needs would be for the transportation system,” he said. “What would our transportation plan look like if we could build everything we want to?”
But identifying funding for longer-term transit projects can be difficult.
The state has about $1.6 billion set aside for new projects — which is less than Martin and Cochran consider ideal.
“Problem: We don’t have enough money,” he said.
Martin said the state’s gasoline tax is not bringing in as much as it used to, and the state is making up the lost revenue through programs like toll roads.
Despite the shortage of money, many agree growing transportation is important for Chapel Hill.
Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich said she thinks Chapel Hill needs to increase its bus services.
“As long as UNC continues to build and build more on to their hospitals, UNC Hospitals, we know more people are going to come here,” she said. “We need to be prepared.”
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