“In order to look at some of these, we need to take an overall look at our system and see how things are working,” he said.
The development of the Short Range Transit Plan began in September 2017. The six goals of the plan are to improve transit mode shift, increase ridership, create high-frequency transit corridors, emphasize equity, improve weekend service and enhance the convenience of living without a private vehicle.
Michael Parker, a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council, said this is the third round of community input sessions about changes to Chapel Hill’s transportation systems.
“We had many public sessions where we asked folks what changes they would like to see,” Parker said.
Parker said the changes made to the transit system have to be within a fixed budget the Town Council sets. He said the number one priority of the changes is to be as efficient as possible and to serve as many residents as possible.
According to the Short Range Transit Plan, the next steps for implementation are to get feedback on these changes from the community, get the plan officially approved by the Town Council and develop new schedules and materials.
“I think we want to make sure we got it right,” Parker said. “We want to make sure that we haven’t missed something, that we haven’t made a mistake or anything.”
A concern arising from these potential changes to the transit system is how these changes are going to affect low-income residents in Chapel Hill. Hongbin Gu, a member of the Council, said protecting low-income residents' ability to use public transportation is important.
“Ensuring our decision-making process will protect the most vulnerable in our town, I think that is a very important priority when we come up with this plan,” Gu said.
Parker said the Town is trying to provide the best service possible for residents.
“This is about providing the best service possible, maximizing the use of our resources and perhaps most importantly, doing things in an equitable way,” Parker said. “We need to be serving those folks who are transit-dependent.”
The listening sessions will take place this week. The next meetings will be on:
- Tuesday, Jan. 28 from 4-6 p.m. at Chapel Hill Public Library, in Meeting Room A
- Thursday, Jan. 30 from 9-11 a.m. at UNC Hospitals, Conference Room A (employees and patients only)
- Friday, Jan. 31 from 9-11 a.m. at The Seymour Center
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