Position on the Durham Transit Plan
Adopted by the Coalition for Affordable Housing and Transit Coordinating Committee
April 4, 2022
The new Durham Transit Plan will allocate approximately one billion dollars in local transit funds over the next 20 years. We support and advocate for these funds, as well as other transit funds from local, state, and federal sources, to be used to achieve two specific and vital goals; namely a substantial increase in our bus services and passenger rail service providing links to and for all Durham neighborhoods, and to RTP and Raleigh.
1. In light of decades of transit underinvestment in some parts of Durham, particularly in heritage black and brown neighborhoods, we believe racial equity requires that substantial new bus service and facilities must be provided to these historically underserved areas. We specifically call for the Transit Plan to fund improved bus service and facilities including sheltered, ADA-compliant bus stops and adjacent sidewalks for historic black neighborhoods including Bragtown, Merrick Moore, Walltown, Old Farm, and North East Durham, as well as every other underserved community of color. Economic justice requires the same for economically transit-dependent neighborhoods that are currently underserved by our bus system. Addressing these neighborhoods long underserved by transit should be a first priority for the new Transit Plan.
We believe that new bus services can and must begin to be put in place as soon as 2022 and each year thereafter. We call for the needed new bus service to underserved neighborhoods to start this year, with a priority for 15-minute service for Route 9 serving the Bragtown neighborhood with shelters at the Bragtown Library on Dearborn, Bluefields/Club Blvd public and turnkey housing, and major intersections including East Club Blvd and Dearborn.
2. Because transit funding can only address the needs for sidewalk improvements within a very short distance of a bus stop, we call for the County and City governments to provide the funding needed for sidewalks, bus stops and bike lanes that will allow these underserved communities of color and economically transit-dependent neighborhoods to have safe, ADA-compliant sheltered bus stops in their neighborhoods. Diverse neighborhood groups should be established to advise and oversee development of this infrastructure.
3. We believe that Durham needs a transit system with frequent, reliable bus service that serves the whole Durham community well with connections to fast passenger rail transit to other major job and activity centers, starting with the Research Triangle Park and Wake County. Simply put, Durham will not meet its transportation challenges in the next two decades until it has both an excellent local bus system and regional passenger rail transit.
All Durham residents should have ready access to the estimated 65% or more of the new jobs created regionally in the coming 20 years. This is a key transit equity and economic justice concern, and all Durham residents should have access to our region’s economic opportunities. Also, today an estimated 30,000 Durham residents who do have cars sit in congested traffic many workdays while trying to reach their jobs in Wake County. Those who do not have cars are burdened by the time it takes with public transit to reach these job centers. These problems will only grow worse in coming years.
Durham can help our region begin to provide the rail transit that is needed here and elsewhere to address our climate change crisis. Finally, a failure to begin now to address the need for fast, safe rail connections in our region will mean at least another generation will pass before even a start can be made.
We understand that a passenger rail project will require at least four years of planning and then two years of construction, and we call for substantial new bus services to be implemented in the early years of the Transit Plan while also providing funding for the rail planning work needed. We can do both, and we should do both.
Dear PA Members,
I hope you all are doing well! I am so excited to see everyone at our membership meeting this Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at The Fruit. Food and drinks will be provided. It will be a great moment to fellowship together as Durham’s progressive community. Please register here.
During the business portion of the membership meeting, we will hear updates about the action teams, discuss our strategic planning process, approve our 2023 budget, and elect Chapter and PAC board members and officers. The PA Chapter Board are pleased to announce the following nominees:
- Carina Barnett-Loro
- Allan Freyer
- Mike Lee
- Lao Rubert
- Adam Stromme
The PA PAC Board are pleased to announce the following nominees:
- Leah Josephson
- Monica Burnette
Following your ratification, we are excited to officially welcome these talented individuals to the Boards. Additionally, current Chapter board members Sally Hodges-Copple, Italo Medelius, Carl Rist, and Adam Beyer will continue their service. Current PAC board members Nana Assante-Smith, Rochelle Sparko, Rann Bar-On and Yesenia Polanco will continue their service.
I also wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and thank Sendolo Diaminah. Sendolo has served on the Board for the past two years and has been an invaluable source of wisdom and stability during a time of transition for PA. We are so grateful for Sendolo’s service on the Board!
On another note, last month’s newsletter included a Harriett Tubman quote intended to inspire action ahead of the elections. Unfortunately, its language was also a painful reminder of this country’s history of slavery. We apologize for any offense its usage caused.
It has been a busy year for us at the People’s Alliance! In the coming weeks, we will share a document with you highlighting some of our accomplishments, but as a preview we: hosted multiple progressive issue forms, supported partner organizations around Durham and North Carolina, and embarked on our first ever strategic planning process. And there’s so much more to come in 2023.
Importantly, we hired our new Lead Coordinator, Ann Rebeck. She has been instrumental in supporting Action Teams, working closely with members, and organizing our events. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet her, please do so! She would love to find a way to get to know you and help you join our work in 2023 and beyond.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your continued support of the People’s Alliance. Together, we are making Durham a model progressive community.
President, People’s Alliance Board of Directors