Interest in Link from Whiteoak Greenway to ATT Expressed

Citizens in Apex who regularly cycle over to the ATT are now speaking out for Apex or possibly Wake County to look into a future off-road link. This is not a new idea but it's good to see trail users are again speaking out on this proposal. See a Jan. 24th letter to the editor on one user's views.

Surgeon General Visiting Durham

On January 26th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin will be visiting Durham. As part of her activities to promote healthy activities, she will participate in a 30 minute walk on the American Tobacco Trail with members of the Carolina Godiva Track Club. If you would like to join and possibly meet Ms. Benjamin, walk participants will meet at the Southpoint Crossing shopping center at 6pm on the 26th. The CGTC Flyer has more on Ms. Benjamin and the event.

ATT Parking at Chatham--Good Things Coming Fairly Soon

Over the past few months both TRTC and Cary's Parks & Recreation Department have been busy on trying to develop solutions to the serious parking limitations facing trail users at the three crossings in Chatham. We're happy to report that over the next few months users will have access to two new parking areas in Chatham. At the New Hope Road crossing, Cary has recently widened and graded a portion of the utility access road located just east of the trail crossing. Here is a recent view of this interim area. After final surface materials and rolling have been completed in the next month or two, Cary plans to open this area for use as interim parking for trail users. As we have reported earlier, Cary plans for the ATT include a much larger, permanent parking area off of New Hope Church Road to be built in 2013. At Pittard-Sears Road, TRTC has received permission from NCDOT to develop a parking area on a parcel on the north side of Pittard-Sears Road (on the west side of the ATT). Preparing this parcel will require removal of some trees, grading of the section to be used for vehicle parking, and construction of a wide, asphalt apron. A short connector path to the ATT will be built at the north end of the lot. Warm weather users of the Chatham ATT will be glad to know that our plans for Pittard-Sears include putting in a water fountain! We are currently seeking contractor proposals for the major clearing and grading work and hope to break ground by March. This will be our largest project for the next few months so we'll also be holding workdays for our volunteers at this area. We'll be letting our volunteers know the specifics for these workdays in our weekly Emails to trtc-volunteers. During the Spring of 2012 we'll have a number of workdays on this key project so if you are not yet on our list to receive Emails before our workdays, please go to our Volunteers page for sign-up links. Go to our Directions Page if you need driving instructions to the Pittard-Sears crossing.

ATT in Chatham Gets New Signs

In late December Cary installed the long-awaited crossing signs and a few signs to remind users to call out "On your left" when overtaking others on the trail. Signs identifying the ATT and the road being crossed have been installed at New Hope Church Road, Pittard-Sears Road and O'Kelly Chapel Road. Click here to see the New Hope Church Rd. sign.

Bid Process for ATT Phase E Delayed Until January

A wage dispute between the NCDOT and the U.S. Department of Labor has delayed the bid opening for this project. The dispute involves estimates the Labor Department uses to set wage rates for projects that use federal money, such as the long-awaited pedestrian/cyclist bridge near Southpoint Mall.

City Manager Tom Bonfield notified City Council members Thursday that the dispute won't be settled until after Jan. 1. Therefore, the bid opening scheduled for Dec. 15 has been pushed off until Jan. 25. To read more please see article in the News & Observer.com
Good News in late December: N.C. Department of Transportation officials have given Durham the all-clear to take new bids on Jan. 25 from contractors interested in building the bridge over I-40 and construction of ~4 miles of trail (Phase E of the ATT). DOT had tried to delay the use of new Federal wage guidelines on new projects until later in 2012 but has now decided to let Durham proceed with this procurement. For more on this story please see the recent Herald-Sun article To see planning and bid documents and periodic reports on the status of Phase E, you may want to access the City's web site.

NC DOT Starts Study of Rail Crossings in Durham

State officials will hold three meetings this week (Nov. 28--Dec 2) to get public comments on Durham County railroad crossings.
The "visioning workshops" are the start of a "Traffic Separation Study" aimed at improving safety, and the public's opinion matters, said city Transportation Director Mark Ahrendsen. "Anything that's done with these crossings ... affects communities as well," he said.
Depending on the study results and cost estimates, some crossings could get stoplights or gates, be converted to over- or underpasses or be closed. Where money for improvements might come from is a question for later, said Sandra Stepney, spokeswoman at the N.C. Department of Transportation Rail Division. "This is just the study phase," she said.
The study covers 18 crossings on the railroad's 12.7-mile corridor between Neal and Cornwallis roads.
Anticipating an increase in passenger traffic on the N.C. Railroad line, the state transportation board appropriated $140,000 for the study, with Triangle Transit, the city of Durham and Norfolk Southern Railway chipping in $20,000 apiece.
In 2004, Norfolk Southern suggested closing the Blackwell Street crossing and offered $4 million to build a pedestrian underpass connecting the American Tobacco and Diamond View office complexes with downtown. City officials refused to go along with the idea and suggested a bridge to carry the tracks over a rebuilt Blackwell Street. The railroad dismissed that proposal as too expensive. The company also dismissed Downtown Durham Inc. CEO Bill Kalkhof's suggestion to rebuild the tracks to run underground.
These workshops will have a "drop-in" format and be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at these locations:

* Monday, Nov. 28: Durham Armory, 212 Foster Street, for downtown crossings between Gregson Street and Driver Street.

* Tuesday, Nov. 29: Trinity Ballroom, Hilton Durham, 3800 Hillsborough Road, for crossings in west Durham between Neal Road and Buchanan Boulevard.

* Thursday, Dec. 1: NC Biotechnology Center, Hamner Conference Center - Glaxo Galleria, 15 T.W. Alexander Drive in RTP, for closings in eastern Durham between Ellis and Cornwallis Roads.

DOT will take written comments until Jan. 6 and pedestrian safety recommendations are due by the end of January. The full study is scheduled to run until April 2013.

To read more please see: http://blogs.newsobserver.com/crosstown/ncdot-proposes-to-close-18-stree...

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