Chapel Hill Station Area Planning

NEW: On May 24, 2017, the consulting team joined with staff from the Town of Chapel Hill and GoTriangle to update six Chapel Hill advisory boards and commissions that review development projects on the status of the station-area planning initiative and to gather their input to help in the preparation of appropriate development standards for station areas. You can view a copy of the presentation given at the start of the meeting.

GoTriangle is collaborating with the Town of Chapel Hill and the City of Durham on an exciting effort to develop walkable neighborhoods that enhance Chapel Hill’s existing communities and leverage high-quality transit network provided by the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project. We’re working with outside experts, local elected officials, and neighborhood leaders to help design neighborhoods that best meet the community’s goals. The effort began in February 2017, and there will be multiple opportunities for public input throughout the rest of the year. When we’re done, we’ll provide our plans to Town Council for their consideration. But there’s one additional voice we need to hear — yours.


We Welcome Your Opinion

We are providing an overview to the community at a presentation on Feb. 22, and we’ll present preliminary results from this initial series of station-area workshops on Feb. 27. In between, we’ll be meeting with community leaders and offering opportunities for the general public to “check in” to see the progress and give more input. Even you can’t make it in person, you’ll have an opportunity to contact the workshop staff here and provide your feedback.

Here is a list of workshops to explore ideas for Durham-Orange light-rail stations. Please join us for one of these meetings. Your feedback is needed! Can't make it to one of the following meetings? Download this presentation to learn more, and leave your comments through this online form.

Chapel Hill Town Council Presentation
7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 13
Chapel Hill Town Hall, Council Chambers

Chapel Hill Community Opening Presentation for D-O LRT Station Area Workshops
 6:30 p.m.  Wednesday, Feb. 22
Chapel Hill Public Library, Meeting Room B
Share your attendance on Facebook!

Durham City Council Work Session Presentation
1 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23
Durham City Hall, Committee Room
Share your attendance on Facebook!​

Chapel Hill Station Area Workshop Community Check-In
6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23
Franklin Hotel Ballroom
311 W. Franklin St, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Station Area Workshop Community Check-In
noon, Saturday, Feb. 25
Franklin Hotel Ballroom
311 W. Franklin St, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Community Open House to review workshop results
6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27
Chapel Hill Town Hall, Council Chambers Lobby

Chapel Hill Community Closing Presentation for D-O LRT Station Area Workshops
7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27
Chapel Hill Town Hall, Council Chambers

Durham and Chapel Hill Additional Community Events
Time and Date: To be announced
Location To be announced


The D-O LRT includes six planned stations in Chapel Hill, each with different opportunities to support the goals of the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan. The UNC Hospitals and Mason Farm Road stations on the UNC campus can support further growth of UNC and the medical campus. The Hamilton Road, Friday Center, and Woodmont stations are part of the NC 54 focus area, and lie along a transportation corridor of increased importance to the community. Finally, the proposed Gateway station poses exciting opportunities for future development of commercial and office space. Its proximity to I-40 and US 15-501, to UNC Hospital’s planned campus at Eastowne, and to the light-rail system provides a unique opportunity for sustainable commercial growth. Learn more by downloading this presentation

We need your input to help make sure the station-area plans meet the goals established in Chapel Hill 2020 process and address your concerns. After the workshops start, we’ll post information about the stations so that you can give feedback on our progress. Each day, we’re posting the comments we receive on the website to continue the community conversation around these station areas.

This effort is part of the work performed under a $2.1 million grant awarded by the Federal Transit Administration to help plan the station areas around the D-O LRT Project, which is projected to open in 2028.

Here are comments we've received:

  • “How can there be more development between Hamilton Rd & Woodmont?” – Lauren, The Oaks

  • “How am I going to cross NC 54?” – Scott, Gateway area

  • “I’d like to see daycare & elder care at the stations” –Elizabeth, Farrington Rd.

  • “How are we protecting floodways & flood plains along the system?” – Julie, Chapel Hill

  • “How are we connecting station areas to the rest of Orange County by Bus?” – Molly, Glen Lennox

  • “Why is the train not going to the airport” – multiple folks

  • “I want to see a good balance between development & open space” – Mary, Durham

  • “Get real about affordable housing” – Diane, North Chapel Hill

  • “Incorporate recreational bike/ped along dry creek & commuter connections along 15-501 – John, Chapel Hill

  • “How will people get from Glen Lennox to the Station Safely” – Tim, Glen Lennox

  • “I want more restaurants, especially non-chains and great dining experiences at Gateway/Patterson Place” – Emily, SW Durham

  • “Does the station have to be named Gateway?” – Linda,  White Oak Neighborhood

  • “This whole light rail needs to be re-designed. The best and most effective place for the train to be placed would be straight up Fordham Blvd and not Raleigh Road. Along Fordham Road there is plenty of parking and load of opportunity for people in the area to walk to the train. The businesses would benefit from this location as well. Running it along route 54 is useless.” – Town of Chapel Hill resident

  •  “I am NOT in favor of the light rail system for our area. We should provide a larger range of transportation services to those who actually use the Buses and other forms of transportation besides driving their own car. I do not believe this serves the greater population of Orange or Durham county who need services. We need more buses, with more routes to reach more people. We can do far more with less money than this light rail will provide. It would make more sense to have a light rail into the Research Triangle Park area to serve tons of people who go to work each day and to take the congestion from I40. I cannot understand how a rail from Duke Hospital to UNC Hospital will actually serve anyone. Who goes between these two locations only. The enormous dollars needed for this light rail could serve and help find jobs for hundreds of homeless folks and help fee children who are in great need in both of our counties. This seems like ano ther pro ject sponsored by those who like to say "Oh aren't we progressive and ahead of our time" with these seemingly FANCY projects that transportation folks like to boast about. It does not serve the greater community and it certainly doesn't serve those who truly need public transit.” – Sherry, station-area resident

  • “Light rail option are great to Durham but what about Raleigh. I work with many people in Raleigh and also am a frequent visitor to the Downtown Raleigh areas. In addition I live near Damascus Church road and drive that road as well as Smith level and Jones Ferry almost everyday. There are many people who risk their safety everyday walking and riding bikes on these roads with no bike trails or sidewalks. There are no bike trails in Chapel Hill that a person can take a long > 5 mile bike ride on without getting on a main road. We desperately need more biking and walking trails.” – Lu, Town of Chapel Hill resident

  • Human activity over car activity. Planning for future use is hard, but a more energy- and land- resource conscious future has a different, required, higher density, form factor than how we use energy and land, today. In an established community, it takes a while to change over to a different way of living. People, per capita, use less energy if they live where destinations are closer together. Land conservation on the perimeter, and for parklands, becomes more possible if we maximize use of the space that is already built on. With urban density in strategic areas where the main roads have public transit, the region becomes more prosperous, while conserving forest and farmland. At the moment, we are adding highway travel lanes to accommodate the commuter, leaving wasted pavement space in the off hours. We build thousands of square miles of impermeable pavement covering fertile and useful land space, just so there is lane space and parking availability for underused private vehicles. Adding train cars to meet demand is more efficient than adding highway travel lanes. Not having to build parking gives use more space for human activity. Build light rail infrastructure, instead of highway lanes and parking, and new taller buildings will fill in around the new corridor. The next generation of users will be able to walk more, meeting future demand on time, energy, and space. – Sarah, Town of Chapel Hill resident

  • Although I am in favor of mass transit, I am not in favor of the D-O LRT project as planned or spending 2.1 million dollars of federal money for "station planning." The project itself is too costly and does not serve the majority of the population in Durham and Orange counties. It will not alleviate traffic congestion as many residents believe as the location of stations will still require one to drive to or be dropped off. The planned Woodmont station is an example of a redundant station (additional station at Friday Center <0.5 miles away) with no parking requiring riders to walk or drive to station. There is minimal land available for development (if that is the vision to supply riders) and there should be concern for the safety of nearby neighborhoods to say nothing of access into and out of Downing Creek and Little John neighborhoods. These concerns have been voiced many times during previous GoTriangle planning sessions and public comment opportunities with no resulting change in the project plan so I am skeptical that this current seeking of public comment will result in any significant changes. Judith – station-area resident, City of Durham resident

  • I believe the stations would help direct development—build our cities/region—much as harbors helped development of NYC, Baltimore, etc. and the fall line (piedmont/coastal plane junction) directed development of 'fall line cities' such as Roanoke Rapids and Raleigh along rivers such as the Roanoke and Neuse.
    It occurred to me at the Sat. 2/26/17 check-in session that the Mason Farm Road station could be used to considerable regional advantage as a park and ride lot. There is considerable growth in Chatham County that will further add to traffic coming up 15-501 and going to points north such as Durham. In the evening, I regularly see southbound traffic backed up from around Manning Drive to NC 54 and beyond, as they are waiting to head back south to Chatham, and to Carrboro, and possibly also to central and western Orange County. A park and ride lot at a Mason Farm station would require a light at Mason Farm/15-501 and allow access for both northbound and southbound 15-501 traffic. This intersection is close enough to the Manning Drive/15-501 intersection to allow the two intersection lights to be synchronized for efficient traffic flow at rush hours. A park and ride at the Mason Farm road station would permit travelers from Chatham and Carrboro and Orange County to stop and take the train into Durham without going through the heavily used Manning Drive/15-501 intersection. Similarly, this arrangement would alleviate future increased vehicular use throughout much of 15-501 from Chapel Hill to Durham. –  Chris, station-area resident, station-area employee, current transit rider, work in the town of Chapel Hill, City of Durham resident

Please provide us with your feedback through the online form. Check back for updates on comments.

Disclaimer: All comments submitted will not necessarily receive a personal response or answer to questions.