By Susan Dickson
CARRBORO â€“Â In a move that could make commuting from Carrboro to Durham a little easier, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen on Tuesday voted unanimously to ask Triangle Transit to extend service with a stop in downtown Carrboro.
Triangle Transit provides regional bus service as far east as Zebulon and as far west as Chapel Hill. Triangle Transit had a stop at Carrboro Plaza in the 1990s, but service was discontinued, with the closest stop to Carrboro now at Carolina Coffee Shop on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
The board earlier this year asked town transportation planner Jeff Brubaker to look into the feasibility of park-and-ride lots that would serve a Triangle Transit stop on West Weaver Street, at Wilson Park or at Hank Anderson Park. Brubaker reported that the town could issue hangtag permits for park-and-ride spaces at lots, but that enforcement would be difficult given current staffing levels at the Carrboro Police Department.
As an alternative, Brubaker said the town could simply request a Triangle Transit stop in downtown Carrboro without parking, since only about a quarter of riders drive to their stops, with the remainder walking, using local buses, getting dropped off or biking to get to stops.
Using the town municipal lot at West Weaver Street or parking lots at Wilson or Hank Anderson parks would reduce space for other use in addition to requiring enforcement, Brubaker said.
Even if the town canâ€™t create a park-and-ride lot, board member Jacquie Gist said, â€œIt looks like the best alternative may be [just] getting some Triangle Transit stops here.â€
According to the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.3 percent of Carrboro residents who commute to work use public transit, compared with 10.3 percent in Chapel Hill, 1.7 percent in the Triangle and 1 percent statewide.
According to 2000 census data, 1,330 Carrboro residents commuted to somewhere in Durham, with 274 of those commuting to areas served by Triangle Transitâ€™s 405 route, including Dukeâ€™s west campus, Duke Hospitals, the VA Hospital, the American Tobacco District and the majority of downtown Durham.