Neighbors of planned light rail stations in Durham County speak out

DURHAM (WNCN) – Neighbors living near the proposed train stations that would be part of the Durham-Orange light rail project got a chance to have some of the concerns about the plan addressed Tuesday.

Adele Mittelstadt lives near the Leigh Village station in Durham County. She says she and her neighbors are worried about potential impacts on response to 911 calls.

“It will create a delay, we feel, for emergency response people to get to us,” she said. “They will have to stop every ten minutes for the train to go by to be able to get to us.”

Tom Englund, who also lives in Durham County, is concerned about the train repair facility being built near his home.

“It will be destructive to land values and home values in my immediate neighborhood,” he said.

Hannah Jacobson, a planner with the Durham City-County Planning Department, explained the goal is to create “compact neighborhoods” in the areas near the stations, allowing for a mix of retail, housing and other development.

“This is a very complicated, long-term planning project,” she said. “One of the reasons that we’re starting this so early (it’s almost ten years before the train gets going) is that a lot of these issues are very complicated. We need to start preparing and identifying what those issues are now.”

Some people in Durham are welcoming the potential for change, even with the prospect of additional traffic congestion while the stations are being constructed.

“It would be a little congested, but I believe everybody would be able to get through it,” said Lisa Green, who lives near the proposed Alston Avenue Station.

The project calls for nearly a dozen stations to be built in Durham County. Tuesday’s meeting primarily focused on the areas of: Leigh Village, Patterson Place and South Square.

Click here for a more detailed map of where the stations will be:

Planners will hold another meeting on Tuesday, October 27, which will address the areas of Erwin Road and Alston Avenue, where additional train stops are proposed. That meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Durham County Commissioners’ Chambers at 200 East Main Street.

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