Durham County leaders OK light rail stop at NC Central

Photo Courtesy: ourtransitfuture.com
Photo Courtesy: ourtransitfuture.com

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A light rail stop at North Carolina Central is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Tuesday morning Durham County Commissioners approved the extension of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project to include the university.

Some people are for and against the idea.

Shawn Pomare, a senior at North Carolina Central University, has to drive about 20 minutes to class, then find a parking spot.

“Parking is definitely an issue especially for off-campus students,” said Pomare.

A map of the light rail project shows the train will start at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, and 17 stops later, end at NCCU.

Shawn says students wouldn’t have to worry about parking, and the stop could even attract potential new students to the school.

“People who are trying to cut costs by living at home, it would allow them to still attend North Carolina Central University,” Pomare said.

While students think a stop at Alston and Lawson avenues would be a good idea, some people believe this stop is just a political move.

“I don’t think that it was genuine that they wanted to include it because they really felt like North Carolina Central added something to this project,” said Jacqueline Wagstaff.

Wagstaff doesn’t think there should be a light rail project at all.

“Most of those kids are four-year visitors. They are here for four years. When they graduate, or not graduate, from North Carolina Central, or however it goes, they are not going to remain here,” Wagstaff said.

“So that ridership, is not going to be a ridership that sustains,” she added.

Meanwhile Pomare disagrees.

“Probably people who say that aren’t Central students and they are not aware of what Central is all about. So, they’re not aware that there are students here trying to get their education, students who are trying to seek perhaps job opportunities,” he said.

Officials will continue to get public input throughout the rest of the year.

Construction is set to begin in a few years, with completion by 2028.

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