Route 54/I40 Corridor

The Rt. 54 corridor between 15/501 and I-40 is viewed as ripe for development and has already undergone significant change with the construction of East 54 and UNC’s new Imaging Center.
In 2009, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) that oversees transportation policies and investments in the Western Triangle counties, initiated a study by outside consultants as to what the development and transit activities might be for this area.

This study was an effort to take an integrated look at proposed and possible future development activity, and the impact on an over-capacity roadway (Rt. 54) and potential future introduction of light rail.  The consultants were told to use the components of the MPO’s adopted 2035 Long Range Transit Plan as a basis for any other plans. Several public meetings were held to invite citizen input.  The results met with mixed reviews and no real consensus was reached as to what and how development should progress.

In the absence of clear direction, one developer has repackaged and intensified a high density housing project, Aydan Court, and requested rezoning with the new inclusionary zoning ordinance in an environmentally sensitive location, the Little Creek Bottomlands and Slopes Significant Natural Heritage Area.  This project comes up for review by the Council in February.  The University is proposing substantial growth of the Rizzo Center, adjacent to Meadowmont, in part of the same Natural Heritage Area a short distance to the north.

Meanwhile, Triangle Transit Authority (TTA), as part of its regional rail planning process, is examining a realignment of the planned transit line from adjacent to the Rizzo Center across the road to the general area of Woodmont, an unbuilt Chapel Hill office complex next to Sherwood Forest and Downing Creek.  Such a realignment would eliminate the Meadowmont village center as a station location. There would still be a station location at the Friday Center.  Two rounds of public meetings were held across the Triangle last year for this planning process. The next round is expected to be held sometime in March.

The revised NC 54 report by the consultants to the MPO is due in late Spring.  You can follow this link to the MPO website for additional information about the work that has taken place  The broad impact of development and transit changes, which potentially include widening Rt. 54, creating a super street similar to what is on 15/501 at Erwin Road, and eventually light rail, are all important to consider as are the ripple effects of growth in this area on residents and commuters not living within the immediate notification area but who travel through it daily.

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