Tunnel

Pedestrian Tunnel Planned for White Oak Greenway

Tunnel

Cary, NC — Town of Cary has plans to complete the White Oak Creek Greenway, including a pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks near Davis Drive. A public information session to go over the plans is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Design Phase Underway

The Town of Cary is in the design phase for the last two gaps on the White Oak Creek Greenway. One gap is located between MacArthur Drive and Davis Drive, and the other is the segment from Green Level Church Road to the American Tobacco Trail (ATT).

Once construction is complete, this 7.3 mile greenway will connect Bond Park to the ATT.

Project Details & Cost

The White Oak Creek Greenway project will close the gaps, which, together, are a distance of approximately 2.4 miles. The Town of Cary details that:

The estimated total project cost for both remaining segments is $9,000,000. The bond funding requested is $3,000,000. The difference is expected to be made up by grants and local funding.

Pedestrian Tunnel

One barrier to a continuous greenway from the ATT to Bond Lake is the railroad running alongside Davis Drive. The design shows a pedestrian tunnel running under the tracks. Travelers on the greenway will emerge from the short tunnel behind Davis Drive Park, crossing the street at the existing traffic light at Park Village Drive.

Amy Mackintosh, Landscape Architect, told us that:

The gap between MacArthur Drive and Davis Drive is a short but challenging segment. The project will design and construct a 0.4 mile paved trail and boardwalk through community association common land and Davis Drive Park, connected by a pedestrian tunnel under the CSX railroad. The route between the rail line and MacArthur Drive closely follows a small stream, necessitating approximately 640 feet of boardwalk to protect the stream banks and water quality.

woc-tunnel

Unofficial map by CaryCitizen. See Town of Cary for official design and project maps.

Learn More About the Project

You can learn more about this project by visiting the Town of Cary’s project page or by attending the upcoming public information meeting, where progress plans will be on display and staff will be available to receive comments and answer questions.

Event Details

Public Information Open House – White Oak Creek Greenway
Tuesday, August 11, 2015; 4:30-7 pm
Cary Senior Center, 120 Maury O’Dell Place

Tunnel

White Oak Creek Greenway at Cary’s White Oak Park

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Story from staff reports. Photos by Jessica Patrick. Map by Hal Goodtree.

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12 replies
  1. Gary
    Gary says:

    Wow, surprised to see a pricey tunnel in the plan, under such a low-volume track.

    Hint: build a paved crossing and tell users to remove earpieces when crossing.
    Or, am I missing something?
    Fear of subsequent train horn noise complaints in the ‘hood?

    It’s one of our favorite bike rides and the shade provided when you ride under 540 is a welcome relief, these past few weeks!

    And when it rains: Lots of silt mud in the current tunnel, under 55.

    • Dave Berger
      Dave Berger says:

      CSX has always been opposed to any pedestrian traffic in their 100ft right-of-way, which means going over or under. The Town submitted plans to CSX that include a 70ft (approx) tunnel through the middle of the right-of-way, but CSX just recently said no to that; they are asking for the tunnel to run the entire 100ft.
      So… things are not final but moving forward. The town is going ahead with trying to acquire the easements for the trail leading to the tunnel. Most of that is on Parkway Community HOA property. (I’m involved as I am the president of that HOA). We expect the Town to be granted that easement by the end of the year.

  2. Bob Butler
    Bob Butler says:

    This link is critical. With this link — and the final link between American Tobacco Trail and with Oak Creek Greenway — you will be able to go from Southpoint Mall (and ultimately Durham Bulls Stadium) to Bond Park, North Cary Park, Umstead, Downtown Raleigh, all the way to Garner. Also, the current route track on Mcarthur, to Waldo Rude, across Davis Drive is really harry given the traffic, speeds and aggressive driving on those streets. Pedestrians and rail roads don’t mix and rail roads never would go for this much pedestrian traffic crossing at grade. My only concern is that it appears there remains an at-grade crossing on David drive. Did they consider a solution that addresses non-grade crossings at both the rail road and Davis Drive? For this big a budget, now is the time to do it right, especially if you’re already using bonds.

    • Dave Berger
      Dave Berger says:

      The topic of having a non-grade crossing at Davis Drive was mentioned by Town staff at the meeting with our HOA Board. The rail crossing is a priority, and its current plan – by design – doesn’t proclude the possibility of having a non-grade Davis Drive street crossing later.

  3. Greg
    Greg says:

    Agree with Gary!….much better investment and our community would receive far & away more safety benefit by building a tunnel under Davis Drive instead of under the railroad track.

    The trains that travel that route are infrequent, and the ones that come through during daylight are even rarer. The cars & traffic on Davis Drive south of High House is growing every month… at every time of day.

    The White Oak greenway tunnel is a great model, and I am sure it has saved lives already. Be bold, do the right thing, help keep our pedestrians safe from the more prevalent threat…(distracted) drivers, and build the tunnel under Davis.

  4. orulz
    orulz says:

    The town’s comprehensive plan does include a tunnel at Davis Drive, but that is being put off for now since it is felt doing both tunnels at once would be too expensive, especially given how much money they are about to spend to complete the greenway to the Tobacco Trail.

    Probably a tunnel at Davis would be pretty similar in cost to the tunnel under the railroad. The right time to do it would have been when Davis was widened sometime back in 2008 -like how they included two tunnels under 55 when that was widened in 2005, several under NC540 when that was built, one under Green Level Church when that was widened north of Carpenter Fire Station, and so on. But that is neither here nor there; the opportunity has passed.

    I agree from a trail users’ standpoint, a tunnel under Davis would be much more important than one under the railroad. But CSX owns their railroad corridor, and given railroads are governed under the interstate commerce clause of the constitution, it would take (literally) an act of US Congress to force them to allow a grade crossing.

  5. Heather Patisaul
    Heather Patisaul says:

    So excited! I literally run these trails every single day. These upgrades will be tremendously welcome – particularly the link to the tobacco trail as that will finally provide a traffic-free way to get from White Oak to the trail. This is fabulous news.

  6. Gary
    Gary says:

    TOC Planners: Field Trip Time!

    Destination: 320 N Salem St in Apex.

    Park behind the building, and explore the well-marked sidewalk that crosses two sets of RR tracks. Some are the same CSXtracks that follow Davis Drive! It is very safe, level and well-marked.
    The sidewalk leads to the Apex Town Hall and Rec. Center Campus.

    I have observed heavy usage of the sidewalk especially during the downtown festivals in Apex. I recall it even has a bench or two along the path. Stroller-navigable!

    Please, consider copying the design to save Cary some money and ensure safety, etc.

    Here’s a vendor:
    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/railproducts/product/Pedestrail-Pedestrian-Grade-Crossing-Systems–1254

    • Zach
      Zach says:

      Agree with Gary. We should learn from Apex on how could they pull this off since “CSX has always been opposed to any pedestrian traffic in their 100ft right-of-way”. It is the same track. I would also like the money to be spent on Davis Drive tunnel.

  7. Niles Barnes
    Niles Barnes says:

    This is great news! Fills the largest gap in the East Coast Greenway route through the Triangle region. Once completed, 72 linear miles of connected trails from Durham to Clayton will be complete and connected!

  8. Chuck
    Chuck says:

    As a long time resident of MacArthur Park, I’m very happy to see the work on this phase of the greenway finally starting. Kids, crossing Davis drive and dealing with the speedway Waldo Rood has become have been a barrier to our family using the longer section of White Oak.

  9. Rich
    Rich says:

    Very excited, and surprised at the cost. I cycle this very route every week. Agree with the folks suggesting a davis drive tunnel as opposed the a Csx tunnel. All in all, I’d rather see the ATT connector before either tunnel as riding green level with no shoulder is worrisome and more likely to have incidents.

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