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Durham Hopes To Move Transit Authority To Make Room For Development

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DURHAM — The Durham Area Transit Authority, commonly known asDATA, needs a bigger facility so it can expand service for the three million passengers who ride its buses each year. Private developers are already eyeing the current site for an ambitious downtown redevelopment project.

Eleven thousand people use DATA buses every day to get aroundDurham. The number keeps growing.

DATA runs 32 buses from its operations center north of theDurham Bulls Athletic Park. DATA officials want to expand to 60 buses over the next few years.

Passengers say the city could use more buses and more routes right now.

"The night runs are real good, but they need more buses in the daytime because the daytime runs are slow," said Charles Leslie, DATA passenger.

This summer, DATA will move to a temporary site on North Hoover Road.

Plans to develop the existing property once DATA leaves are already in the works.

Capitol Broadcasting, which owns WRAL and the Durham Bulls, wants to put an office building, similar toDiamond View, on the old DATA site.

Downtown Durham is already getting a boost from high-profile projects includingBlue Devil Ventures' West Village Apartments.

"If you come back five years from now, and we do this deal, you won't recognize the place," said Bill Kalkhof of Downtown Durham Inc. "If we have the political will to be the public partner in a private-public partnership, the face of downtown Durham will change like no one's ever seen in the next five years."

The city and county could decide in the next three months if they will use public dollars for parking and other improvements at the old DATA site.

DATA plans to move one more time in two or three years to a larger, permanent location at Fay and Geer Streets.


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