An artist’s rendition of what PRT would look like running through North Hills.
John Kane, CEO and Chairman of Kane Realty Corporation, visited London Heathrow Airport to experience PRT first-hand.
Why North Hills? PRT is most suited for environments in which numerous, internal trips are taken, making North Hills the ideal candidate. This spring, Kane and ULTra PRT announced the beginning of a feasibility study to evaluate variables such as cost, and helps determine community support and how far-reaching a PRT system could be. But one fact is already clear. “The North Hills area is unique, known for the lifestyle it offers. PRT also creates a lifestyle as the perfect type of system for urban areas that are focused on improving circulation using green initiatives,” says Steve Raney, principal, North America for ULTra PRT. “Its implementation would complement what’s already in place.” Imagine hopping on PRT to get your morning coffee at Starbucks, sneak your lunchtime workout in at Gold’s Gym or pick up a few items for dinner at Harris Teeter – all without making multiple trips to your car. We typically don’t think that transit can do this, but it can. “Ideally, someone could arrive in North Hills by whatever transportation method they choose to get here, and then, once here, move around within the area by PRT,” says Kane. The Bigger Picture The potential of PRT in North Hills gels nicely with what’s being evaluated for not only Midtown, but the Triangle, as the area continues to refine its vision for regional transit. “As the North Hills and Midtown areas look to future growth opportunities, a review of potential circulator options like PRT and how that might fit into a broader regional transit vision is a very appropriate step to take,” noted Joe Milazzo II, executive director of the Regional Transportation Alliance business leadership group. “We have the potential to make something that will be an enhancement to whatever transit program our city moves forward with,” says Kane. And PRT would be an enhancement that adds value to the entire area. “Infrastructure that allows for a clean mode of connectivity into other transportation systems will provide more sustainable development and will retain and attract the type of creative workforce the Triangle needs to keep the area competitive moving into the next decade,” says Gary Joyner, chair of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Raleigh office. “With North Hills being a model development of new urbanism and smart growth, it doesn’t surprise me that it would be on the leading edge of considering PRT.” So take a good look at what North Hills could be. And realize that the future may be closer than you think. midtownmag.com| 57
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