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Schools

     Gordon chaired the county-wide group of elected officials that crafted the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. SAPFO is used to coordinate long-range planning for future school needs and thus it helps to prevent future overcrowding.

     Alice proposed the formation of this group of elected officials from the three towns, two school boards, and the county commissioners. She has worked with the other commissioners to fund new schools when they are needed. With the completion of the new schools built during the last few years, the county has built all the schools in the Orange County School (OCS) District that will be needed for the next decade. New schools have also been constructed in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School (CHCCS) District. The county must fund in a timely manner the new schools needed in that district over the next ten years, beginning with elementary school #11.

     Gordon will continue her strong commitment to excellent schools, a key element in the county's quality of life. It is important that all children in our county receive a quality education.


Phillips Middle School

  • Alice will work to resolve school funding issues in a way that is fair to both school districts, and provides the operating revenues and buildings that they need.

         For the Orange County School District, fair funding means meeting district needs, with an emphasis on finding more operating funds so that the OCS students can have needed educational programs.

         For the Chapel Hill School District, fair funding means meeting district needs, with an emphasis on building new CHCCS schools when they are needed.

  • Alice will also advocate for the renovation and maintenance of older schools all over the county, so that they can become "substantially equivalent" to the newer schools. There was a period of about twenty years when no new schools were built in Orange County. As a result, there is a significant difference between the older schools and those built in the last 15 to 20 years, and the older schools need to be improved in an agreed-upon time frame.



Environment

     Gordon's most important legacy as an environmental leader will be her initiatives to make environmental protection a separate function of Orange County government.

     When Alice first became a county commissioner, environmental concerns were handled as part of the overall planning function of the Planning Department. She saw the need for and proposed the creation and establishment of the following new functions to strengthen the county's focus on environmental protection. As a result, environmental protection has its own special place as an integral part of county government.
  • Proposed the creation of the the Water Resources Committee.
  • Proposed the creation of the Commission for the Environment.
  • Proposed the creation of the Environment and Resource Conservation Department (ERCD), the county department dedicated to dealing with environmental issues. (The name of this department was changed in April 2010 to Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation.)
  • Proposed the creation of the county's comprehensive land preservation program, the nationally recognized "Lands Legacy Program."
     All of these initiatives were approved by the county commissioners and have become a part of county government. The Lands Legacy Program, the most well known of these initiatives, won the national Excellence in County Planning Award.

     The Environment and Resource Conservation Department "coordinates county goals for environmental protection, resource conservation, and land acquisition." The department provides staff support for several county advisory boards, including the Commission for the Environment.

     The national award-winning Lands Legacy program, administered by the Environment and Resource Conservation Department, is the first comprehensive county land acquisition program in North Carolina. In just ten years of the program's existence, the county has protected over 2500 acres of land, both for natural resource and farmland preservation and for parks. This is a success story that is unusual in North Carolina.

     In 2007 this program won the Excellence in County Planning Award from the National Association of County Planners. It was also a finalist for the Leadership in Conservation Award from the National Association of Counties and the Trust for Public Land.

     The Commission for the Environment, established in 1997 to advise the commissioners, gave the county for the first time a group to provide advice on air quality and other environmental issues. In recognition of her contributions to Orange County's environment, the Commission dedicated the 2004 State of the Environment Report to Commissioner Alice Gordon.

     Gordon will continue to promote the implementation of environmental initiatives, like the Water Resources Initiative.

Creek at Morrow Mill
Creek at Morrow Mill

     Alice proposed the establishment of the Water Resources Committee to go beyond the county's good work in protecting watersheds and expand it to include an emphasis on groundwater as well. She was far-sighted in advocating for studies of our groundwater supplies, well before there was any crisis (like a drought), to help us plan for our long-term water needs.
  • Now Alice is pushing for the full implementation of the Water Resources Initiative, approved by the commissioners. This initiative will help Orange County better protect and more responsibly utilize the county's water supplies.

  • She will also support the wise allocation of 2001 bond funds already budgeted for land preservation, and advocate for the completion of planned recreation and park facilities.

    (See Environmental Record for a more complete description of these issues and also statements concerning the "Rural Buffer" and "Parks and Open Space, Sustainable Growth")

Members of both the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees and the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Transportation Association's Transportation Advisory Committee:  Bill Bell, Mayor of Durham, and Alice
Members of both the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees and the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Transportation Association's Transportation Advisory Committee: Bill Bell, Mayor of Durham, and Alice

Regional Transportation

     Gordon, as a current member and former chair of two regional transportation policy decision-making boards, has worked for wise transportation planning in the Triangle area. In particular, she has promoted public transit and other alternatives to cars.

  • Chair, 2007 and 2008, Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro (DCHC) Metropolitan Planning Organization's (MPO) Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). The DCHC MPO is the regional organization responsible for transportation planning for the western part of the Research Triangle Area. The DCHC MPO is governed by the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), a policy board consisting of elected officials.

  • Chair, 2007, Triangle Transit Board of Trustees. Triangle Transit provides regional transit services for the Triangle area.

Celebration of Triangle Transit's Route 420 bus service:
Al Terry, Orange County; Alice; Tom Stevens, Mayor of Hillsborough
Celebration of Triangle Transit's Route 420 bus service:
Al Terry, Orange County; Alice; Tom Stevens, Mayor of Hillsborough


      Alice has been a dedicated advocate for improving public transit in the region, and has worked to increase our other transportation options. In her service on the Transportation Advisory Committee, the group that provides policy guidance and approves the Metropolitan Planning Organization's transportation budget, she has worked for a balanced transportation system that provides alternatives to cars.
  • As part of her work on the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees, she spearheaded the creation of the route 420 bus service between Hillsborough and Chapel Hill which began operation in 2006. It provides continuous weekday bus trips between the towns. This route took three years to plan, and it is now one of Triangle Transit's most successful commuter routes.

  • Alice was recognized by the Orange-Chatham Group of the Sierra Club for her contributions in the area of transportation.
Alice
Alice was a leader of the joint planning endeavor that won that won The National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Metropolitan Transportation Planning. She is shown here chairing a meeting of the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization during a discussion of the long range plan.

      Gordon, as chair of the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro MPO in 2007 and 2008, helped lead the effort to create the national award-winning joint 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for the Triangle region.

      As the DCHC MPO Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) chair, Alice first helped to facilitate the development of the Special Transit Advisory Commission (STAC), a joint advisory committee appointed by the DCHC MPO and the Capital Area MPO (CAMPO). CAMPO is the transportation planning organization for the eastern part of the Triangle. The STAC was charged with developing a fresh vision for transit in the Triangle and making recommendations for the transit section of the LRTP.

      Then she facilitated the development of the joint regional plan, working behind the scenes to move the plan forward. The MPOs held two joint meetings in 2008, and the result was a consensus on the main points underlying their first coordinated plan. This 2035 regional long range transportation plan is important because it will guide transportation investments in the Triangle. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration commended the two MPOs for their collaborative efforts in producing a joint Long Range Transportation Plan, for joint efforts with respect to the STAC report and implementing transit goals in their transportation systems, and also for the method used for coordinating and streamlining the Air Quality Conformity process. The joint 2035 plan was adopted in June 2009, and for the first time ever there was one coordinated transportation plan for the region, presented in a single document.

2008 joint meeting of the Triangle region's transportation planning organizations:  CAMPO TAC Vice Chair, Vivian Jones; CAMPO TAC Chair, Joe Bryan;  DCHC MPO TAC Chair, Alice Gordon; DCHC MPO TAC Vice Chair, Mike Woodard
2008 joint meeting of the Triangle region's transportation
planning organizations: CAMPO TAC Vice Chair, Vivian Jones;
CAMPO TAC Chair, Joe Bryan; DCHC MPO TAC Chair, Alice Gordon;
DCHC MPO TAC Vice Chair, Mike Woodard


      In 2009 the two Triangle metropolitan planning organizations were honored with a national award for their collaborative efforts in creating the joint 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan. The National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Metropolitan Transportation Planning was presented to the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO and the Capital Area MPO by the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO). The award citation is given below.

      The Research Triangle region in North Carolina covers seven counties and is home to about 1.6 million people. Although this area functions as a single regional economic market, there are two MPOs responsible for the long range transportation planning. As finances dwindle, but regions continue to grow, leaders in the research triangle region started recognizing that collaboration is essential to plan, fund, and operate the needed transportation investments. Starting in 2007, the two MPOs departed from their past practice of creating two separate planning documents for the one region. Instead they came together to produce a joint 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan that was adopted in June 2009. FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) has already commended this effort as an example of, "exemplary practice within the planning process," and today AMPO does as well.

Triangle Transit Board of Trustees with three members of the North Carolina Legislature
Triangle Transit Board of Trustees with three
members of the North Carolina Legislature


      Gordon will continue to work on improving public transit, finding other alternatives to cars, and monitoring transportation projects for compliance with air quality objectives.

      Alice will grapple with the complex issues which we need to resolve before we can devise solutions to the transportation challenges faced by this region. Triangle Transit provides regional transit services, and some areas have local bus service. However, we need other transit improvements including regional rail, or some comparable mode of transportation, to meet our long-term transportation goals. Otherwise we will continue to see worsening traffic congestion and air quality degradation in the Triangle area.

See Awards for information about the Goodmon Award for "Exemplary Regional Leadership by an Elected Official" presented to Alice by Leadership Triangle for her contributions in the areas of environmental protection and regional transportation.

Alice chaired the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees in FY 2007.  Here she is shown with her immediate predecessor as Chair, Carter Worthy of Raleigh.
Alice chaired the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees in FY 2007. Here she is shown with her immediate predecessor as Chair, Carter Worthy of Raleigh.

Alice supports the Durham-Orange Friends of Transit, an alliance of local organizations, civic leaders and citizens who promote regional transit for the Triangle, and she coined the group's nickname, "DO Transit." She encourages transit advocates to add their names to the list of this group's supporters.

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Paid for by the Alice Gordon Campaign, PO Box 2425, Chapel Hill, NC 27515
Alice in front of the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough Carrboro Farmers' Market Rural Orange County East Chapel Hill High The Old Well on the UNC Chapel Hill Campus Rural Orange County Pink spring blossoms Alice in her garden White wildflowers A rural Orange County cornfield