Pic of the Week

Demolition taking place at Raleigh Union Station

Demolition was taking place last week in front of the future Raleigh site. The smaller warehouse in front was planned to be removed for a grand entrance plaza for the train station. Below is a rendering of that entrance plaza.

Rendering of Raleigh Union Station entrance plaza

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Finally….thank you for the picture.

Agree. They broke ground months ago!!
First, thanks for photos, great job as always!!
Hopefully they do the whole project right and do not cut corners (maybe finally a building that looks like the renderings, especially the building views and Plaza).

Do this right, it needs to be an excellent first impression of OUR city for travelers!!!!

Speaking of transportation, in the City Council’s minutes for Feb. 2nd I see further mention of the $60M US DOT grant the city recently applied for. It sure does look like the city, partnering with NC State, submitted a proposal for ecoPRT. I see this mentioned in City Council Record:

“The City partnered with NC State to work on the grant, and focused on how to grow the existing transportation network without increasing congestion. Three key areas of focus were developed, and they included smart travel, the establishment of a sustainable smart fleet of vehicles and first/last mile automation, designed to extend the reach of transit utilizing small, automated vehicles”

There was a recent post here expressing a strong negative opinion of ecoPRT. Personally I like the idea and think it has promise. Perhaps one day an ecoPRT line will help transport fans to our shinny new downtown stadium 😉

@Stew, I’m with you! I’ll take this a step further though and say that I think that this particular effort would be a game changer for Raleigh’s image and brand as a city and would pique the interest of anyone that would doubt the city’s credentials as an innovation hub. It would also do wonders for the cred of the University.
I have really high hopes for ecoPRT. That said, where’s the city’s promotion and communication of this? This is a big freaking deal and it would be shouting it from the rooftops? Are they afraid that they’ll lose the grant and want to stay modest and low key? Do they just not believe it in and are only going through the motions? I’d hope not but one has to wonder given so little attention to it. Asked another way…would Durham be so quiet and demure if they were codeveloping it with Duke? Would Charlotte stay silent and stay off the stage?

@John – I read the city is being somewhat mum about this because they don’t want to give any information to competing cities (there are 64 mid-sized cities eligible to submit for this grant). I’m sure once grant results are announced more (a lot more) will come out about this. Several key city planning officials and developers such as John Kane have already expressed initial support for this idea.

The first phase is the awarding of 100k to 5 finalist cities to further develop their proposals. Then, one final lucky winner will be chosen and awarded the 60 million bucks. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the City of Raleigh and NC State!

Sorry, I misspoke. The grant award (including a contribution from Vulcan) is 50M, not 60M

Check out the depiction of the ecoPRT going down Hillsborough Street… http://ecoprt.com/ecoprt-at-ncsu/

The ecoPRT idea is just so weird….. so two people can travel at a time? Seems suuuuuper short sighted. What about a two person car screams MASS transit? I think they’d be sweet around NC State campus, sure. But the whole city needs a transit system that can support large numbers of people at once. Increasing bus service would be a great start. Right now, buses stop at any given bus stop once every 30 minutes, sometimes once every hour. That is unacceptable. People complain about how “nobody uses the bus” – yeah, because how inconvenient is that?? If you miss the bus you have to wait another half hour for the next one?? Useless. I understand that certain stops will be getting service every 15 minutes (which is the idea, in my opinion) but… again… only CERTAIN stops.

I’m all for Union Station and GoRaleigh Station, but ultimately how many people that we’d be trying to impress are coming in on the train or the bus? Amtrak is like the speed of driving for the price of flying, without the ability to drive yourself around at your destination. And the buses… well, I don’t think the interval frequency is the main thing keeping most people off of them.

You don’t sound like you are all for Union Station, Jeff.

My prediction with mass transit is that self-driving Uber cars will help cut down on vehicles on the road. More ride sharing should equate to less vehicles. I also predict that these self-driving cars will be able to communicate with each other and form “trains” on highways traveling at high speeds. Raleigh should entice automakers to test these products out in Raleigh.

@Paul I’m sure you’re right about self driving cars being the future of mass transit but as for @Jeff’s comment, I can tell you that I would be one of those people who would use the bus more if there were more frequent stops and the bus ran a lot later. I drive a car, but every year when Hopscotch comes around I take the bus into the city during the day and Uber back home… but that’s only because the buses stop running after 11, which is so stupid to me. You think I would Uber home when the all-day bus pass is a mere $2? Sure it’s a little longer of a ride but so be it. Even if they bumped the all-day pass up to $3 it’d be worth it, but until the buses run until 3am and make stops every 15 minutes, it’s useless.

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/01/22/driverless-cars-and-future-getting-around-415405.html

Attached is an article from a January issue of Newsweek. If you’re interested in the driverless car concept this article is nothing short of fascinating. This particular issue also had a great article about Los Angeles and its mass transit issues.

I dedicate this to everyone fanboying/fangirling over the ecoPRT:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDOI0cq6GZM

I do believe it has a place in the world. But not as a public transit solution.

Driverless cars are not going to solve traffic problems. It’s just another thing being used to distract citizens and governments from building real alternatives to personal automobiles.

Bidclerk is showing Project # 510384 Raleigh NC Hotel/Motel , Hotel/Motel , Residential , Apartments , Retail , $400,000,000 , Est. Start Date 8-8-16 !I wonder if this is The N&O site?

My guess is Carolina Row across Glenwood from Crabtree Valley Mall

@orulz is probably right – isn’t there two huge developments like that going up in Crabtree? One right across the st from the mall, and the other one right inside the beltline off Glenwood? I’m sure we’ll hear a LOT more about the N&O site when the proposals start up. Honestly, I doubt anything will happen with the N&O site for another couple years – something I don’t mind. They can take as long as they need if it ensures they build Raleigh’s next tallest.

Brad, can elaborate on the reasons why you think self-driving cars won’t improve traffic. Everything that I’ve read mentions less cars on the road via ride-sharing, self-driving taxis and cars that can communicate with each other. Surely traffic will improve when you take the human element out of it.

@Paul Adoption by the masses will be the biggest hurdle after getting all the bugs worked out. It will take decades for autonomous vehicles to outnumber regular cars. The only way I see them bringing in the kind of roadway utopia the cheerleaders claim they will is if the government bans regular vehicles.

I don’t understand how driverless Uber cars reduce the number of cars on the road. It will reduce the number sitting in driveways and parking lots. Everyone who needs to be in a car is on the road either way.

The problem with most public transit is that it is usually less convenient and takes longer than driving. In cities like Boston, NY, Atlanta, San Francisco, etc. the traffic is bad enough and the coverage extensive enough that public transit is a better option for many. In a city like Raleigh, having to sit an extra 10 minutes in my car during rush hour isn’t going to make me want to walk to a bus stop, wait 15 minutes in the heat/cold/rain, sit on the bus with a bunch of random people, transfer to another bus, wait some more, sit on a new bus, and then walk to my final destination.

If there was a BRT or commuter rail that went to downtown Durham or Chapel Hill, I might take that once every few weeks for a night out, but that’s not going to sustain the system. I think without the critical mass of terrible traffic and well designed public transit infrastructure, all you get is a divide between the poor who have little choice, and everyone else, who mostly would still prefer their cars. If you live right by your work, the great, but that is not most of the Triangle.

Driverless cars will cause MORE congestion on the roads because it will eliminate one of the main disincentives to driving (wasted time). Anybody who thinks that driverless cars will solve the problems of traffic will be sorely disappointed.

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