Pic of the Week

Edison Lofts, January 2016

The Edison Lofts, corner of Blount and Davie Streets

The Edison Apartments, or more officially the Edison Lofts (official website), are coming along. No reason this project isn’t wrapped up this year, hopefully in the first half. They are now pre-leasing units.

Edison Lofts, January 2016

The Edison Apartments, corner of Wilmington and Davie Streets

Feedback on the Wake County Transit Plan

I wanted to share the feedback I submitted about the Wake County Transit Plan, which all readers should take a look at. I think a whole discussion could come about the idea of an invisible east/west barrier that goes right down Raleigh. I am hoping that an upgrade to transit could break down that barrier and really expand mobility choices and access to all areas of the city. Does anyone else see these barriers to mobility around our city? -Leo

Feedback

Hello,

I’ve taken a good look through the latest Wake County Transit Plan update and wanted to share some thoughts I had about it. I’ll admit that this may be more detailed than the document shows but maybe it is something that the planning team could consider.

I believe there is this invisible “divide” between east and west Raleigh, where Capital Boulevard, McDowell/Dawson in downtown, and South Saunders create a sort of barrier. Going from parts east to west, and vice versa, by any travel method meets a “resistance” when you hit this divide.

Driving a car across Raleigh, the options are slim due to Capital Boulevard’s lack of cross streets, downtown’s more urban nature, and south Raleigh’s lack of east/west streets. Cycling is in a similar situation. Currently, none of the GoRaleigh bus routes go between east and west Raleigh but rather terminate in downtown’s Moore Square Transit Station for a transfer.

I see this Transit Station as contributing to that same invisible barrier.

My feedback as part of this new transit plan would be for the planning team to discuss this and see if transit could break through this barrier and connect east and west Raleigh more directly. For example, a bus route that does not stop in downtown Raleigh but uses both Hillsborough Street and New Bern Avenue/Edenton Street.

Thanks a lot ahead of time and I very much look forward for the successful implementation of this plan!

Response

Mr. Suarez

Thanks for taking the time to review the Recommended Wake County Transit Plan and for submitting your comment.

Your comment fits very well within the key goal of the Transit Plan to make transit “useful” to as many people as possible. Divides and barriers, real or perceived impact how and if people use transit and the focus of the transit plan is to address and solve these types of issues.

The project team has specifically looked at BRT and bus line corridors that flow through rather than to downtown. The New Bern Avenue to Morgan St /Hillsborough Street alignment has been specifically studied. That said, there are different perspectives on how BRT should flow through Downtown Raleigh and connect with the various destinations. The perspectives differ in how radically they would change existing streets, how vehicles would interact with bus stations and how the different BRT corridors would interact with each other. Moving forward we hope to have a clear community dialogue on the options, benefits and costs of the various ways to implement the different projects shown in the recommended transit plan. We anticipate this dialogue will be open to public ideas and reactions on solutions.

Some of the service realities we are asking decison-makers to consider are: (these parallel your comment)

1) As vehicle frequency increases there is less need to stop and wait at big stations and street based platforms (that allow vehicles to keep moving) make more sense.
2) Routes work best by collecting and combining multiple trips – routes that stop in downtown rather then flowing through downtown limit their usefulness for certain trips.
3) Frequent routes tend to be used for shorter trips and riders on shorter trips tend to have a low tolerance for delay (i.e. they will switch to other modes).

Please keep in mind that the transit plan is positioned to provide vision but also to allow a start and evolution approach if that is needed or best for the community. One question we asked staff from all of our partner agencies to answer on each of the projects was “are there multiple ways to accomplish that and still meet the goal?” The recommended transit plan takes this approach not to get “watered down” versions of everything but to keep an eye toward the larger goal and allow the system to change as needed as community perspectives change. National and local positions on transit, what street should be used for, and what creates a great place to live are changing and evolving in ways we have not seen in previous decades and these positions may/will likely continue to evolve.

If you have further questions on the Recommended Wake County Transit Plan please respond to this email, call 919-856-5477 or visit www.waketransit.com

Pic of the Week

Model of The Dillon

Click for larger

Last night was the launch party for The Dillon. Outside of the local beer, food, and networking this model may have been the highlight. When you stare at the current Dillon Supply warehouse in the bottom left of the photo it gives you a sense of the real size of this project.

Municipography, Downtown Hotel Parking and Moore Square Transit Station Renovation

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Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

Downtown Hotel Parking Requirements

If the video above does not show for you, click here to watch it.

If the development of hotels in downtown Raleigh is of interest to you then you first need to jump back to this October 2015 post about the Downtown Hotel Market Study. (if you haven’t seen it already)

A point from that study that was discussed at this council meeting was the fact that the hotel parking requirements in downtown were the same as the rest of the city. One parking space was required for each hotel room built. However, with higher land prices and alternative transit options, that need was recommended to be too high and the city should explore reducing it.

From the council agenda:

At the October 20, 2015 meeting, City Council directed staff to investigate reducing parking requirements for downtown hotels in response to a recommendation presented as part of the Raleigh Downtown Hotel Market Study. The current requirement downtown is the same as the citywide standard: one parking space per room. Staff analysis finds that the parking requirement can be reduced by half or more without adverse impact, which would greatly improve the economics of downtown hotel development.

In the video above, there was some discussion among the council about sending this piece to the planning commission for a recommendation.

Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin wanted the planning commission to explore reducing it to more than half. Councilor Bonner Gaylord even wanted to expand the reduction to other property types. Councilor Kay Crowder suggested that a trial be done first before implementing the changes.

The main takeaway from the discussion was that these reductions are a move that supports mass transit. With momentum building for the new Wake County Transit Plan and a possible referendum this year in order to finance this transit plan, the reduction in parking would further support these initiatives.

City Manager Ruffin Hall mentioned that a downtown comprehensive parking study was underway, looking at hotel parking and other uses so more data will be available in the near future.

It was decided that the request to planning commission would be only on the hotels parking piece rather than all parking due to the fact that some hotels are being planned in the immediate future. They might benefit from a quicker decision rather than wait for a complete parking strategy overhaul for downtown.

We’ll follow this next in planning commission.

GoRaleigh (formerly Moore Square) Transit Station Renovation

No video is attached to this one as this line item was in the consent agenda and approved during the council meeting without discussion. From the agenda:

Bids were opened for the GoRaleigh (formerly Moore Square) Transit Station Renovation Project December 3, 2015. The GoRaleigh Transit Station project will provide a comprehensive renovation to the Downtown Raleigh Transit Transfer Facility. Improvements will include but are not limited to new restrooms, crew quarters, northern stairwell, elevator, and ticket/information office. The facility will have enhanced passenger waiting areas and advanced technologies for customer convenience, such as Wi-Fi-access and real-time arrival and departure information. American South General Contractors Company submitted the lowest responsive bid of $9,560,000; the proposed award contains the addition of five alternates with a final proposed bid award of $9,671,000. American South General Contractors Company submitted the lowest base bid and remained the lowest bidder when factoring the alternate options. American South Contractors Company proposes to utilize 9.9 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and 15.5 percent Small Disadvantage Minority and Women Owen Business (SDMWOB) firms. The Raleigh Transit Authority unanimously recommended this bid award during the December 10,2015 meeting.

I missed the renaming of the Moore Square Transit Station to the GoRaleigh Transit Station. I’m not surprised as the new branding is being pushed pretty hard throughout the system.

The overhaul of this station will be pretty extensive and could start this year. For more, here are two links for you as well as a rendering of the completed station below:

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