Petition For R-Line to Cameron Village Circulates

I saw this link on Twitter of a petition by some Raleigh residents that want the R-Line to be extended to Cameron Village. The petition states:

Lets bring the bus closer to us and bring new crowds over to Cameron Village at the same time.  This petition is to help bring the R-line to Cameron Village for a closer and less hassle way to get downtown and back so you don’t have to worry about finding downtown parking spaces and/or of walking long distances.  Together lets bring the bus to us so that we have a faster connection to downtown Raleigh.

As of this writing, there are over 110 signatures, probably more since I’ve now helped spread the word by blogging about it.

The twitterverse was quick to point out the already running bus routes to Cameron Village, the #12 and #16, and how this is really not needed. I kind of agree with this thinking as having a transit network with redundant services competing for riders is a waste of money and just plain inefficient.

Take a look at the RaleighRides site and check #12 and #16 so you can see the route maps overlaid with each other. The coverage is perfectly adequate to get people from downtown Raleigh to Cameron Village. Here are the hours of each route.

Route 12 Operates:
Monday – Friday from 5:45 AM – 11:00 PM
Saturday from 6:45 AM – 11:00 PM
Sunday from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Route 16 Operates:
5:45 AM – 7:45 PM Monday – Friday
6:45 AM – 7:00 PM Saturday

The bus frequency is where the R-Line wins out over the CAT routes. Most of the time, the R-Line has two buses running resulting in 15 minute frequencies. That’s an average wait time of 7.5 minutes. At peak hours, the two CAT routes operate at a 30 minute frequency, off peak 1 hour frequency, that’s a 15 and 30 minute average wait time respectively.

Now what we have to consider is an added wait time to the R-Line if it was extended to Cameron Village. The city owns three R-Line buses, two for operation and one as a backup when one goes down. Running three is most likely not a good idea so the extended route would be run with two unless a new hybrid-electric bus is bought to up the R-Line fleet to four.

Using my Google Map skills, I calculated that the current R-Line route is 3.9 miles (the after 6:30pm) route. Let’s assume two buses can handle a 15 minute frequency with a 3.9 mile loop.

If the R-Line were to be extended to Cameron Village, the most logical route would be what the CAT #12 does today. I extended the Peace Street piece of the R-Line up to Bellwood Drive and Cameron Street. A left on Oberlin and some roundabout action could shoot the bus back down Hillsborough or Morgan into downtown. This fictional route creates a 5.6 mile loop.

So for a review, the current system has 2 buses serving a 15 minute frequency over 3.9 miles. The fictional route to Cameron Village will have 2 buses running a loop that is 5.6 miles. What frequency will this route be?

Math people check me on this one but I calculate a 21.5 minute frequency and therefore an average wait time of 10.8 minutes. Again, this is assuming a lot but interpret the numbers however you like.

Now according to it’s schedule, the #12 and #16 CAT bus both take 10 minutes to get from Cameron Village to the Moore Square station in downtown Raleigh.

So with all that laid on the table, extending the R-Line would create a redundant service in the city transit network. But what do I know, I’m not a transit expert.

In my opinion, the petition just shows this area’s readiness for an upgrade in transit and Wake County officials should perhaps reconsider delaying the referendum on the 1/2 cent sales tax for transit. The changes this tax will fund in the short term are bus upgrades so it’s possible the #12 will operate in 15 minute intervals in the near future with this new revenue source and that would be the better solution.

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  1. I agree with you, I don’t think this is totally needed. I’d personally much rather have some sort of free bus circulator connection to the Hillsborough Street corridor or maybe Five Points than Cameron Village. They are urban pedestrian-oriented areas while CV is still technically a car-oriented suburban shopping center.

    If I had ONE suggestion for improving the R-Line it would be better access to the northeastern corner of downtown. I’d add a stop between R2 and R3 as a “North Person” Stop..or “Oakwood” Stop. (Maybe turn on Polk, and then left on Person and stop near the BP station.) With KrispyKreme and PieBird up there, plus other storefronts beginning to attract businesses thereand a growing residential sector, I think it’d be a great addition. The Seaboard stop is a bit of a hike from there.

    My second suggestion for improvement would be to move the R8 “West Morgan” stop a block west further from R9. Maybe where Glenwood meets Morgan, giving improved access to Moonlight Pizza, Boylan Brewpub, and all the apartments in that area.

    Any CAT people listening? :-)

  2. Seems like it will encourage park-n-ride from Cameron Village to Glenwood South or downtown. Which I would love to use (because I don’t live downtown), but CV’s lots are so crowded, I doubt they would allow it.

  3. I agree, there is already transport to and from Cameron Village. Upgrading the existing CAT schedules and routes is a better idea.

  4. Much more important than giving Cameron Village residents a free ride downtown is giving downtown residents a free ride to a grocery store. Probably the #1 objection I get to moving downtown is that there is no grocery store.

  5. @Doug- If you’re talking nights and weekends, you can pretty much do that now from the Seaboard Station stop. There’s a ton of unused parking there.

  6. While I understand the requests I think extending the route would make it less practical for getting around downtown by increasing the wait time and travel times. Also if I read the route mentioned in the article correctly it would completely skip Glenwood South which currently has several well used stops.

  7. I think the issue is that people are looking for a free, pleasant ride to the grocery store and retail in the general DT area, which doesn’t exist now. If you’re expecting middle-class people with cars to take the CAT buses when they could drive instead, it’s not gonna happen. I would like to see them expand the R-line to have a few stops on major arteries. Like one that goes up Atlantic towards Big Boss (or dare I think North Hills?), one that goes out to NC State, etc. Obviously they will need to add a few more buses, but make it R-Line 2.0 or something if it’s going outside the immediate downtown, and run less frequently. But it’d be yet another way to bring people to DT, and I think that’s a lot more valuable than sidewalk upgrades and the like.

  8. ^ Maybe, but don’t assume everyone who lives downtown gets groceries in Cameron Village. Harris Teeter is pretty darn over-priced, for starters. From much of downtown you can easily drive to numerous other groceries just as easily as CV. There’s a huge Kroger on MLK Blvd and a modest Food Lion on Glascock. And Trader Joes & Costco aren’t much further either, if you think about.
    So a route to CV shouldn’t be considered as a downtowner’s access for groceries necessarily.
    Besides I haven’t given up hope for a downtown grocery yet. (There seems to be a huge vacant retail lot at Franklin Street at Person that’d be perfect for one.)

  9. The R-Line is a success at what it does. Don’t water it down by running it out to Cameron Village. Instead, consider the killer app that the R-Line has over regular CAT service: identity.

    The question we should think about is how could CAT service be re-organized to give it a strong identity in the corridors to the west of downtown?

    If there was better organized/branded service with a strong identity out Hillsborough, you could get from Hillsborough St to Cameron Village using a 6-minute walk up Woodburn.

    View Larger Map

    The Columbia Pike concept in Arlington, VA does this well.

  10. The success in the R-Line comes from its simplicity. It’s free, frequent, and travels in a relatively tight loop. Expanding to Cameron Village would have its benefits but would also threaten what already has worked so well.

    This success does emphasize the desire for similar service elsewhere, ie. Cameron Village, Hillsborough Street, North Hills. What needs to be explored is the economic affects this new route will have. How much will this help business in downtown or in CV. The current configuration definitely helps downtown.

    Perhaps a R-Line 2.0, as mentioned above would connect NCSU and CV to R-Line 1.0.

  11. I think CX has it nailed – the R Line is “free, frequent, and travels in a tight loop”, and everyone knows its route. And I agree with adding a second loop. I would call it the S Line for easy identity. It would make a free, frequent, and tight loop – running west on Hillsborough from Glenwood, up to the Bell Tower Loop, then over Oberlin to CV, down Clark/Peace to Glenwood and south back over to Hillsborough again. Another free, frequent, tight loop. People could tap into either the R Line or the S Line from stops along Glenwood South.

  12. Isn’t the RLine funded by the extra taxes/fees that those of us in the DT overlay districts fund? Perhaps if CV wants to be in the overlay district, they too can reap the benefits? Frankly, without a substantial grocery option in DT proper, a free bus ride to CV from DT would solve one of the missing links for DT residents.

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