New Bern Bus Rapid Transit and Upcoming Land Use Proposals

“With great transit comes great land usability.”

I’m not sure anyone has actually said that quote but maybe someone should. (I’ll take it if it’s up for grabs) The folks I’m really hoping are saying this repeatedly is our own city as they continue to work through the planning efforts of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

If you’re coming in fresh to the latest plans on the system then you can jump to the city’s website with an overview of the plans for the four corridors.

Now that it’s 2023, construction should begin on the first corridor of the BRT project. Throughout this year and next, dedicated bus lanes will be added, raised-platform, bus stations will be built, new sidewalks will be added, and traffic signals will be upgraded. We’ll be following along for sure.

What’s even more encouraging about all this are the efforts to slowly shift the dynamic of these BRT corridors by putting in place Transit-Overlay District zoning. It’s great to see the land use compliment the investments in transit.

I see it as a two-sided story. There’s the transit piece, buses, sidewalks, and roads, and then the land use piece requires more urban buildings delivering houses across the income spectrum, spaces for retail that residents can walk to, and office space for businesses. I see it as putting a mix of uses down a single street served by a faster and more reliable form of transportation.

The two stories for New Bern are summed up on these links and I encourage anyone reading to take a look:

I also can’t help but highlight a great map. This one shows the proposed rezoning changes for the New Bern corridor so if you drive down that street or live near it, take a look.

The new BRT changes are coming and as mentioned earlier, construction will kick off this year. The rezoning application is in the final stages and when submitted will hit the Raleigh Planning Commission. I imagine it’ll be a much discussed topic throughout 2023.

For me, you can’t have the BRT running effectively without the right land use so I’m in full support of this rezoning plan. I’m sure there are edge cases that can be tweaked, and that’s fine as it’s a rezoning request across numerous properties, but without the planning piece put in place, I would be nervous about the BRT’s effectiveness for current and future residents in Raleigh.

We also can expect similar rezoning cases come out as the other three corridors mature and come close to their construction dates. BRT will be one of my “most watched” projects this year so I’ll leave this post right here with more thoughts and updates to come in the future.

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