Pic of the Week

Recently installed bikeshare station at GoRaleigh Station. November 2018.

The first Raleigh bikeshare system, Citrix Cycle, is rolling out with stations being installed in multiple locations. Above, the station for GoRaleigh Station across from Moore Square is in place, minus the bicycles of course. The last update I heard is that the system should be available for use before the end of the year.

See more about the system including the full map of stations over at Citrix Cycle.

Pic of the Week

RUSbus cross section

More of a rendering or cross-section this week. As I was looking through the RUSbus grant application, I noticed this diagram of how the mixed-use project could look like. Now this isn’t set in stone by any means but I take it as what the planners have in mind including market-rate and affordable housing, hotel, office, and retail space. Being a transit hub as well, this may be the most mixed-use project in downtown Raleigh.

See more at rusbusnc.com.

Lime Scooters Deploy in Raleigh

Lime scooters in front of the Raleigh Convention Center

A second dockless scooter company is now operating in Raleigh. Lime has brought their electric scooters to the area and just like Bird have them concentrated in the downtown area.

Lime technically gets the award for the first dockless provider in Raleigh with the launch of their bikes around the NC State area. You might occasionally see them downtown but not reliably from my experience. That’s kind of by design since they were launched in a partnership with the university and not the city.

This makes two scooter companies operating in the area which expands the overall number of vehicles, providing more choice to the end user. As of this writing, the city is drafting dockless scooter regulations so the drama over this new form of transportation may not be over.

The Three-Speed City

Bird scooter parked at a bike rack on Fayetteville Street.

Ever since the electric scooter company, Bird, deployed in Raleigh everyone seems to have an opinion on this new form of personal mobility. Raleighites seem to be all over the spectrum but a recent survey run by the Raleigh DLA shows strong evidence that a majority of downtown residents and workers support e-scooters in downtown Raleigh but with some type of new regulation.

You can dive into those results here.

Mobility within Raleigh’s downtown has seen so much change since this whole revitalization thing started. I wonder if we’re getting closer to getting it right or still struggling with it.

Downtown Raleigh is too small to drive from one place to another yet big enough that walking from district to district feels far. (at least for most people I think) This presents a great opportunity for short-trip mobility services such as bikeshare, electric scooters, rickshaws, rideshare, and the R-Line circulator.

Personally, I love the plethora of options to move around. If I need to get from Seaboard Station to the southern end of Fayetteville Street, I could easily walk if it’s a nice day and I have the time, ride the R-Line for free and get there a little faster, ride a scooter for cheap and get there even faster, or request a ride in a car and be there quickly.

My impression of Raleigh right now is that no one is against having options. What the DLA survey suggests is that problems are arising when these options are conflicting with each other. It seems we have a city built for two speeds with a third speed emerging as a popular option and this new speed is struggling to find it’s space.

Generally speaking, pedestrians are annoyed by scooters on the sidewalk. Sure, it’s illegal and Bird informs users to use the street, a bike lane if available, but personal comfort levels vary widely. Not everyone is comfortable on the street so the sidewalk is a natural “safe” place. You become the dominant user on the sidewalk versus the pushover on the street.

A combination of education and safer streets are probably the cure for this rising middle speed. Also, a part of me thinks that over time users will become used to using scooters that they’ll be more confident on the streets. (I’ve seen some very nervous looking scooter riders out there!)

The quick adoption of scooters in downtown Raleigh is what bicycle advocates have been waiting for. It’s brought the conversation for safer streets for middle speed users front and center. How our city responds will be telling as trends point to more and more of this coming.

The day of the bike lane is over. It needs a new name.

There’s lot of chatter about dockless scooter in Raleigh on the DTRaleigh Community.

Waiting on the Blount and Person Street Phase I Makeover

Blount Street. September 2018.

Blount Street. September 2018. A bike lane is planned to be installed this Fall.

With planning going back to 2013, the first phase of the makeover for the Blount and Person Street duo should be starting soon. Design work for Phase 1 of the corridor has been completed and last I heard, the construction bids are out now.

The project can be summed up according to this excerpt from a City Manager’s Weekly Report:

The design of the Phase I Implementation of the Blount Street – Person Street Corridor Study is complete. The project will reconfigure pavement markings and install a continuous bike lane on both streets from Hoke Street to Old Louisburg Road. North of Edenton Street, the streets will be resurfaced and curb ramps will be upgraded. The design of the project will reconfigure Blount Street and Person Street to both have two consistent lanes of standard width. It will also reconfigure Wake Forest Road as a three-lane avenue, with one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and bike lanes.

That’s a pretty nice and lengthy bike lane as Hoke to Old Louisburg is almost three miles. Bonus that both streets are getting a lane which offers long rides in each direction.

The project should wrap up by the end of the year and then start moving on towards more aspects of the Blount Street – Person Street Corridor Plan.

We’re tracking this and other bike lanes on the DTRaleigh community. Join the conversation.

The Cabarrus Street Train Station Has Now Been Demolished

Demolition of the train station on Cabarrus Street. August 2018.

All the attention, rightfully so, is going towards our new Union Station. That has left the former station on Cabarrus empty for only a short while. It has now been demolished and cleared away.

Some pieces, including the benches and some of the wood canopy, were saved. Now the lot sits empty waiting the next development to make way. You can revisit the former station here in this photo gallery I posted in January of 2018.

Raleigh Union Station is Now Open

Raleigh Union Station sign

After a few delays (which we’ll all forget about in no time) Raleigh Union Station is now officially open and taking/dropping off passengers. There are a total of 10 daily trains coming and going and the size of the station leaves plenty of room for growth. It is a true future-proof station.

The station is inviting and, locally, it’s a destination so make some time to get down and visit if you haven’t been.

While not a hub of activity at this time, the station felt exactly the same to me the day I walked down Fayetteville Street in 2006 the weekend it first opened. The street was dramatically changed from a pedestrian mall to the street we have today. The day after a huge parade and party to celebrate the opening of the street, there weren’t that many people there. It was still quiet.

It was still a ghost town.

That’s change, of course, and I think the same will happen here, we’ll grow into this new station. The downtown culture will embrace it. I see the station enabling new things that we couldn’t have before.

The opening has been fun but watching it being absorbed over the next few years is really just the start!

Raleigh Union Station plaza

How do you see yourself using the station? Join the discussion on the DTRaleigh Community.

Dockless Scooters Launch in Downtown Raleigh

Two electric scooters in City Plaza

This week, Raleigh’s first electric, dockless, scooter share system launched with over 100 scooters deployed throughout downtown Raleigh, Cameron Village, and other parts. Bird is the first one out of the gate for Raleigh as other cities have multiple vendors.

FYI. Yours truly saw Lime scooters zipping around Raleigh so who knows if they too will add scooters next alongside their bikes here in town.

The concept is similar to how dockless bike share works. You use a smartphone to create an account, check out a scooter, and you are on your way. The cost is a $1 per ride plus 15 cents per minute. If you want to try them out for free, use the same discount code I did which is BIRDRALEIGH.

With Limebike being more an NC State thing and the Citrix Cycle bikeshare system heavily delayed, for now, the scooters are welcome for short trips across downtown. I loved the quick boost on my walk home one evening this week. (especially on a hot day)

For me, I’ll always prefer bicycles as they are easier to use and frankly, downtown streets are not the smoothest. My short scooter ride was a bit bumpy but perhaps it’s just my first time out.

For anyone concerned about using these on sidewalks, I’ve realized that the street is MUCH more preferable. Going up and down curb cuts are not very smooth and the bike lanes look more tempting honestly.

They are fun, they are easy. Welcome to Raleigh, Bird!

Join the discussion about dockless scooters on the DTRaleigh Community.