Map of the Week

Frequent bus network plan for 2025-2027

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There’s a survey out for anyone interested in expanded bus service and bus rapid transit in Wake that readers should probably take a look at. Jump to the survey here.

If you aren’t familiar, plans for expanded transit service will be rolling out between now and 2027. Downtown Raleigh is a central hub of the frequent network with the BRT lines coming in and out of downtown Raleigh. The survey focuses on the bus component only and I’m expecting the commuter rail portion, dropping passengers off at Raleigh Union Station, to come later.

First Uptick in Bus Service after Sales Tax Increase

GoRaleigh bus along Martin Street

I’m posting this here purely for posterity. If you didn’t see it recently, bus service is starting to expand, including changes on the weekends. This comes as a direct result from the one-half cent sales tax increase that was voted on in the Fall of 2016.

Go GoRaleigh!

Starting Aug. 6, GoRaleigh will:

  • Increase Sunday service to Saturday levels, with the exception of no departures after 11 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Increase frequency on Route 7, which runs along South Saunders Street, to every 15 minutes Monday through Friday.
  • Add Sunday service to Route 3 along Glascock Street, Route 10 along Longview and Route 15L to Trawick Road. Route 31 to New Hope Commons will drop Sunday service, however.

GoTriangle improvements include:

  • Increasing frequency on Route 100 between the GoRaleigh Station and the Regional Transit Center (RTC) in Durham to every 30 minutes Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and starting at 6:40 a.m. Saturday. Route 100 stops at N.C. State University and RDU before continuing to the RTC, where riders can catch a GoTriangle Route 700 bus to Durham or a Route 800 bus to Chapel Hill.
  • Adding midday trips, Saturday trips and new night and Sunday service between Raleigh and Cary on Route 300.

2016 Transit Tax Passes Along Proposed Bus Lines

Voter Distribution of 2016 Transit Tax Referndum

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I posted this up on Twitter earlier but wanted to put it here on the blog for posterity. If you don’t know already, the transit tax passed in yesterday’s election and the graphic above shows the precincts that voted for and against it. You can clearly see that areas receiving expanded bus service were pro-tax versus areas that were not.

Maybe a little lack of support along the western edge of 540. I wonder if the presence of tolls in that area played a role in voters’ decisions?

At the same time, most of the outlying precincts in Wake were not horribly against the transit tax, only opposing by smaller margins. (some exceptions exist though)

RalCon Supports The Wake Transit Referendum

On Nov 8, or now if you’re into early voting, Wake County residents will see this little box on their ballots. This blog, along with a list of other fine persons and organizations, endorse a FOR vote for transit and the sales tax to pay for it.

For downtown Raleigh, and anyone that wants to see the area notch it up on transit-related infrastructure and service, this is a huge addition to the central role that the area plays in the movement of people in our city. The map below shows you how key the core of Raleigh becomes in this 10-year plan.

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If you’re looking for a summary of the transit plan that this sales tax increase will fund, along with maps, FAQs, and a breakdown of the monetary side of things, head over to the Regional Transportation Alliance’s wrap up page.

New Raleigh-Based Podcast Focuses on Transit

Inbound Raleigh

There’s a new podcast out now and its focus is on Transit in Raleigh. I just finished listening to their second episode which is a great interview with our city’s transportation planning manager, Eric Lamb.

Called Inbound Raleigh, the podcast wants to talk about all the different ways to get around Raleigh that don’t involve a car on a street. After listening to the first episode, it really shows you how many different transit-related projects we have in the pipeline. We have bike share, a transit referendum next month, a bike plan, sidewalk expansions, a train station, and a lot more.

The podcast is run by Jennifer Suarez and James Borden, both of Raleigh Public Record fame. (Disclaimer, Jennifer is also married to yours truly.)

If podcasts are a way that you enjoy getting your media then I encourage you to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and/or listen to Little Raleigh Radio. They have been instrumental in getting the podcast off the ground and always deserve love when they help launch new projects.

Save The Date, November 8, 2016, For A Vote On Transit in Wake

The Wake County Board of Commissioners are in on the recommended transit plan for the county and they want voters to approve a tax increase in order to pay for it.

This week, the vote passed and on the November 8 ballot, we’ll have an opportunity to approve or not a 1/2 cent sales tax increase that will be used for transit. A similar vote has taken place, and passed, in Durham and Orange counties so now it is our turn.

You can read more at WakeTransit.com.

We’ll cover more parts of the plan here on the blog leading up to the vote as downtown Raleigh’s central location and urban nature is poised to be a hub of bus and rail activity if voters approve the tax increase.

Stay tuned.

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

Looking Back at 2015 and Ahead at 2016

I have a lot to look back on this year. Personally, in 2015 I saw major changes in my workplace and my family grew from a pair to a trio. On the web, the blog has been covering a good balance of currently under construction projects as well as ones in the planning phases.

I’ve found that transit and developments are my go-to topics. I enjoy following the downtown eats scene as well. I want to try and share a little more history in 2016 and not just old photos. Trends are important to point out and with Raleigh changing so fast, important facts from history as recent as a decade ago could be relevant.

Let’s recap on a few things we talked about this year and how it’ll lead into the next.

Transit

Moore Square Transit Station

2016 could be the year that Wake County gets more serious about mass transit. With a new plan in place, created through an extensive public feedback process in 2015, we have our strongest proposal yet to ask residents of the county to tax themselves in order to pay for this new transit plan. It is expected that our county commissioners will propose a half-cent sales tax increase, dedicated to transit, to be added to the November 2016 ballot.

According to the plan, downtown Raleigh is a major hub of higher-frequency buses. New and improved routes would be set in place as well as an increase in destinations compared to our current network. The Moore Square Transit Station should be quite busy.

Speaking of Moore Square, the bus facility there should be getting a major face lift. Still in the planning stages, the upgrade of Raleigh’s busiest bus terminal will hopefully move forward in 2016.

Along with Moore Square, Raleigh Union Station should begin construction in 2016. Not only is the expansion of the train station needed for Amtrak but also for the proposed commuter rail line that may happen as part of the previously mentioned transit plan.

All of this will take place with more planning for bicycle facilities throughout the city. The 2009 Bicycle Plan is getting an update. (more on this soon)

Expect this blog to be very pro-transit in 2016.

Cranes are a-coming

Apartments in downtown Raleigh

2015 had a few developments in the works but there were also some new ones to follow that worked their way through the approval process. In 2016, we may see cranes in the air for these new buildings.

The Lincoln, Skyhouse Raleigh, Elan City Center, and The L were all completed in 2015. These buildings add several hundred new apartment units to the downtown supply. That’s not all though as we have plenty coming down the pipe.

  • The Link Apartments should have residents moving in sometime in early 2016.
  • The Edison Apartments are coming along and should be done in the first half of 2016.
  • The townhomes at Blount Street Commons are mostly finished and should have residents moving in throughout 2016.
  • The Gramercy is mostly built out and I see no reason it’s not up and running in 2016.

That’s several hundred more apartments being built and ready to be opened next year. In the planning phases are apartments as part of The Dillon, Greyhound Apartments, and the north tower of Charter Square.

Outside of residential developments, some taller structures containing offices or hotels may be breaking ground in 2016. Those to look out for is the main structure of The Dillon, a 17-story tower in the warehouse district. Charter Square North is planned to be a 22-story mixed-use building with offices and residential. Maybe it will break ground in 2016?

Other notable projects are The Edison Office tower and Narsi Hotel, a 12-story building for the corner of Lenoir and Wilmington Streets. In 2015, these projects worked their way through the planning process so we’ll continue to follow them into 2016.

As mentioned recently, construction on the Residence Inn hotel near the convention center has started.

Personally, I’ll be interested to see what comes out of the work being put into the 301 Hillsborough site and the N&O block. I expect to see lots of planning take place in 2016 for these sites.

One last mention, kind of long shot but perhaps something interesting could happen, is Project Phoenix, the North Carolina governor’s plans for bringing development to the state government complex. Nothing sounds concrete yet from what I’ve read but the idea of turning the expansive complex into a more mixed-use environment would be a fantastic benefit to downtown Raleigh, essentially growing the footprint of interactive space.

Reader Favorites

They may not be favorites but they at least got the most web traffic. Here are the top five posts of 2015.

  1. Rendering of The Dillon, Office and Residential in the Warehouse District
  2. 12-Story Hotel Planned for Wilmington Street Moves Forward
  3. Multiple Rezoning Requests on the Table
  4. Pic of the Week for February 3, 2015
  5. Hilton Garden Inn on Davie Street Rendering, Shows Glass and Curves

Readers shattered my single day page view record this year. It was on the topic of the sidewalk seating ordinance, an emotionally charged and even political topic of the year.

The elections of 2015 can only be described as DrunkTown. I hope to look back on this debate years from now and just laugh.

To close, I end with one bold prediction for 2016: The R-Line makes it’s last loop around downtown Raleigh.

Happy New Year! ;)