Choosin’ how you’re movin’

Last night’s Transit Work session was chock full of details regarding the Wake County Transit Plan. (You can read more about the full plan, here.)   It was nice to see a diverse set of attendees, with many folks from the Town across various departments, interested citizens and passionate transportation advocates.  Anyone that has been on I-40 at rush hour has seen the increase in traffic and what our growth can add to the impact on our transportation system. What this plan will do, (and what we covered last night) is address how bus service and future rail investment can provide added services for the entire Triangle Region along with the operational and financial implications.

Here are the Top 10 items of what I garnered from the session (some larger learnings, some tidbits):

  1. So many of the routes that were shown for expanded bus service seemed to come through Cary. “All roads lead through Cary.” 🙂
  2. I was surprised the number of Wake municipalities that DO NOT have BUS service today. This regional plan will certainly help many of them, and allowing them to participate in the cost, as well.)
  3. This is a 3 phased plan – from Expanded Bus Service (2013) –> to Commuter Rail (2019) –> to Light Rail (2022)
  4. Should the new bus plan come to fruition, the service hours available to citizens will almost DOUBLE (90% increase) in the first 5 years. (Surprisingly, Cary’s C-Tran service has increased significantly over the last few years. I hope to get an update from that on staff, soon.)
  5. Having technology on the buses, that will allow riders to find out the location of the buses (and more importantly, know if they missed it) will make the system MUCH more interesting and increase ridership.  Ok, I was really interested in this section.
  6. Commuter rail – using commuter trains on the freight train tracks will provide services from Garner to RTP, with new park-and-ride lots and service every 30 min during peak hours. And could be completed in as quickly as 5 to 6 years once approved.
  7. Light Rail is INCREDIBLY expensive. (New tracks, etc.)  About $1.1B for 13.9 miles of track (from Downtown Cary to Millbrook Road)  VERY SURPRISING.
  8. Light Rail plan is 16 stations, service every 10 min during peak hours
  9. There are many organizations and 12 municipalities involved, and a significant number of Interlocal Agreements (ILA). Lots of moving parts, and a significant amount of work.
  10. Hardly ANY of this expansion is possible without the proposed 1/2 cent sales tax and/or the new county vehicle registration fee.  The sales tax is being tied to a referendum that will come before voters in each municipality.

Would love to know what you think about this plan – please feel free to let me know, or post your comments here.

One Response to Choosin’ how you’re movin’
  1. Wayne Clark Reply

    I am happy to finally see some positive movement for transit in Wake County. The multi-phased approach makes sense given how far behind we are regionally. I hope Wake County follows Durham’s lead in voting for the sales tax increase to enable the improvements. But considering how much whining there has been around here with the NC-540 toll, I have my doubts it will pass.

    Traveling throughout the region today using the bus system is a nightmare. We have 4 municipal bus systems (Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), 3 university bus systems (NCSU, UNC-CH, and Duke), and sort of interconnected with Triangle Transit. Figuring out where buses are with the new Transloc system on is an improvement but trying to mesh schedules from these different systems is an almost insoluble problem. Add to that my multi-modal requirement (i.e. taking my bike so I have transportation at the end points) and you’ll soon find out that it can’t be done today with anything other than a folding bike. Plus it takes much longer than traveling by car. Other than cost and productive time spent on the bus, it is hardly worth the effort.

    Lastly, I lived in Silicon Valley during the 1980s when the San Jose light rail system was in its infancy. It took a decade before it became truly useful. Plus, that was in a region that suffered gridlock and desperately needed it. With the attitudes toward mass transit that are prevalent here in the Triangle, I don’t expect to see it operational in my lifetime.

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