(RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, Jan. 23, 2018) – New bus routes for GoCary and GoRaleigh, expanded service for GoTriangle’s popular express routes and free service for riders 18 and younger are just a few of the exciting improvements that voter-approved transit investments could bring to Wake County residents in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2019.
Using public surveys and feedback received during fall meetings, transit planners proposed those improvements and others in their FY2019 Draft Work Plan, which is available for public comment through March 12.
“Getting feedback from the people who are funding this plan is a vital part of the process to enhance and expand our transit system,” said Jessica Holmes, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We are excited that the draft work plan includes making transit more accessible to our younger residents by letting them ride free on GoRaleigh, GoCary and GoTriangle buses to school, jobs, museums or wherever they need to go. With this initiative, we hope to cultivate life-long transit users who understand how a strong network improves the entire community.”
The FY2019 Draft Work Plan also incorporates public requests for increased frequency and longer service hours on high-demand routes and for new service to underserved areas. Here are a few of the proposals:
- Realign the Worthdale and Apollo Heights routes in Southeast Raleigh by starting four new routes and extending service on Poole, Barwell and Rock Quarry roads. These changes will bring much-needed service to Southeast Raleigh High School, Walnut Creek Elementary School, the Shoppes at Battle Bridge and Farmington Square Shopping Center, as well as to Barwell Road Community Center and Barwell Elementary School.
- Add a new high-frequency route along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Poole Road and Sunnybrook Road that will operate every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and every 30 minutes until midnight.
- Realign the Rex Hospital route by starting four new routes along Blue Ridge and Edwards Mill roads that will provide much-needed service to the N.C. Museum of Art, the N.C. Fairgrounds and the PNC Arena and extend to Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street.
- Create a new route servicing Weston Parkway, one of Cary’s largest employment corridors, and Park West Village, one of the area’s most popular shopping destinations.
- Increase frequency on the routinely crowded DRX express route between Durham and Raleigh and the CRX express route between Chapel Hill and Raleigh.
- Extend service hours on Route 100, which serves Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and Route 300, which runs between Cary and Raleigh.
- Add operating hours at the Regional Transit Information Center, where many riders transfer to other routes or buy passes.
- Add 3,600 trips for Wake TRACS, the on-demand service that allows customers who are elderly or disabled to get where they need to go.
In addition, the draft work plan includes proposals for spending on bus stop improvements, maintenance facilities, park-and-ride lots and new buses as well as on longer term projects such as bus rapid transit corridors and a 37-mile commuter rail line between Garner and Durham. All of the projects are part of the comprehensive 10-year Wake Transit Plan that was outlined before voters approved a half-cent transit-designated sales tax to pay for it in November 2016.
Make your voice heard
Before the FY2019 Draft Work Plan can go into effect July 1, the public will have the opportunity to comment on it.
From now until March 12, please email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to GoTriangle, Attn. Ashley Hooper, PO Box 13787, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.
The Transit Planning Advisory Committee will review the comments and then update the FY2019 Draft Work Plan in April.
In May or June, the public again will be invited to weigh in on the plan at hearings before it goes to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and GoTriangle boards for approval.
Where we are in a 10-year process
Each fiscal year, planners propose which steps to take next to reach the plan’s overarching goals to connect the region, connect all Wake County communities, create frequent and reliable urban mobility and enhance access to transit before 2028.
The first work plan for fiscal year 2018, running from July 1, 2017, until June 30, already has enabled:
- GoCary to add Sunday service to all its routes.
- GoRaleigh to extend Sunday service to all regular routes and to increase frequency from every 30 minutes to every 15 on high-demand routes.
- GoTriangle to increase frequency on its Route 100 to the airport from every hour to every 30 minutes Monday through Friday.
Transit-designated revenues for fiscal year 2019 are expected to total $116.3 million, with $86.7 million coming from the half-cent sales tax. About $6 million will come from a $7 vehicle registration tax, $4.1 million from a vehicle rental tax and $2.6 million from a $3 vehicle registration tax. Other revenue sources are fare boxes, debt proceeds and the federal and state governments.
Nearly $47 million of the expected revenue will go into reserves to help pay for future projects found in the 10-year Wake Transit Plan. The plan calls for 20 miles of bus rapid transit corridors in Raleigh and Cary that rely on priority signals and designated lanes to help bus operators bypass traffic and keep their routes on schedule. The plan also includes a commuter rail line using existing tracks between Garner and Durham to stop at key destinations including Downtown Raleigh, N.C. State University, Cary, Morrisville and Research Triangle Park.
Find links to more information about the transit plans and processes at waketransit.com. A slide presentation also is available at bit.ly/fy19powerpoint. The audio presentation can be found at youtu.be/5eL9RE2rsjE.