Research Triangle Park, N.C. (April 17, 2018 | Updated April 27, 2018) – As we go forward with our community investment in transit, plans for building Wake County’s first bus rapid transit corridors and vastly expanding its bus network have been rolling along, and now it’s time for the public to get a peek and offer opinions on routes and priorities.
At four upcoming drop-in meetings and numerous other community events, GoTriangle, GoRaleigh and GoCary team members will be displaying plans for four bus rapid transit corridors and maps of what the bus network might look like by 2021, 2024 and 2027. The meetings are part of a two-phase outreach effort that will include taking feedback on these proposals, revising them and then giving the public another chance to weigh in this summer.
Until now, the bus network plan has been largely conceptual, so this is an opportunity for the community to influence exactly how the routes will roll out over the next several years. Can’t make it to a meeting? View the plans and take a survey starting April 27 at publicinput.com/waketransit.
All of the improvements are part of the 10-year Wake Transit Plan, which was put in place after voters in November 2016 approved a half-cent sales tax to invest in transit. Wake’s plan is part of a larger effort to build a strong regional transit network connecting Wake, Orange and Durham counties. Orange and Durham counties also have approved transit-designated money and long-range transit plans in recent years.
In Wake County, four corridors have been identified for bus rapid transit, which includes dedicated bus lanes, priority signaling for buses at intersections, stations instead of stops and easier boarding. Approximately 20 miles of bus rapid transit will link Raleigh to Cary and Garner, operating east from downtown to serve the WakeMed campus area, south from downtown to Garner, west toward Cary and north from downtown to allow buses to bypass congestion as they serve major destinations.
At the meetings and online, residents can weigh in on routing choices within parts of those corridors and on the locations for their stations.
“The most successful bus rapid transit systems in operation today feature dedicated lanes running in the center of the road, off-board fare payment and stations with easy walking and bicycling connections,” says Patrick McDonough, GoTriangle’s manager of planning and transit-oriented development. “High-performing BRT stations, among other features, have platforms, shelters and displays showing when the next bus will arrive. These BRT corridors will be designed to meet our collective transit goals of connecting more people to jobs, education and health care.”
Construction on the first corridor is expected to begin in 2022, with all four routes projected to be up and running by 2027.
David Eatman, the City of Raleigh’s transit administrator, is excited to see the transit plan taking shape. “GoRaleigh looks forward to the transit infrastructure improvements that will help make Raleigh and the greater region a popular and convenient place to live and work,” he says.
Using public feedback in plans
To create the three snapshots of what bus service might look by 2027, transit planners surveyed and met with members of the public in fall 2017 to collect their ideas and feedback about their priorities.
Bus service improvements include a variety of strategies such as developing a frequent bus network to connect with bus rapid transit and a 37-mile commuter rail line running from Garner through Raleigh to Durham by 2028. The frequent bus network, operating daily with at least 15-minute frequencies during peak periods, would grow from 17 to 83 miles by 2027. The plans also call for connecting all Wake communities with at least peak hour service by then.
At the upcoming meetings, the public can offer opinions on what should happen first. Planners also will share ideas for investing in capital projects such as new bus shelters, buses and other supporting facilities. Every year, planners will return to residents to ask what they think should happen in the year ahead to meet the bus plan goals outlined in transit plans.
To see and weigh in on the plans, drop in between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at any of these locations:
- April 30, Town Hall (2nd Floor), 900 Seventh Ave., Garner.
- May 3, GoRaleigh Operations Center, 4104 Poole Road, Raleigh.
- May 14, WakeMed Andrews Conference Center, 3024 New Bern Ave, Raleigh.
- May 15, Cary Arts Center (Paul Cooper Room), 101 Dry Ave., Cary.
“We are excited about the service expansions and infrastructure investments that will further enhance the GoCary system, in addition to providing seamless connections to our transit partners throughout the region,” says Kelly Blazey, transit services administrator for the Town of Cary.
Media members are encouraged to attend the public meeting in Garner, where transit planners and elected officials will be available to answer more detailed questions.
Find us at community events
Transit agency representatives also will be popping up at community events and transit stations to talk about the plans. Look for them at events such as PeakFest in Apex, Six Sundays in Spring in Wake Forest, Artsplosure in Raleigh, Ritmo Latino in Cary, SpringFest in Morrisville and Foodtruck Thursday in Knightdale.
“Wake County’s plan calls for tripling bus service by 2027, and at the meetings and through the online survey, people will be able to see where and when more new service is expected to start,” says Jenny Green, a GoTriangle transit service planner who is serving as project manager for the Wake Transit Bus Plan. “In rolling out new service, we have to balance more frequent service and more evening and weekend service on local routes with expanding commuter and local bus service to connect all Wake County communities. We hope people will talk with planners about how the transit network will grow and provide suggestions to help shape the plan.”
Since the Wake County voters approved the plan, among other improvements, GoTriangle has expanded its Route 100, which serves Raleigh-Durham International Airport on its run between Raleigh and the Regional Transit Center in Durham, and Route 300, which runs from the Regional Transit Center to Cary and Raleigh. GoCary has added Sunday service to all six of its routes, and GoRaleigh has added frequency to its most popular routes and expanded Sunday service.
As Wake, Durham and Orange counties go forward together to create a unified regional transit system, plans also call for significant increases in bus connectivity among the counties and a light-rail line between Orange and Durham counties that connects to the commuter rail between Durham and Wake.
Additional bus service for Garner public meeting
To make it easier to participate in the kickoff meeting in Garner, GoTriangle and GoRaleigh are extending service on Route 102 from Raleigh to Garner! Additional trips back to Raleigh will depart the stop on Seventh Avenue in front of Garner Town Hall at 6:38 p.m. and 7:38 p.m. and will arrive at GoRaleigh Station at 6:55 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. respectively. All stops normally served by Route 102’s morning trips will be served by these additional trips.