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What to know about plans for the bus rapid transit corridor headed west from Downtown Raleigh

CAMPO map

The City of Raleigh released a new report on the bus rapid transit line going west from downtown — and planners are looking for your input by June 14.

In the 175-page document, the final phase of the study gives specifics on proposed stops for the faster bus system, how development might be funded and what the route could look like.

Here’s an overview of the report:

The route

The Western Boulevard BRT line goes west from Downtown Raleigh, past Boylan Heights, Dorothea Dix Park, Pullen Park, NC State, south of Historic Method, large job centers (including dense offices near Trinity Road and Epic Games new HQ) and to Downtown Cary.

Note: Since this is a City of Raleigh report for public feedback, you’ll only see Raleigh specifics.

[CATCH UP: Raleigh’s transit future: faster buses and commuter rail]

The BRT plan

This route is the second furthest along for planning. The New Bern BRT line, going east, is the first. The southern corridor, to Garner, recently had its preferred route approved. The northern corridor will begin planning this fall.

This final report is for public feedback before it heads to city decision makers who would adopt the plan.

How it could change what we see now

Currently, the adjacent land isn’t pedestrian or bike friendly. This plan wants to change that. Trails, green space and bridges are part of the plan, especially in the area near Pullen and Dix parks. This illustration of the area near a proposed Pullen Road stop is an example:

Screenshot from page 84 of the plan

Part of the route is unbuilt. The Western Blvd. Extension doesn’t yet exist, but would diverge around Jones Franklin Road, go south and west to connect to Cary Towne Boulevard in Cary.

Financing

A TIG is one tool the city might use: While you might know about TIGs because Downtown South developers are currently requesting a Tax Increment Grant, it could be considered for development around the transit corridor.

From the report: “A TIG is a newer financing tool currently being evaluated by the City of Raleigh. TIG may be used to support public-private partnerships through private development investments that generate significant benefits to the public that would not occur but for the grant.

The purpose of the TIG is to increase the tax base, advance economic growth in priority areas of the City where private investment has not otherwise historically occurred, encourage job creation, enhance the public realm, and/or gain additional public benefits from development projects.”

For a developer to receive a TIG, the city would have to agree. Those negotiations would require specific community benefits, such as affordable housing, infrastructure or jobs creation.

Why green development is a priority

Planners want to see more environmentally friendly development around the corridor, or Green Transit Oriented Development.

Part of the green focus is because the route crosses five different watersheds in Raleigh, which affect our water quality. The Cary section is at the headwaters, or source, of Walnut Creek.

What that looks like: “A resident of a Green TOD district should be able to walk or bike safely to and from a BRT station along streets and pedestrian paths lined with abundant plantings.”

The buildings could have sustainable materials, create “microhabitats” and reduce urban heat island effect. Developments could still plan for cars, but “ideally kept separate from the district’s primary human spaces.”

[READ MORE: Raleigh’s community climate change action plan]

What’s next + more info

After getting feedback on this report, it will be presented to the planning commission and the city council for review, then adopted and implemented.

The city is also holding a month-long virtual “open house” for the three BRT corridors furthest along (east, west and south). Get more info here.

LEARN MORE IN THE CITY VIDEO:

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Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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