More bus routes, free fares for teens proposed as next improvements in 10-year Wake Transit Plan

Residents now can comment on the draft work plan for fiscal year 2019.

(Find a Spanish version of this news release here.)

(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.

Find a slide presentation here.

“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: Read more

Meet Adam Howell: ‘I like to solve problems for the betterment of a group’

What: Making the Connections is a series of stories about the people and processes bringing Wake County’s transit investments to life

Who: Adam Howell

Role: Administrator, Transit Planning Advisory Committee

Degrees: Bachelor of Science, mechanical engineering, University of Maryland-Baltimore County; Master of City and Regional Planning with a specialization in transportation and urban infrastructure planning, Morgan State University, Baltimore.


His title “TPAC administrator” might seem pretty pedestrian given the role that Adam Howell is playing now that the transit investment voters approved last year has begun bringing the Wake Transit Plan to life.

Cat-herder, buck-stopper, ball-juggler, liaison or mediator could more aptly describe Howell, a former transit planner for the Town of Cary, and the newly created position he began Aug. 21 for the TPAC — or the Transit Planning Advisory Committee.

“When I applied, I said I needed clarification on what to expect,” Howell said. “They said, ‘You need to know and be involved in everything that is Wake Transit.” I looked at them and said, ‘Is that all?’ So every project you see in the books, I’m a part of the conversation.”

Those projects include more extensive and more frequent bus service, new bus rapid transit corridors, a commuter rail line between Garner and Durham, more bus stop amenities and new bus facilities and stations. All are part of the 10-year Wake Transit Plan, a vision laid out before voters approved the half-cent sales tax to help pay for it in November 2016.

As work on implementing the plan got underway after the vote, decisions on the ground rules for investing the transit money and setting priorities among the projects had to be made. A few months in, it became clear that the complexity of coordinating the wishes of 12 Wake municipalities and the county itself, managing mounds of paperwork and agreements and keeping stakeholders fully informed required that someone be designated an administrator.

Enter Adam Howell – the liaison between the TPAC and the governing boards of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and GoTriangle. Read more

You’ve gone to the meetings or taken the transit survey. What happens next?

The feedback that transit planners have been accumulating through public meetings and an online survey will be used to create a policy on setting project priorities, to draft new bus routes and to develop timelines for building more infrastructure.

Planners expect to draft policies, routes and timelines by the end of the year and to give the public another opportunity to weigh in on the plans early next year.

Specifically, planners are looking to prioritize new projects to be implemented in fiscal year 2019, which starts July 1, 2018, and to identify service and capital projects that can help build a better countywide transit network. They also are starting to study how best to connect bus services to the proposed bus rapid transit and commuter rail projects.

“When we come back to the public for feedback in the springtime, we will be proposing specific routings and timing for new services,” said Jenny Green, a GoTriangle planner in charge of the Wake Transit Bus Plan. “We hope people will check in then for more details on how the routes are proposed to be structured and when they are proposed to be implemented.”

Once residents have weighed in again on the proposals, transit planners will pull it all together into a transit work plan for fiscal year 2019, making sure that it is fair and affordable, and take it to local governments and boards for approval.

Planners hope to start expanding service in fall 2018. Because Wake County voters approved a half-cent sales tax dedicated to transit in November 2016, bus service already was improved in August. The new service will be a continuation of that expansion, all part of the 10-year Wake County Transit Plan.

‘We have to be ready’ for influx of newcomers, say residents at Wake Transit meetings

Intertwined among the many reasons residents recently attended public meetings to hear more about the 10-year Wake County Transit Plan were a thread of fear and a measure of relief: fear about the continuing fire hose of newcomers potentially overwhelming our roads and relief that voters have chosen to invest in solutions.

“It’s nice to be living somewhere where you don’t have to twist somebody’s arm to see why it’s worthwhile to invest taxpayer money in public transportation,” said Gaby Lawlor, who moved to Raleigh from New Jersey with her husband a month ago. “I have high hopes for this area. Since we’ve been here, everything has reaffirmed our decision to move to Raleigh.”

Both Lawlor and Nathan Spencer, left, who moved his family from Boston to Raleigh four years ago, chose Wake County because of the numerous accolades it has received about being one of the best places to live in the country. But both are concerned about whether the area has the infrastructure to accommodate those who follow them.

“What’s coming the next two years is going to be insane,” said Spencer, 36. “I would expect in the next two years a correction in the market, and a lot of people my age and younger are going to be looking at the rent in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to live outside my means.’ They’re going to google the best city to work in, and they’re going to find Raleigh. We have to be ready.”

Otis Allen, a retiree living in Southeast Raleigh, wants to make sure that those who rely on public transportation to go about their daily lives remain a focus as the county continues to grow. Read more

Meet Jenny Green: ‘This is my way to reduce our impact on the planet”

What: Making the Connections is a series of stories about the people and processes bringing Wake County’s transit investments to life

Who: Jenny Green

Role: GoTriangle transit service planner currently serving as project manager for the Wake Transit Bus Plan

Degrees: Bachelor’s, computer science and cognitive science, University of Rochester; master’s, city and regional planning, UNC-Chapel Hill

Quote: “Ten years from now, you’re going to have 68 times 365 times 10 more people who are traveling around, and what will your drive be like then?”


Change is the operative word when it comes to Jenny Green. It was the alarming march of climate change that prompted her to change the course of her life in the hope that maybe she could help change the worsening world one transit plan at a time.

A native of Vermont, Green arrived in North Carolina in 2003 when she took a job as a software engineer for IBM. After five years, she started feeling as if she needed to find work that added more meaning to her life.

“It was around 2007 when there was a lot of talk about climate change, and I started to explore how I could contribute to making the world a good place to live,” she says. “That piqued my interest in planning as a tool to promote good growth patterns, which has an effect on fossil-fuel consumption and quality of life.” Read more

First round of transit improvements funded by new Wake investments up and running

AUG. 1, 2017 — Just nine months after Wake County voters approved new investments in transit, GoRaleigh, GoCary and GoTriangle are rolling out expanded bus service that will increase access to transportation options, job opportunities and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The improvements, which begin Aug. 6, include adding Sunday service to all GoCary routes and increasing frequency on GoRaleigh Route 7 from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes and on GoTriangle Route 100 from hourly to every 30 minutes Monday through Friday. GoTriangle Route 100 begins at the GoRaleigh Station, stops several times at N.C. State University along Hillsborough Street and comfortably connects travelers to RDU.

All of the new service is part of the Wake County Transit Plan, which is funded with the voter-approved half-cent sales tax that went into effect April 1, a $7 vehicle registration tax and an $8 regional registration tax. Read more

Keep an eye out: What Wake voters will get from transit tax in FY 2018

In November, Wake County voters approved a half-cent sales tax dedicated to paying for transit initiatives. The tax, which started April 1, is expected to generate $94.3 million in revenues in its first fiscal year. About $10.6 million of that will go into the operating fund and pay for improvements to bus service, among other things. About $83.7 million is headed to the capital fund, with $63.5 million going into savings for future projects and $20.2 million paying for current projects. Here is a look at some of the projects slated for Fiscal Year 2018.  Read more