Thank you to everyone who attended or watched the Transit Strategy Kick-Off on Monday, December 8, 2014. We were very excited to have more than 550 people in attendance!
There were dozens of questions that came in during the event from people in the room and those watching at home on cable or via our website. Many of the questions were broad while some were very specific.
We will start with the more broad questions.
Will transit options save time?
This will depend on where you are, where you are going and how the final plan is balanced in terms of ridership versus coverage. Ridership meaning the average number of the daily riders and coverage meaning how many miles the transit option covers. One plan option is to focus transit on one particular area of town, such as the downtown area. This plan will emphasize more stops more often. A second plan would have transit moving all over town, covering much more area. This plan would allow more people to use transit but would cover more distance. The answer will depend on which plan is chosen. It is our goal that whichever transit option we chose will be convenient and enjoyable for everyone.
What is the possibility of commuter rail?
In this part of the process, we must first discuss values and what is most important to the residents of the county. Once again, this involves choosing a point on the spectrum of ridership and coverage. After this is decided and a transit network is built, modes of transportation will be discussed. There is a possibility but much further down the road.
Many of the questions during the Kick-Off Event were very specific. For example:
How do cycling/pedestrian options enter the conversation?
Bike and pedestrian infrastructure is important for the success of transit. Like other modes of transportation, specifics will enter the conversation later in the process.
How will Wolfline (NC State’s bus system) be integrated into this plan?
NC State University has already proven to be a critical partner in this planning process and will continue to be. Wolfline will be integrated somehow but the details of that are not yet confirmed.
As we are setting the direction for further investment in transit the County and our partners have agreed to engage the community with no pre-established assumptions on what the correct solutions will or should be. This makes it more difficult to answer the specific questions right now.
The process will move from high level decisions about goals and priorities to corridors, service levels and funding during the next several months. The analogy being used is that plan development is like an airplane coming in for a landing; some decisions will be made at 60,000 feet, later decisions at 40,000 feet and so on.
We are currently at 60,000 feet. We cannot provide answers to questions that request information that has not yet been determined. What we can do, is compile the more specific questions, group all the questions submitted and will provide answers as the planning process continues.
If you have a specific interest that you would like addressed, think about sending a comment instead of a question. For example, we’ve heard questions like “will transit connect to the airport?” or “will transit link to smaller communities?” These questions suggest that there is an interest in these services. However, we cannot be certain of the perspective of the person asking the question.
So, to provide more clarity please consider leaving comments specifically stating what you would like the process to consider. Staff will provide details on how different aspects are treated in the plan as work continues.
As we move ahead in the planning we will be able to answer some of the more focused questions