‘We have to be ready’ for influx of newcomers, say residents at Wake Transit meetings; 7 more to go!

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, project manager for the Wake Transit Bus Plan

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?”

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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