‘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

Take our survey, drop by meetings to help shape next transit steps

Since Wake County voters approved a half-cent sales tax dedicated to transit in November 2016, bus routes have been expanded and frequency increased, more bus shelters are on the drawing board and major corridor studies are underway as part of the 10-year Wake County Transit Plan.

Now it’s time to decide what should happen next, and transit planners are seeking the public’s help in setting priorities.

Is it more important to extend buses to areas of the county that do not have service or to add more frequent service where there is already a high concentration of existing and likely riders?

That’s the sort of input residents can give by dropping by any of 10 upcoming meetings in Raleigh, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest and Zebulon and by taking an online survey at publicinput.com/waketransit. 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