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Friday, October 4, 2013

Raleigh: A new city manager and a new start on transit

Posted By on Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 3:09 PM

When I listen to the recording, I'll tell you exactly how many times Mayor Nancy McFarlane used the words transit or transportation this morning as she introduced Ruffin Hall, the new city manager. For now, I'll just say it was a theme — THE theme, really — that Raleigh intends to get transit off the ground as its next big thing, and Hall is being counted on to help make that happen. photo by Bob GearyRuffin Hall with City Councilor Eugene Weeks (right) this morning. Hall comes to us from Charlotte, where he was an assistant manager and budget director...

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Should Wake County vote on transit funding in 2013?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Capital Area Friends of Transit is an alliance of groups working for better bus and — eventually — light-rail transit offerings for Wake County. They've launched a petition drive in an effort to pressure/convince the Wake County Board of Commissioners to allow a public referendum on the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit which was authorized by the General Assembly four years ago — and which the Wake Commissioners, under Republican control, have blocked ever since. If you think Wake County voters have a right to decide this question, you'll want to sign the petition. Follow this link. The 1/2-cent tax...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Raleigh's Union Station: Future rail to "lop off" Citrix?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 7:09 AM

photo by Bob GearyA freight train chugs past the West Hargett Street intersection: When the rail corridor is widened, it will slice into the Citrix buildings On Friday, we reported the good news about Raleigh's Union Station, Phase 1: It's fully funded at $60 million. In the buildup to that announcement, I heard one other, discordant note. If and when Raleigh adds commuter-rail and high-speed rail service to the current, very limited repertoire of Amtrak trains running through town, the rail corridor coming into the Union Station complex will need to be widened. Why? To make room for additional sets...

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Friday, September 21, 2012

The good news in Raleigh: Union Station, Phase 1, is fully funded at $60 million

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I see that it was just 15 months ago — last June — when the state DOT made its first public pitch for turning the old Dillon Supply fabrication building, also known as the Viaduct Building, into a new Amtrak station for downtown Raleigh. file photo by Bob GearyThe Viaduct Building inside — it needs work!Today, federal, state and city officials gathered there to annnounce that $60 million has been cobbled together from a variety of funding sources, enough to do the work on the station and associated track improvements. The finish date? Sometime in 2016, DOT Deputy Secretary Paul...

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Today: Transit advocates want Wake Commissioners to give 1/2-cent tax a chance (w/ an update: "Fails")

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 9:03 AM

[Update, 6/19: Here are a few paragraphs from a story I wrote today for this week's Indy — First and foremost, Wake County will not vote in November on a ½-cent sales tax increase for transit, the only funding mechanism provided for local governments by the General Assembly. Wake County’s Republican-led Board of Commissioners continues to block the vote. Orange County voters will get to decide the question this fall. Durham voters approved the ½-cent tax last year; the county is waiting for one of its two Triangle partners to join it. But the Wake board not only won’t allow...

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

(Updated) Does the good Citrix news mean that Raleigh's grand Union Station plan is dead?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 8:09 PM

City of Raleigh(In the center) The two large buildings flanking Hargett Street would've been redeveloped as Union Station; now the one on the left, north of Hargett, is ticketed for sale. [Update, 6/8, 2:30 pm. I've spoken to several city officials now, including Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Councilor Thomas Crowder. Nobody wants to say anything on the record about Citrix. That's all very hush-hush and a real estate deal still to be made. But as to whether TTA told the city that it was planning to sell the warehouse building in the first place, all said they think the answer...

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paul Coble on the need to consider transit: "Nah."

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Orange County will be voting on the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit in November. That decision was made by the Orange County Board of Commissioners last night. Durham County, of course, has already passed the 1/2-cent tax in a referendum. And Wake? On Monday, at the Board of Commissioners meeting, Democrat Erv Portman urged that the subject of the tax and transit's future be put on their agenda for next week's work session. Specifically, Portman asked that County Manager David Cooke give a presentation on the updated Wake transit plan, something Portman said could be done in 30 minutes or...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

WakeUP to Paul Coble & Co: Stop blocking a public vote on the 1/2-cent transit tax for Wake

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

It's been three years since the General Assembly passed the bill allowing voters in Wake, Durham and Orange counties to decide whether they want to build a public transit system, i.e., add a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit in their respective counties. Durham voters approved the 1/2-cent tax last year. The vote in the referendum was lopsided in favor. Orange hasn't voted yet, but the Orange commissioners are expected to put the question on the ballot this year. And then there's Wake. Wake hasn't voted, and unless the solid bloc of Republicans (Chairman Paul Coble & Co.) opposed to letting...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

D6 it is: Raleigh Council chooses a downtown light-rail route

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Courtesy Patriarca12 at en.wikipediaLight-transit, Charlotte-styleIf the Raleigh City Council is the last word on the subject — and at this point, it looks like it will be — a trunk light-rail line for the Triangle, if built, would come through downtown Raleigh on the route known as D6. (See the map below.) That's the West Morgan Street-to-Harrington Street alternative. The Council, on a 6-2 vote Monday night, followed the Triangle Transit Authority's recommendation for the downtown alignment. Previously, the TTA had pledged to accept the Council's determination, whatever it was. Thus, the two go hand-in-hand to the Capital Area Metropolitan...

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bike lanes on Hillsborough Street: √

Posted By on Sun, Jul 31, 2011 at 1:04 PM

photo courtesy of Will AlphinWill Alphin, who led the effort to have bike lanes striped on the new Hillsborough Street, took the photo you see at right and sent this note to his friends on Facebook (including moi): "wo years since we first started turning the wheels to get a bike lane on the street adjacent to the highest percentage of cyclists in raleigh - they are down. watching over a hunderd motoroists drive down hillsborough street on the inaugural night of the lanes, not a single one slipped over the line into the cylce lane. this is gonna work....

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Raleigh Council to hear alt.rail.transit.route options for DTR

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Remember the flyover bridges? The railroad tunnels? They are, if not gone forever, at least off the table for now as Light-Rail Transit Plan 2.0 takes shape for DTR (Downtown Raleigh). A good time to take it all in — or have your say — would be Aug. 1, when the City Council conducts a workshop and public hearing on the two alternative routes that are on the table as Triangle Transit (TTA) moves ahead with the process of once again applying for federal aid. The two alternatives are called D6 and D6A: * Under D6, the light-rail line...

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

DOT: We got yer Raleigh rail transit right here ...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 5:18 PM

inside the old Dillon Supply steel fabrication building And you thought we'd have to wait another decade at least to get rail-transit service in Raleigh. Not at all. In fact, we already have rail-transit service — didn't you know? You can jump on a train to Durham three times a day, and three times a day you can jump on a train in Durham that'll take you back to Raleigh. With stops in between at the Cary train station. It's called Amtrak, and it costs $6 or $7 one-way. Scheduled trip times run 35 minutes, plus or minus. (Not counting...

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First look: A (maybe) light-rail bridge over Boylan Avenue

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 12:53 PM

photo illustrations courtesy of TTA Triangle Transit planners launched a new round of "alternatives analysis" workshops last night at Triangle Town Center. Subject: Rail transit — now proposed to be a hybrid commuter-rail and light-rail system — for the region. Another workshop is slated this evening, 4-7 p.m., in Durham and a third is tomorrow, same time, in Chapel Hill. Two more Raleigh sessions are scheduled next week along with one in Cary and one in RTP. For locations and times, see the project website. I wrote an article for the printed Indy this week. I'll put a link in...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We got your transit stops right here — and your poll

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Light rail, Houston-style The poll was taken for the Regional Transportation Alliance — judge accordingly, but the questions seem reasonably straightforward. Traffic congestion is NOT the number one concern in the Triangle. That said, three out of four favor a rail-transit system for commuting and/or a combination of rail and better-bus transit. More than half are even prepared to pay for it via a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit. (That last figure dropped from almost 57 percent to barely 51 percent when the ante was upped to 3/4-cent for better transit AND schools.) ‘‘Nearly 60% of voters in the western...

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Go, go & maybe someday: Durham, Orange and Wake on 1/2-cent tax for transit

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Word on the prospects for a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit in the Triangle after the Regional Transportation Alliance breakfast meeting this morning: * Durham and Orange counties are looking seriously at asking voters this fall to approve a different sales tax increase — the 1/4-cent tax hike authorized by the legislature to support schools or other needs. * Durham and Orange may wind up asking voters to approve a package — the 1/4-cent tax for schools and the 1/2-cent tax for transit. This, according to Michael Page, chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners and Bernadette Pelissier,...

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Light rail to go OVER the Boylan Avenue Bridge?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 5:25 PM

This image of an elevated light-rail line is from India — i.e., general idea only I know y'all were planning to get to the next round of TTA transit planning sessions starting March 22, but just to whet your appetite: I've heard it twice now from well-informed Raleigh officials that the TTA's latest scheme for getting light-rail transit through downtown Raleigh is to go OVER the Boylan Avenue Bridge. (As someone just said on an email thread, you mean under? No, I mean over.) [TTA's response, according to a spokesman, is that they aren't proposing any single option to serve...

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Put the transit tax to a vote in 2011? In my opinion, that's —

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Prospects for the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit idea were batted around this week at a post-election gathering hosted by WakeUP Wake County. Between what I knew beforehand and some things people said in the course of discussion, I believe the situation is this: Two of the four Republican county commissioners-elect (Tony Gurley, Joe Bryan) have told transit supporters that they will allow a countywide referendum on the 1/2-cent tax plan next fall — assuming that polling shows it has a chance to pass. The other two (Paul Coble, Phil Matthews) are against spending for public transit. Thus, it...

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

High-speed rail: Residents' "hybrid" plan gains with City Council, DOT

Posted By on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 9:18 AM

The big news out of last night's City Council hearing on the Southeast High-Speed Rail Project: The hybrid plan put forward by a citizens group — variously called NC4 and the NC1/NC2 Avoidance Alternative — will be given serious consideration by the Department of Transportation's Rail Division. Pat Simmons, head of the rail division, told the Council that his staff will work with the city's transportation staff to see whether the hybrid idea can be made to work and if so, exactly where that cross-Capital Boulevard railroad viaduct could be located and what its impacts would be. Before the hearing,...

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High-speed rail hearing tonight: "Alt. NC1/NC2" route gaining?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 12:47 AM

With opposition to the NC3 alignment building in the Five Points area, tonight's special meeting of the City Council on the proposed Southeast High-Speed Rail project is expected to focus on a compromise idea formerly known (unofficially) as NC4 that is now being called the "NC1/NC2 Avoidance Alternative." Proliferating "No on NC3" signs in the Five Points neighborhoods list a 5 p.m. start tonight (Tuesday night). That's actually the time of a pre-meeting rally in Nash Square — right in front of City Hall — called by neighborhood organizers. The organizers also have a website with good information. The Council...

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Anybody in Raleigh FOR high-speed rail? No, seriously —

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 11:15 AM

A little history. The state DOT picked a general route for the Southeast High-Speed Rail line from Richmond to Raleigh eight years ago, when nobody was paying any attention and there was no prospect of it being funded in anybody's lifetime. The general route: Right through Raleigh; details to follow (or they don't matter). So two years ago DOT showed up at City Hall and said the specific routes they had in mind would requiring closing and/or screwing up the streets that connect Raleigh's first successfully revitalized downtown neighborhood — Glenwood South — to the second revitalizing downtown neighborhood,...

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

High-Speed Rail thru Raleigh: What route? At what price?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Our topic tonight: The public hearing Monday in Raleigh on the proposed Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR) project. The hearing is at the Raleigh Convention Center, 7 p.m., preceded by an open house from 5-7 p.m. I recommend, if you're going — and you should go if the subject of Raleigh's transit future is of any interest to you — that you also take up Norfolk-Southern's offer of free food at their rail yard Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Read on for why I say that. The rail yard is at 1500 Carson Street. See also this position statement from the Downtown...

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Public meetings start today in Raleigh: What kind of transit? Going where?

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 8:14 AM

It's called an alternatives analysis. That means the Triangle Transit Authority is going to weigh doing various kinds of something against doing nothing to improve bus and rail transit services in the region. Step one: hearing from you. Where should transit go? Should it take the form of buses? What kind? How about rail transit — should it be "commuter" style, with mainly rush-hour service? Or a true transit system that runs 24/7 with frequent arrivals and lots of stations? The first of a series of public meetings takes place today, 5:30-8 pm at the Raleigh Convention Center. Transit...

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Bolton: "The most important property in Raleigh." (Or, What about Whitley Street?)

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Whitley Street This is Whitley Street in Raleigh. I know, it's not much — yet. But use your imagination. What about shops and cafes on either side of it as part of a new, mixed-use, transit-friendly, walkable development near the Hillsborough-West Morgan roundabout in Raleigh? You know, all those cool buzzwords we use to describe what we want Raleigh to be when it grows up? Well, here's a chance to grow up some. Anyway, I thought a picture of Whitley would help frame the column I wrote for the Indy this week, which ran with the headline — I didn't...

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Monday in Raleigh: FTA forum on federal transit's "New Start"

Posted By on Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Trains a-comin' ??"New Starts" is the federal transit program that, under the Bush Administration, said "no new start for you" to the Triangle Transit Authority's long-planned commuter-rail system between Durham and Raleigh. That was four years ago. Now, "New Starts" is slated for a new start (couldn't resist) in the Obama regime. A new set of standards, that is, for approving — and funding — or not approving local transit plans. The difference may be that, under Bush, money for transit was short, and the old FTA didn't want to pay for any projects designed to "shape" future development. Either...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bicycle to Work Week kicks off Friday afternooon at Marbles Museum

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Friday, May 14, 3-6 pm at Marbles Kids Museum on Moore Square. Cap it off with a 3.7 mile tour (above) that goes right through my neighborhood. The schedule: The event at Marbles Kids Museum will offer free bike check-ups by REI, a bicycle rodeo for kids and a bike safety clinic for adult cyclists. Free beverages provided by Coca-Cola and food provided by Roly Poly! * 3 - 6pm: Cycling & Environmental Expo Free children’s helmets with fittings (First come, first served). Bike on bus demonstrations. Includes the following events: * 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30pm: Kids Bike Safety Rodeo...

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