ChiefJoJo

2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

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The Special Transit Advisory Commission (STAC), which was charged with developing a new regional transit plan, has finalized its work. On May 21, the STAC presented its final recommendations to the regional planning organizations (CAMPO & DCHC) for their adoption. Now that we have an official recommendation, it is time for a new topic, more specific to this plan. The finalized (estimated) $8.2 billion 2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan calls for:

[*]an enhanced region-wide local and express bus network (beginning in 2010)

[*]bus and/or future fixed guideway circulators connecting RDU, RTP and in the downtowns of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro, and Cary

[*]building 56 miles of rapid rail transit corridors connecting Chapel Hill with Durham via LRT & Durham to Northeast Raleigh via DMU regional rail by ~2024

[*]a new

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I really hope that this plan can actually get off of the ground. It's exciting to see something that could actually happen, and now it seems more likely. See you in 17 years on the train!

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Good Lord. I would say that a plan that won't be realized for 27 years is not a plan but an excuse not to do anything at great cost. They should focus on what they can do in the next 5 years.

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What are the people going to do? Gas is at $4.oo now and I have heard it could be $5.00 before summer is out. This plan should be put on a fast track. The citizens of the Triangle should put The Special Transit Advisory Commission (STAC feet to the fire. The Triangle could use the system now; I can not imagine what it will be like in 27 years without a transit system in place.

Capital Blvd. should have special bus lanes built, so the buses would not be in the that traffic. I-40 needs bus lanes. This would be a short fixed until rail could be built.

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The Special Transit Advisory Commission (STAC), which was charged with developing a new regional transit plan, has finalized its work. On May 21, the STAC presented its final recommendations to the regional planning organizations (CAMPO & DCHC) for their adoption. Now that we have an official recommendation, it is time for a new topic, more specific to this plan. The finalized (estimated) $8.2 billion 2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan calls for:

[*].....

[*]a new

Edited by staffer

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I can't wait 20 years before this plan eventually comes through and I've moved to Charlotte. :rolleyes:

I want transit options now. <_<

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Well, unfortunately, short of doing a modified Amtrak-type service (that vitaviatic frequently championed) on the existing NCRR tracks, this is about as quick as is possible. You can't do much without funding, and there is none. Local leaders must go to the state and ask for permission, get the tax issue placed on the ballot and then begin to put the buses on the road and do the preliminary engineering for rail. Simultaneous, we begin a process to start to re-evaluate the old TTA plan through the federally-mandated environmental review process (EIS). The good thing is that the land aquisition, design of tracks, and stations is mostly complete, and that info can be used in the new plan for the DMU rail line from Durham to NE Raleigh.

I believe the STAC plan contemplates that the NE Raleigh to NW Cary portion of the DMU line could be operating by 2017 or so. The Chapel Hill to Durham LRT would have to be evaluated via EIS, the track and stations designed and land purchased from scratch, as very little work has been done on that corridor. So, it will be a number of years before it could be built, even if funding did exist now (which is doesn't). The STAC report and financial model assumed the LRT could be built by 2020. The final DMU rail link through RTP would be built by 2024. These were all assumptions built into the financial model, and not explicit rail investment priorities.

The other piece that limits the timeframe is the funding assumptions. The STAC felt some pressure not to assume too much federal or state assistance for the rail projects, given the failure of the old Raleigh to Durham New Starts project to received federal funding. This is different than much of the CATS 2030 Plan (Charlotte), where the majority of projects assume a 50% federal and 25% state share.... the STAC assumes closer to 15% state and 10% federal share. If a new windfall of federal and/or state cash were available to the region through New Starts or a new federal or state program, it's safe to assume that the plan could be accelerated. As staffer metioned, there is already a bill in the General Assembly which contemplates allowing certain counties the right to impose a 1/2 cent sales tax for transit, and talk of a future bill that contemplates a 25% state share of transit projects in Mecklenburg, the Triangle and Triad.

At the end of the day, it is a conservative plan that will hopefully be bold enough to get things going in the right direction. Ultimately, I think the plan will be accepted by the public and eventually expanded in scope to include other corridors for some sort of rapid transit.

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Gooooood luck! It would be great to be able to press a button and get things done.

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Does anybody remember the John Locke foundation study from a few years back that said nobody would ride a train in the triangle and recommended more highways? How people couldn't see this oil crisis coming when all the evidence has been here is beyond me.

But I'll agree that I'm not going to hold my breath for a plan that points toward 30 years from now. Funding these types of projects should be a matter of national security if nothing else and worthy of Federal funding, not something that should be slashed out of the budgets.

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Why does CH and Durham get clean Light Rail, while Wake County's portion is stuck with DMUs?

And how am I going to catch the bus that cruises down 540 towards RTP?

This plan should have addressed changing large shopping areas into dense villages and connecting them via rail.

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Why does CH and Durham get clean Light Rail, while Wake County's portion is stuck with DMUs?

And how am I going to catch the bus that cruises down 540 towards RTP?

This plan should have addressed changing large shopping areas into dense villages and connecting them via rail.

DMU makes sense for the line from Downtown Durham to NE Raleigh because it is a very long trip (~35 miles), much too long for LRT, which is ideally suited for up to 15 miles or so. Plus LRT would have to meet strict FRA crash and lateral spacing requirements for joint NCRR operation, which would be very costly. The Chapel Hill to Durham line is shorter (~13 miles), and could not accomodate DMU or CR (no rail corridors), as it must run on a new alignment or in mixed traffic in many cases. It will be LRT or possibly BRT, depending on the results of the EIS and other factors. The good thing about both technologies is that they are designed to serve frequent trips throughout the day--not only rush hour--and can be expanded with relative ease by adding more co-mingled rail vehicles.

The STAC report addresses land use by proposing an incentives plan that:

Encourage communities to be proactive in planning and building in a way that will support transit operations and build ridership

Encourage the consistent application of transit-oriented land use policies already in place

Promote local government involvement in building and maintaining park-and-ride lots and other transit infrastructure

Revising zoning ordinances to promote denser, mixed use development along corridors and at transit stops and stations

Planning and building better infrastructure for bicycle and pedestrian access to transit facilities

As I said before, some will call this plan too conservative, or too little too late, but I would argue that given that the previous transit project failed to get federal funding, it's best to be conservative at this point. Once things are up and running, I would expect the plan to evolve, just as Charlotte's vision did over the years. In fact, the 2035 Plan includes the following text:

The Regional Transit Vision Plan represents the STAC recommendations based on current information and expectations. However, just as LRTPs are routinely updated, the Vision Plan will need to be revisited and updated. For example, a corridor for which express commuter bus service is recommended may in the future develop to the point where rail service will more effectively serve the travel needs.
Rail corridors may need to be extended, or spur lines for rail transit may need to be added to the system to serve heavy demand just off the corridors included in the Vision Plan.
The Triangle will continue to grow and change, and the Vision Plan will also need to grow and change to continue to guide transit investments in the region.

This plan is appropriately conservative, but it also presents a basic system that would connect the region together. An example of a much more aggressive strategy would be Denver's Fastracks, which began with a more basic plan, but has now embarked on a multi-billion dollar plan to build 120+ miles of LRT, BRT, and CR within 12 years. How did they do it? They voted to tax themselves to get it done quicker.

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My first post was somewhat sarcastic... of course I would like to see more options now. I don't understand how it will take 20 years to get some new trains on some tracks and build some stations, especially if the rails are already intact. I know there has to be funding, and taxing and all that stuff, but still...

Why does CH and Durham get clean Light Rail, while Wake County's portion is stuck with DMUs?

And how am I going to catch the bus that cruises down 540 towards RTP?

This plan should have addressed changing large shopping areas into dense villages and connecting them via rail.

I don't know either... I think its because there they may be on new tracks while ours will be existing. Electric would be much nicer, and maybe cheaper since diesel gas is sooo expensive.

I do think that this plan is better than nothing, and hopefully it will spark more development and creativity in the future when it comes to transit options.

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Although not specifically about the 2035 plan, I thought I'd point out that I've noticed TTA's buses getting more and more crowded on a weekly basis. Buses that two years ago carried 4 or 5 people and two months ago carried 10 or 15 now regularly seem to be carrying perhaps 20 passengers. Today for the first time I can recall, both the Shuttle 49 bus I boarded in the morning and the 301 bus I boarded in the evening had more than 20 people on it.

One demographic I've noticed that are patronizing the buses quite heavily lately are young, seemingly single, IT industry workers from India. It seems to be catching on as a part of the culture. I've also seen a lot of people using NCSU's U-pass to ride to RTP - probably Co-ops or internships. I've also noticed a lot of new faces NOT from those demographics as well.

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^^^

Definitely great news. I would imagine that increasing ridership on the buses could help them make the arguement for funding of LRT, both at the state, local and national levels? Despite what may happen with LRT though, its still years off from being ready to use, so I think that all the municipal bus systems of the triangle (in particular DATA and CAT) and TTA must start ramping up their services NOW. Increasing bus service and improving bus stations is by far the cheapest and most cost effective thing we can do right now, not to mention fastest way to add mass transit compacity while we get the larger projects like LRT underway. Circulator buses don't require much more than a dedicated bus do they? If not, we could easily start doing that as well.

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Yep, no question that as gas prices climb, people are looking for options to get to work, especially with the long drives so many are accustomed to here due to RTP's location. I think the gas prices are contributing to the momentum for transit...

Today's paper says HB 2363, that staffer metioned above, appears to have some legs in the General Assembly. This would allow for a region-wide vote on a 1/2-cent sales tax and increased vehicle registration fee for transit. I like that is seems to have bipartisan support, which will be important going forward.

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DMU makes sense for the line from Downtown Durham to NE Raleigh because it is a very long trip (~35 miles), much too long for LRT, which is ideally suited for up to 15 miles or so. Plus LRT would have to meet strict FRA crash and lateral spacing requirements for joint NCRR operation, which would be very costly. The Chapel Hill to Durham line is shorter (~13 miles), and could not accomodate DMU or CR (no rail corridors), as it must run on a new alignment or in mixed traffic in many cases. It will be LRT or possibly BRT, depending on the results of the EIS and other factors. The good thing about both technologies is that they are designed to serve frequent trips throughout the day--not only rush hour--and can be expanded with relative ease by adding more co-mingled rail vehicles.

How about Wake/Raleigh gets some LRT in new alignment from Garner maybe up US70, or a parallel road to Crabtree? with possible extensions further up Creedmoor or Glenwood in the future?

Rail excites people. Busses do not.

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Rail excites people. Busses do not.

While I'm up for any form of transit options right now because my truck costs me too much to fill these days, I have to agree that rail is more "hip".

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I would love to see the Raleigh-Durham line built as EMU rather than DMU, but I don't think that's very likely in today's political climate. At the very least, I'd like to see any new or rebuilt bridges tall enough to allow for future installation of overhead wires on the TTA and even NCRR lines without further bridge work.

I don't recall if I've posted this here before but I drew a "fantasy" map. I feel it is pretty well grounded in the reality of the STAC plan, regional travel patterns, and the actual topography and built environment of our area, though it's not necessarily grounded with respect to cost.

Here is a map.

In addition to the 2 main lines planned by STAC, I drew 2 other lines.

Line 1 (Red) is the Durham-RTP-Raleigh DMU (EMU if we can afford it) line. This is taken directly from the STAC plan. 37 miles.

Line 2 (Purple) is the Durham-Chapel Hill LRT line. This too is directly from STAC, and follows the actual proposed alignment as closely as I could manage. 16 miles.

Line 3 (Green) is a Chapel Hill - RTP - RDU - Raleigh line. Between Chapel Hill and RTP, it follows the NC54/I-40 Feasibility Study alignment. From there it goes through RDU and then follows Glenwood to Five Points. At Five Points it jogs to the NS rail line via Fairview. It follows that through Downtown, Dix, and then ends up at South Saunders & Tryon. 36 miles.

Line 4 (Blue) is a Raleigh Midtown line, Fairgrounds-Highwoods. This is the STAC Raleigh circulator concept, extended to include North Hills and connect with Line 1 on both ends. 8 miles.

For Line 3 to work, the Norfolk Southern freight line would have to be re-routed and Glenwood Yard would have to be be closed. The brown line illustrates one way this could be done. If that proved to be impossible, Line 3 could just stay on Glenwood past Five Points, and terminate downtown.

The white lines represent peak-period commuter service. I drew them to follow existing rail lines, but they could and should start out as bus lines on highways, as proposed by STAC.

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^^ orulz, I like the concept.

I don't like that Raleigh is married to using Freight corridors. NCRR has not proven to be a good friend to Mass transit. It is good for the DMU connection to Durham/CH, but for Raleigh, I would like to see something electric.

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NCRR has not proven to be a good friend to Mass transit.

...or bars in the Warehouse District. :P

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For Line 3 to work, the Norfolk Southern freight line would have to be re-routed and Glenwood Yard would have to be be closed. The brown line illustrates one way this could be done. If that proved to be impossible, Line 3 could just stay on Glenwood past Five Points, and terminate downtown.

There was some discussion earlier this year about NS relocating the Glenwood Yard to the Clayton area along the NCRR ROW, but that Clayton yard proposal met with a lot of resistance from people in that area and seems to have been dropped. The current NS line from Boylan to the interlocking on Capital Blvd would be taken out of operation, and NS and the new short line operations to Wilson would use the CSX ROW to get to and fro.

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June 26 Wake Transit forum

http://wakeupwakecounty.com/cms/node/83

TRANSIT: Is Wake County Ready for it?

A community forum on transit issues. Thursday, June 26, 7-9:30 pm

NCSU McKimmon Center, Raleigh

Hosted by the following Community Partners:

WakeUP Wake County, Downtown Housing Improvement Corp., North Carolina Conservation Network, Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, Sierra Club Capital Group, Society for Women Environmental Professionals, Women in Transportation Seminar - NC Triangle Chapter

Forum highlights:

  • Keynote speaker: Carol Coletta, CEO - CEO for Cities and host of NPR syndicated program, Smart Cities, and national urbanism expert

"By choice or by chance. How can transit help us plan for a future of growth?"

  • Discussion by community business leaders on how transit can provide economic opportunities for Wake County

  • Overview of new proposal for regional transit in Wake and the Triangle

  • NC Gubernatorial Candidates invited to present views on transit

The purpose of the forum is to discuss the opportunities and potential of transit in Wake County and the Triangle. Please come learn, ask questions and participate in the community discussion!

register here:

http://wakeupwakecounty.com/cms/node/83/eventregistration

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anyone know when the new WF tta route and local WF bus route will start up? ive spent all morning marking out my trip to and from work. looking forward to finally not driving!

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I believe implementation is scheduled for July 7. I think that's still pending approval by the TTA Board of Trustees at the June 25th meeting, but there's no reason they won't just rubber stamp it.

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