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What Does Raleigh Need to Do To Reach the Next Level as a City?

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Articles like this should really raise eyebrows in Raleigh:

Raleigh loses, but Charlotte wins $25 million federal grant to launch streetcars

It really pisses me off when I read ariticles like this, for a number of reasons. It's not out of envy for what Charlotte is and Raleigh's not, it's exactly the opposite. There is a reason why Raleigh lost out and Charlotte won bigtime. It's called LEADERSHIP.

1) Charlotte has become very good at utilizing its resources to go after what it wants. Raleigh has not.

2) Charlotte's city government is stocked with leaders who actually have a vision for their city. Raleigh's city government is not.

3) Charlotte makes sure that any bid that it makes for funding, conventions, etc. has been well-prepared, is practical, and has been properly vetted. Raleigh does not.

The list goes on and on, and i'm sure that most Raleigh citizens would agree with me. I feel, and have always felt, that the problem is not a lack of talent in Raleigh, or resources, or any of those things. The problem is a lack of true leadership. The main characteristic of a leader is the ability to develop a vision and effectively sell that vision to others. I'm not convinced that we have this in Raleigh. To be fair, there are a couple of individuals that I can name who I do feel are leaders, but they are in the minority.

What can be done to improve this situation?

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Yes, it's disappointing. I didn't read either Raleigh's application or Charlotte's, so I don't know how they compared in terms of logic and structure. But if Raleigh can't make a compelling case for improved bus service along New Bern Avenue, we're in deep trouble.

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I agree. I think there's too much nonsense in our leadership and people don't see Raleigh as what it should be and is becoming. But it's important to realize that we're still growing, we're still a very strong city and I still have faith that something can be done. I don't know anything about the politics of our leadership and I agree it's pretty lame at the moment, but... well that's pretty much it. Yay Raleigh.

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Yes, it's disappointing. I didn't read either Raleigh's application or Charlotte's, so I don't know how they compared in terms of logic and structure. But if Raleigh can't make a compelling case for improved bus service along New Bern Avenue, we're in deep trouble.

I haven't read either city's application either, nor do I know what the criteria was for this funding, but I'm fairly certain that I understand why Charlotte got money and Raleigh didn't. If you look at what both cities intended to use the federal funding for, Charlotte's request makes sense, Raleigh's doesn't...in the context of federal funding that is.

If I were evaluating Raleigh's request for federal funding to build new sidewalks, add more buses, and more green lights in that particular section, the first question that I would ask is...why is this not being totally funded out of your city's operational budgets? This request clearly does not seem to justify receiving federal grant money, especially for cities as financially healthy as Raleigh, when there are other cities that are not as healthy, that are sincerely trying to redevelop blighted areas. I'm not clear on Raleigh's plans to redevelop this area in any other fashion. Let's face it, it's not like they are planning to make that area the next RTP.

On the otherhand, Charlotte's plans for the funding is a perfect example of what the fed's want to use this money for. They have already detailed plans for redevelopment of those impacted areas, and how it would payoff in the longrun. The streetcars would just be icing on the cake.

Now if Raleigh had requested funding to do a feasibility study for the building of a streetcar line along Glenwood Ave between Glenwood South and the CDB, I can almost guarantee you that we would have received some funding. There is already a proven need for improved transit along that route (i.e. the downtown circular) and there is clearly redevelopment taking place and planned for that area (West at North, Tucker apts, 222, etc.). Now this would make sense.

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I haven't read either city's application either, nor do I know what the criteria was for this funding, but I'm fairly certain that I understand why Charlotte got money and Raleigh didn't.

Raleigh applied for funding under the FTA Bus and Bus Livability Program. Charlotte's application was under the FTA Urban Circulator Program.

Two different programs.

So comparing the two results isn't even accurate.

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Raleigh applied for funding under the FTA Bus and Bus Livability Program. Charlotte's application was under the FTA Urban Circulator Program.

Two different programs.

So comparing the two results isn't even accurate.

We're not comparing the programs or Raleigh's vs Charlotte's approach. We're comparing the end result, it's that simple.

Charlotte got grant money from the FTA, and Raleigh didn't. Charlotte was able to make its case for need, and Raleigh wasn't.

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It's difficult to portray Raleigh as seriously transit-minded, given the state of the CAT system. I know there have been a few improvements in CAT over the years, but people in the arc between Capitol Blvd and South Wilmington St -- many lower income households, and many African-American households -- who depend on CAT find it unpleasant, to say the least. The proposal for New Bern would have met a real need and would also have sent a signal to those residents that amid all the talk of rail-based transit and downtown renewal, Raleigh has not forgotten them.

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We're not comparing the programs or Raleigh's vs Charlotte's approach. We're comparing the end result, it's that simple.

Charlotte got grant money from the FTA, and Raleigh didn't. Charlotte was able to make its case for need, and Raleigh wasn't.

You can't [logically] compare the end results without knowing the substance of the proposals, the funding criteria, and their [the proposals] weight against competing proposals. And since Raleigh and Charlotte's proposals weren't even competing against one another, that's why I said the comparison wasn't accurate.

You said Charlotte was able to make its case for need and Raleigh wasn't. But how can you make a conclusory statement like that without even knowing what kind of case they were required to make?

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You can't [logically] compare the end results without knowing the substance of the proposals, the funding criteria, and their [the proposals] weight against competing proposals. And since Raleigh and Charlotte's proposals weren't even competing against one another, that's why I said the comparison wasn't accurate.

You said Charlotte was able to make its case for need and Raleigh wasn't. But how can you make a conclusory statement like that without even knowing what kind of case they were required to make?

You're right, I don't know all of the details about Charlotte's request nor Raleigh's request. All that we know is what has been written in various articles. Having said that, it seems that Charlotte's request for funding to study the development of a streetcar system is more in line with the criteria for the program to which it applied.

Based on what we know about Raleigh's request, and general knowledge of the New Bern area corridor (by someone who grew up in Raleigh and spends quite a bit of time there), it's easy to conclude that the reason they did not receive funding had to do solely with their intent of use. Funding new transit buses is one thing, but using FTA funding to also cover new sidewalks and traffic lights??? Those things are typically funded out of a city's operational budgets, which is why Raleigh only sought a fraction of the total amount that it needed from the FTA in the first place.

Raleigh's application was denied for 1 of two reasons, either the committee felt that Raleigh did not sufficiently make its case, or they felt that the money would be better spent elsewhere. In either scenario, one can reasonably conclude that Raleigh did not do a good job making it's case for need. This is the point that i'm trying to make.

If you want to continue to split hairs on this, i'm sure that I can find the actual FTA program information which both cities applied to, and more details on both applications so that we can disect this even further, but its really not worth it.

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I agree that Raleigh lacks a cohesive approach to growth as it relates to essentially all of the fundamental services. Transit and transportation are the underpinning for everything else and need to be addressed first and foremost, not as an afterthought. There is not the political will power here to push hard for much of anything because there is not the co-support of big business like in Charlotte partly because there isn't much business here with clout. It takes that voice to silence the traditional anti-planning conservative voice that usually is aligned with big business.

Regarding simple transit issues it's not hard.....CAT needs 4-5 times the funding it currently has. It needs to straighten its routes to serve business commuters more than snaking through neighborhoods to reach as many carless riders as possible. It should operate in zones or quadrants (large express buses from one quadrant to another and smaller shuttles serving the quadrant) instead of of central transfer. The inner city should be a "free transit" zone. The big road crunch will happen here when the next big growth curve hits. As we all know, wider roads and even better bus service will probably not be enough to allow a smooth acceptance of more and denser development so to have hope of officials seriously embracing inner-city rail is a pipe dream given that nobody even thinks the bus system needs more than minor tweaks. If one or two of RTP's big companies were in or near downtown I think this might be very different.

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I agree that Raleigh lacks a cohesive approach to growth as it relates to essentially all of the fundamental services. Transit and transportation are the underpinning for everything else and need to be addressed first and foremost, not as an afterthought. There is not the political will power here to push hard for much of anything because there is not the co-support of big business like in Charlotte partly because there isn't much business here with clout. It takes that voice to silence the traditional anti-planning conservative voice that usually is aligned with big business.

Regarding simple transit issues it's not hard.....CAT needs 4-5 times the funding it currently has. It needs to straighten its routes to serve business commuters more than snaking through neighborhoods to reach as many carless riders as possible. It should operate in zones or quadrants (large express buses from one quadrant to another and smaller shuttles serving the quadrant) instead of of central transfer. The inner city should be a "free transit" zone. The big road crunch will happen here when the next big growth curve hits. As we all know, wider roads and even better bus service will probably not be enough to allow a smooth acceptance of more and denser development so to have hope of officials seriously embracing inner-city rail is a pipe dream given that nobody even thinks the bus system needs more than minor tweaks. If one or two of RTP's big companies were in or near downtown I think this might be very different.

You're exactly right!

What i'm trying to empasize with this thread is the fact that Raleigh does not have a viable plan for supporting long-term growth and development. This grasp for federal funding was merely a tactic to offset other money in the city's budget that should be used for transit related issues. When I read details about Charlotte's request, I see clear strategic thinking and a plan for long-term future growth.

In Raleigh, we need leaders who can think strategically, and come up with a vision for what Raleigh should become and develop plans for how we get there. So far, we have been winging it, and its embarrasing when the city devises tactics that only blow up in the city's face (i.e. Clarence Lightner Center). Let's be clear, tactics will never replace a good strategy.

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Based on what we know about Raleigh's request, and general knowledge of the New Bern area corridor (by someone who grew up in Raleigh and spends quite a bit of time there), it's easy to conclude that the reason they did not receive funding had to do solely with their intent of use. Funding new transit buses is one thing, but using FTA funding to also cover new sidewalks and traffic lights??? Those things are typically funded out of a city's operational budgets, which is why Raleigh only sought a fraction of the total amount that it needed from the FTA in the first place.

Raleigh's application was denied for 1 of two reasons, either the committee felt that Raleigh did not sufficiently make its case, or they felt that the money would be better spent elsewhere. In either scenario, one can reasonably conclude that Raleigh did not do a good job making it's case for need. This is the point that i'm trying to make.

If you want to continue to split hairs on this, i'm sure that I can find the actual FTA program information which both cities applied to, and more details on both applications so that we can disect this even further, but its really not worth it.

FTA routinely contributes to build sidewalks and other non "mainline" transit investments. And the funding request wasn't for new traffic lights, but the technology that allows traffic lights and buses to communicate giving buses longer rights-of-way to reduce travel time. Raleigh didn't seek the total amount of the cost of the project because FTA requires a local match/contribution.

My point in "splitting hairs" as you put it is that you can't begin to analyze why Raleigh's bid for funding fell flat without knowing the criteria. That's especially true if you don't have a basic understanding of transit funding or what the project was even for.

You can rant all you want about Raleigh being a big and important city and what it should do to "take it to the next level." But don't couch it in some baseless argument on why Raleigh didn't win transit funding. As a resident of the Triangle (one of the areas you referred to as one of the Boroughs of Raleigh on another thread), I think I'm well enough aware of the local transit situation. You don't have a monopoly on the topic simply because you grew up here.

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FTA routinely contributes to build sidewalks and other non "mainline" transit investments. And the funding request wasn't for new traffic lights, but the technology that allows traffic lights and buses to communicate giving buses longer rights-of-way to reduce travel time. Raleigh didn't seek the total amount of the cost of the project because FTA requires a local match/contribution.

My point in "splitting hairs" as you put it is that you can't begin to analyze why Raleigh's bid for funding fell flat without knowing the criteria. That's especially true if you don't have a basic understanding of transit funding or what the project was even for.

You can rant all you want about Raleigh being a big and important city and what it should do to "take it to the next level." But don't couch it in some baseless argument on why Raleigh didn't win transit funding. As a resident of the Triangle (one of the areas you referred to as one of the Boroughs of Raleigh on another thread), I think I'm well enough aware of the local transit situation. You don't have a monopoly on the topic simply because you grew up here.

Since you're the expert on transit and FTA, why don't you explain to us why YOU think Raleigh did not receive any funding for transit, sidewalks, etc? You can't because you're no expert on this topic.

One of the articles that I read states:

The Federal Transit Administration said in December that it would hand out $280 million in competitive grants for urban circulator street car and bus projects that foster community redevelopment and make neighborhoods more walkable. Raleigh wants $11.1 million to add to $2.8 million in local money.

If I read your statement above...the funding request wasn't for new traffic lights, but the technology that allows traffic lights and buses to communicate giving buses longer rights-of-way to reduce travel time, it appears that the rationale for funding is more geared towards improving technology and logistics rather than fostering community redevelopment. Do you see the difference?

Furthermore, i'm not going to continue to debate with you on this issue, because you still fail to see the big picture of my argument, and something gives me a hunch that you never will.

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CAT ... should operate in zones or quadrants (large express buses from one quadrant to another and smaller shuttles serving the quadrant) instead of of central transfer. The inner city should be a "free transit" zone.

I agree. If CAT were made more relevant to the city at large, there would be more political support for increased funds. Thankfully, Council just adopted a $5/year/vehicle tax increase to support CAT. But there's another way to look at this: there wasn't enough support for CAT to draw the same money from the existing city revenue stream. CAT receives less than 2% of the city's combined capital and expense budget.

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Since you're the expert on transit and FTA, why don't you explain to us why YOU think Raleigh did not receive any funding for transit, sidewalks, etc? You can't because you're no expert on this topic.

I never claimed to be an expert in federal transit funding nor did I claim to know why Raleigh's bid failed. That was you, remember? I was merely pointing out that you look foolish waxing about leadership when the two bids (Raleigh's v. Charlotte's) weren't even competing for funding under the same program.

One of the articles that I read states:

The Federal Transit Administration said in December that it would hand out $280 million in competitive grants for urban circulator street car and bus projects that foster community redevelopment and make neighborhoods more walkable. Raleigh wants $11.1 million to add to $2.8 million in local money.

If I read your statement above...the funding request wasn't for new traffic lights, but the technology that allows traffic lights and buses to communicate giving buses longer rights-of-way to reduce travel time, it appears that the rationale for funding is more geared towards improving technology and logistics rather than fostering community redevelopment. Do you see the difference?

Let's look at this as a simple equation: A + B = C. C is a funding grant. A is Raleigh's proposal. and B is the criteria necessary for funding. By claiming you know why Raleigh's bid lost without knowing the funding criteria, you're predetermining the equation without knowing the sum of its parts.

Several cities won multimillion dollar grants for nearly identical BRT programs that Raleigh proposed. And that includes the technology that they require. Asheville won $428,000 to pay for five new hybrid buses. That's it. It's hard to argue that the purchase of new buses is going to foster community development or more walkable neighborhoods.

So what can you point to that shows the leaders in those cities had the leadership and vision that Raleigh didn't? How much leadership do you think federal administrators wanted Asheville to demonstrate before they decided to pony up for 5 new buses?

Furthermore, i'm not going to continue to debate with you on this issue, because you still fail to see the big picture of my argument, and something gives me a hunch that you never will.

I do get it. And my big picture is that making some sort of leadership argument out of this is stupid, especially when you continue to plead ignorance in the face of facts.

I know you love Raleigh. It's evident from your posts about Raleigh being the biggest this or getting the first of that, etc. etc that you have a lot of pride for Raleigh. And that's nice. Most people on UP wouldn't be here if they didn't have some desire to see their city grow or progress for the better. But not every failed funding request or the like requires a new thread and more philosophical debate about what Raleigh needs to become even greater. Your trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip.

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I never claimed to be an expert in federal transit funding nor did I claim to know why Raleigh's bid failed. That was you, remember? I was merely pointing out that you look foolish waxing about leadership when the two bids (Raleigh's v. Charlotte's) weren't even competing for funding under the same program.

Let's look at this as a simple equation: A + B = C. C is a funding grant. A is Raleigh's proposal. and B is the criteria necessary for funding. By claiming you know why Raleigh's bid lost without knowing the funding criteria, you're predetermining the equation without knowing the sum of its parts.

Several cities won multimillion dollar grants for nearly identical BRT programs that Raleigh proposed. And that includes the technology that they require. Asheville won $428,000 to pay for five new hybrid buses. That's it. It's hard to argue that the purchase of new buses is going to foster community development or more walkable neighborhoods.

So what can you point to that shows the leaders in those cities had the leadership and vision that Raleigh didn't? How much leadership do you think federal administrators wanted Asheville to demonstrate before they decided to pony up for 5 new buses?

I do get it. And my big picture is that making some sort of leadership argument out of this is stupid, especially when you continue to plead ignorance in the face of facts.

I know you love Raleigh. It's evident from your posts about Raleigh being the biggest this or getting the first of that, etc. etc that you have a lot of pride for Raleigh. And that's nice. Most people on UP wouldn't be here if they didn't have some desire to see their city grow or progress for the better. But not every failed funding request or the like requires a new thread and more philosophical debate about what Raleigh needs to become even greater. Your trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip.

If you don't like what I post, then maybe you shouldn't read them! You seem to be obsessed with finding any post that I make and trying to shoot it down. My arguments must have not been all that foolish or stupid, because you seem to be the only one trying to criticize every single post that I make, with your lame arguments. So maybe the problem is with you buddy!

As I said previously, I will no longer continue to debate this with YOU, because the subject of this thread requires a certain level of intellect to comprehend.

I really do think that you have way too much time on your hands...

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Literally hundreds of other cities lost out on money for their project too, including some heavy hitters.

The six cities that submitted successful Urban Circulator proposals include Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Cincinnati, Ohio. The
six projects were selected from 65 applications
totaling more than $1 billion in requests. Construction of bus facilities and new bus and bus-related purchases will move forward in the 31 states where
47 Bus and Bus Livability projects
are located. These projects
were selected from 281 applications
totaling over $2 billion in funding requests.

Does that mean DC and LA are somehow less forward-thinking cities to Charlotte, Cincinnati, or Fort Worth?

Second, don't get so easily roped into letting the media spin you into a tizzy with their catchy Charlotte v Raleigh headline designed to draw hits to their site. Unfortunately, I see some people took the bait.

Charlotte deserves credit for advancing their streetcar project a year or so ago when it wasn't politically popular to do so (McCrory voted against it on his last budget as Mayor), and now they are in position to reap some of the benefits. Raleigh's project was unsuccessful, but so were many others, however I'm sure there will be other opportunities.

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Does that mean DC and LA are somehow less forward-thinking cities to Charlotte, Cincinnati, or Fort Worth?

If you read one of my previous posts, you'll see that clearly I indicate that a possible reason why Raleigh and these other cities didn't get funding may simply be because the committee felt that other cities' applications were stronger or had more merit. That's not to say that those other cities are not forward thinking.

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To borrow a phrase by President Coolidge, The business of Raleigh is business. As long as we have a government-centric lawyer leading us, we won't have the attitude, fortitude, and weight to get what we want. We need to cultivate our business climate, and then we can get what we want. This is the core of every rising city's (and country's for that matter) success.

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To borrow a phrase by President Coolidge, The business of Raleigh is business. As long as we have a government-centric lawyer leading us, we won't have the attitude, fortitude, and weight to get what we want. We need to cultivate our business climate, and then we can get what we want. This is the core of every rising city's (and country's for that matter) success.

This is the essence of what i'm getting at. The city needs to be ran like a business, which is essentially what it is. As you indicate, our leadership is made up of lawyers, architects, politicians, etc., which tend to have very different thought processes than your traditional CEO.

My feeling is that this scenario is the main factor that determines whether a city experiences smart and successful growth or whether it doesn't.

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The city needs to be ran like a business, which is essentially what it is. As you indicate, our leadership is made up of lawyers, architects, politicians, etc., which tend to have very different thought processes than your traditional CEO. My feeling is that this scenario is the main factor that determines whether a city experiences smart and successful growth or whether it doesn't.

To some extent, this is correct. Atlanta owes a lot to former mayors Ivan Allen (white) and Maynard Jackson (African-American), who were both successful businessmen before entering politics. Raleigh's beloved Avery Upchurch had a business background, as did Smedes York, Clarence Lightner, and Seby Jones.

Other than RBC which relocated to downtown Raleigh from Rocky Mount, what major business has opened in downtown Raleigh in recent memory? None that I can think of. Plenty of new small businesses, but the major employers remain the State, the County, the City (including its commercial/entertainment operations), NCSU/Shaw/Peace/St Aug's/St Mary's, a few law firms, and CP&L/Progress Energy... not much different from 1980, or 1940 for that matter. RTP, on-the-beltline, and OTB have captured most of the job growth.

I consider NCSU's Centennial Campus to be on-the-beltline, for all practical purposes.Getting the Campbell law school downtown was a plus, but it's not a commercial enterprise.

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Raleigh may end up competing with Winston-Salem for downtown area streetcars. Winston-Salem already has a streetcar plan in place (ever since 2003) having a trolley line connecting Piedmont Triad Research Park in downtown Winston-Salem to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.. The trolley route will also have a stop near Winston's new downtown ballpark. City leaders are currently looking for stimulus money for the project so if Raleigh is not careful, W-S could beat Raleigh in getting funds for a streetcar system as well. I think its a case of monkey see monkey do. Greensboro will be trying to do the same thing as well. Leaders in Greensboro did a feasibility study for streetcars back in the 1990s that would link UNCG (just west of downtown) to NC A&T State University (just east of downtown). The leadership for making it a reality just wasn't there at the time.

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/06/17/winston-salem-proposes-modern-streetcar-line/

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IMHO, CAT should have reevaluated its 5 Year Plan two or three years ago to determine which areas of Raleigh were fit for BRT. Hell, it was drilled into everyone's heads that #15 was the busiest route even before the 5YP was implemented! So, it is extremely inexcusable that no one from the agency or the city bothered exploring BRT on busy corridors like New Bern, Hillsborough (post-renovation, of course), Capital Blvd, and Glenwood until the Obama administration dished out those grants. Seriously, is CAT waiting for TTA to implement its own circulator plans for the Triangle's three major downtowns? :dontknow: The fact is, a New Bern Avenue BRT should have been CAT's first line of item beyond the 5YP.

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Well,being in the State's largest county in population is a good start for Raleigh, and Wake County is the largest county in population in North Carolina. :shades::shades::yahoo::yahoo: I'm back!!

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