The Wake County transit options have been unveiled, and eastern Wake residents desire a range of solutions, but remained mostly pessimistic.
About a dozen residents showed up to a workshop Wednesday at the Wendell Community Center, staffed by representatives from GoRaleigh, the towns of Knightdale, Wendell and Morrisville and others.
Residents were able to listen to the four options of bus and rail that focus on comparing ridership needs and a coverage option.
Ridership focuses on placing transit in denser, centralized areas with more frequent stops.
The coverage options aim to meet the needs of residents in more areas of the community. This option would most benefit Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.
Current maps show that a bus system focusing on ridership would offer hourly service through Knightdale up to Knightdale Station Park and express buses during peak commuting times from downtown Zebulon through Mack Todd Road and Highway 64.
By comparison, a bus service that focused on coverage would extend hourly service through all three towns along Highway 64 Business starting in downtown Zebulon in addition to express service.
Rail options are almost identical to bus service in eastern Wake County.
Visiting a series of survey stations, residents chose transit options that focused on coverage, but were evenly divided on the importance of infrastructure and frequent service, in other words, rail versus bus service.
“I’m pleased that they are tackling the issue,” Wendell resident Steve Brown said. “I’m disappointed that they are talking a 10-year window...it’s tough to serve the needs of the future yet get taxpayer support.”
Former mayor Harold Broadwell, who serves as chair of the Wendell planning board, agreed.
“You have to be willing to plant the tree that you won’t be able to sit under,” he said. He added that as a former member of transit planning groups like Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee, he was cynical about the direction the plan was headed.
For Brown, the problem is an historical one.
“Wendell tends to be overlooked,” Brown said. “This is an opportunity to get back in the game.”
The workshop asked participants to rank their priorities for transit. Among others, Wendell residents chose:
▪ Transit should support areas with walkable development.
▪ Routes should connect to major institutions, like schools and hospitals.
▪ Transit should serve low-income residents.
▪ Routes should serve the most people with frequent service.
▪ Transit should include rail.
Following the workshop, planners intend to meet at the municipal level in some cases.
After wrapping up the public feedback period, planners and other technical staff will develop a transit strategy. The project is expected to wrap up in the fall.