Eastern Wake News

Knightdale responds to county transit options

George Hess, a member of the Knightdale Land Use Review board, examines the transportation options while Knightdale senior planner Jason Brown looks on.
George Hess, a member of the Knightdale Land Use Review board, examines the transportation options while Knightdale senior planner Jason Brown looks on. kbettis@newsobserver.com

As the Wake County Transit advisory committee weaves its way around the county to present options to residents and poll for feedback, the reactions of residents have varied widely.

Earlier this month, Wake Transit representatives held an open house meeting at Knightdale Town Hall to allow area residents to learn more about the four options now on the table, ask questions and survey the four options.

The current options, which are intentionally different to help the committee better decipher needs, include bus and rail and compare the needs of ridership population versus the needs of more towns, or, a larger coverage area.

Current maps show that a bus system focusing on ridership would offer hourly service through Knightdale up to Knightdale Station Park. 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 almost mirror the suggested bus service in eastern Wake County.

Most Knightdale residents who showed up for the open house voted for more rapid bus options that helped with ridership.

Katrina Dix, a Knightdale resident who has used the current KRX service in the past, said she would love to see more bus stops, and rail out to the airport.

“I think it’s a good start,” she said, after reviewing the options. “At least we’re talking about it.”

Mike Sharp, a bicycle commuter and Knightdale resident, wasn’t quite as optimistic. He also has used the bus in the past.

He said that he especially wanted to see a localized rail service.

“I’m skeptical of large forums but I want to keep in touch,” he said, saying he would be following the plan.

Other areas around the county have responded in different ways.

In Wendell, the handful of residents who showed up to the meeting were pessimistic about the options benefiting the area, but nevertheless voted for rapid rail options.

Most Garner residents surveyed at their Wake Transit information session in early May said they wanted a commuter rail to pass through their town.

The dozen Wake Forest residents who attended a mid-May meeting said they want to see more buses that run more frequently.

Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen, who serves on the advisory committee, pushed for ridership options, saying that questioning how the transit options benefit each individual is the wrong question to be asking.

“Wake County rises and falls as a whole,” he said, adding that starting small in high-density areas would make expansion easier. Trying to hit each town would make it far more difficult, despite the desire of farther reaching towns to receive transit options sooner.

“It’s a hard sell,” Killen admitted. “But the worst thing we could do is nothing.”