Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh seeks site for new downtown bus station

CHRIS SEWARD - cseward@newsobser

City consultants have begun planning a new bus transit hub for the Warehouse District downtown.

Raleigh firm Parsons Brinckerhoff is developing a master plan for downtown bus facilities, and one of the first steps is picking a site for the new bus station. They’re considering seven possible sites, all of which are a short walk from the future Raleigh Union Station train hub. The site could also house much-needed long-term parking for Amtrak passengers.

Jeff Mann, a project manager for the firm, told the Raleigh City Council last week that an easily accessible site is important.

“It should be well connected to other transit resources,” Mann said. “It shouldn’t feel closed in or dark or isolated.”

As an example, he pointed to Charlotte’s main bus station, which is next door to the light rail line.

Mann says he’s also looking at the costs associated with developing each site. He hopes to avoid a multi-level bus station, which would be much more expensive to build.

Each site is also being considered within the broad picture of economic development. The city wants to make sure a bus station is the best use for the land – the idea is to avoid taking property that developers are eyeing for major growth.

“What could have been used on that property if it was not used for a bus station?” Mann asked.

Parsons Brinckerhoff recently passed out surveys about the station plans at a public meeting for Union Station. Soon they’ll be reaching out to current transit riders at the existing Moore Square station.

Moore Square is Raleigh’s current bus hub and won’t be closing when the new station opens. The older facility is scheduled to get a $3.5 million renovation and continue to serve numerous bus lines for the east side of downtown.

Between the two bus hubs, Mann said, all of downtown Raleigh will be within a five-minute walk of at least one station.

The city doesn’t yet have a cost estimate for the new bus station.