North Raleigh News

Some Wake Forest residents opt for bus rapid transit service

Residents who attended a meeting Wednesday to discuss the future of transit in Wake County said they want to see more buses that run more often.

Under four transit scenarios that include options for buses or trains, public transportation would largely remain the same in Wake Forest, although more buses would run in town.

“It’s not enough, but I understand it’s a good starting place,” said Matt Hale, who lives in Wake Forest.

Hale said it’s important to connect Wake Forest residents to amenities and job centers in Raleigh, but residents also may want public transportation options to in-town destinations.

Representatives from Wake County, GoTriangle, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city of Raleigh gathered in Wake Forest on Wednesday to discuss and gather feedback on regional options for public transit.

Only about a dozen people attended the meeting, which was held in Town Hall.

The groups are collecting input throughout the summer before crafting an official recommendation for a countywide transportation plan in the fall.

The proposed plans, crafted with the help of a 76-member transportation advisory committee, offer four scenarios for the region. They include expanded bus service, trains and bus rapid transit (BRT) service.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners will schedule a referendum for sometime in 2016 on a half-cent sales tax that would help pay for the expanded service, which could start in 2026.

Few changes for Wake Forest

Each option would extend service past Interstate 540 in North Raleigh. But the proposed routes around Wake Forest are similar to the U.S. 1 express route and Wake Forest loop that are currently offered.

Routes run up Capital Boulevard and circle around the town.

On Wednesday, some residents said regional transportation proposals don’t mean much if transit doesn’t improve in growing municipalities.

“I don’t need to go all over Wake County,” said Anita Galante, who lives in Wake Forest. “What I’d like to do is have a bus route locally for Wake Forest.”

The plans would run more buses between Raleigh and Wake Forest and more buses along the loop.

Green line

In all of of the transit scenarios, outlying areas such as Wake Forest and eastern Wake County would be on the green line, where service would run every hour.

Plans call for several routes and stops within Raleigh and Cary.

The plans considered factors such as population density and where people work, said Eric Lamb, Raleigh’s transportation planner.

Although Wake Forest is growing quickly, the population is more spread out than it is inside the Beltline or in Cary, Lamb said.

Other priorities

Residents were also asked to rank priorities when it comes to transit.

Among some of Wake Forest residents’ highest-ranked priorities:

▪ Transit should go to all towns.

▪ Routes should connect to major institutions, like schools and hospitals.

▪ Transit should serve low-income residents.

▪ Routes should bypass congestion.

▪ Stops should be near the most people.

Hankerson: 919-829-4802;

Twitter: @mechelleh