At Cameron Village library Tuesday, representatives from the Wake County Planning Department presented early work from the County’s 78-member Transit Advisory Committee, and encouraged attendees to respond to their findings.
Since the December kickoff presentation to elected officials, decision makers and interested residents, the Committee—consisting of members from all the Wake municipalities, as well as business, education and other community stakeholders—has evaluated different transit scenarios by designing a transit network for a fictitious community. Members were asked to think about what the most important connections would be and how much low, high and medium frequency transit should be available. Consultants Jarrett Walker and Associates and Kimley Horn compiled the Committee’s work into the Transit Choices Report.
The Committee’s goal is to refine the many transit choices that the County has to one final transit scenario to be presented to the public sometime this summer, and potentially to get a half-cent sales tax referendum for transit before voters. It’s likely their recommendation will involve a mix of transit modes and frequencies of services.
Wake County’s Tim Gardiner explained that the committee members were instructed to consider ridership, coverage, operating and capital goals in designing a transit network. Gardiner said there would be an inherent tradeoff between ridership—building lines that will maximize the number people of using them—and coverage, which means making sure everybody has some degree of service. Committee members also looked at the tradeoff between capital versus operating investment; putting things on the ground to make transit feel and operate differently, such as new stations or shelters, vs. putting more vehicles out on the ground.
“The choices report can be summarized as a starting point for all of us in this conversation,” Gardiner said. “It’s what do we know now and how do we want to approach moving forward with the plan. It identifies some basic data, key technologies and corridor types we could look at and provides the key choices.”
The geographical variation in Wake County, and its population—Wake is growing by about 60 people each day— makes devising a transit network challenging, and the final Wake County Investment Strategy Report could look a lot different from the 2012 draft Wake County Transit Plan.
“The big question is service relevance, the number of trips people are taking per person,” Gardiner says. “That’s where we want to make sure there is a correlation to there being more service on the road and more relevance. We want to be more on that coverage side of the spectrum but we want to make sure we are intentional with what we’re doing.”
Wake County Transit will hold another meeting this Thursday at noon at the Express Library at 336 Fayetteville Street.
You can read the Transit Choices report at www.waketransit.com, and give your input by taking the Wake County Transit Choices Survey online. The public commenting period ends March 4th.