Local Politics

Mayor says transportation key to Raleigh's future

Posted March 4, 2013

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— Providing residents and visitors with options on how to get around will be critical to Raleigh's future growth and vitality, Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Monday.

In her annual State of the City address, McFarlane outlined Raleigh's recent achievements and laid out some priorities for continued success.

"Raleigh is not only a good place to start a business, but Raleigh is a great place to grow," she said, "and we are growing."

The city's tax base grew by $448 million last year, and during the first two months of 2013, Raleigh has landed 11 business relocations or expansions, which total 425 jobs and $55.4 million in capital investment, she said.

Raleigh's unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, compared with 9.2 percent for North Carolina and 7.8 percent nationally.

The city must continue to invest in necessary infrastructure, such as its water and sewer systems, as well as in parks and amenities that improve the local quality of life, she said. Securing the former Dorothea Dix Hospital campus for a 325-acre urban park near downtown is a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for Raleigh.

2012 Downtown Raleigh Skyline Mayor upbeat on Raleigh's present, future

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane Raleigh mayor gives State of the City address

"We know it will be a place of central importance to people in the state and in Raleigh," she said. "We want to develop this park into what everyone wants."

McFarlane also praised the local efforts to land the International Bluegrass Music Association's annual awards festival, which will be held downtown in September. She noted that arts provide $143 million for the local economy.

"I think we're well on our way to becoming the Southern capital of arts and culture," she said.

As the city grows, however, Raleigh must focus more on transit, the mayor said.

"Transportation is going to be key," she said. "How we plan our future growth is going to revolve around how we get around."

The project to transform a vacant warehouse on the western edge of downtown into Union Station for future train and bus service will be "transformational," McFarlane said. Raleigh also is working to redesign major thoroughfares to make them more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

"Raleigh is focused on being a city where people want to live, and what people want is options," she said. "We are dedicated to being a multi- modal city."

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  • WooHoo2You Mar 5, 2013

    Transportation is the key to America's future as well, especially the transportation used to transport Obama back to Chicago after his reign ends.- Paladin2

    He could be spending a RECORD NUMBER OF VACATION DAYS and many trips to The Ranch...wonder how much that "transportation" costs us under the last guy...

  • Terkel Mar 5, 2013

    JustaName, the park is across from the prison and the surrounding neighborhoods have questionable characters rambling the streets or sitting on corners in groups. I don't want to live there, do you?

  • Relic Mar 5, 2013

    Other than getting the IBGM Awards, the rest of this stuff is overwhelmingly generic.

  • superman Mar 5, 2013

    The mayor is so right about the Dix property. When else can you get free land from the state and then the state pays to use the land they gave away. Certainly a sweet once in a lifetime deal. A 300 acre park downtown. So wonderful. It will give the homeless and beggers more space to beg. There are several parks around Wake County and people not likely to drive from surrounding areas past neighborhood parks to go downtown.

  • Paladin2 Mar 5, 2013

    Transportation is the key to America's future as well, especially the transportation used to transport Obama back to Chicago after his reign ends.

  • PickAnotherID Mar 5, 2013

    Complaining about partially full buses, how full they get depends on where they are on their route and the time of day.

    And the transportation issue doesn't just revolve around Raleigh. 7 of the 14 TTA routes people depend on to make a living and support their families don't go anywhere near Raleigh.

    As for 'Light Rail', I don't see it as being the magic bullet to regional transportation issues, but it is a necessary part of a coherent and integrated regional transportation system. Which is something we don't have at the moment.

  • Nope Mar 5, 2013

    Retro-fitting a rail system won't work. From where to where? We don't have one concentrated business area. If you look at NYC, the towns grew around the rail stops that lead to the city. It makes sense. We don't have that structure here.

  • Honesty first Mar 5, 2013

    Why do cities use the full size buses when they are never more than 25% full? These buses must cost more when purchased and use more fuel than smaller models. Just makes no sense. I saw 2 this morning and one appeared to have 3 people on it and the other bus looked empty.

  • dmccall Mar 5, 2013

    NO. The key to our future is business and innovation. We need a mayor who understands BUSINESS and JOBS.

    I'm getting tired of politicians finding every moment possible to force a 2 billion dollar (or more) outlay for a transportation service to serve unique 7,000 riders each day.

  • lessismore Mar 5, 2013

    KCfoxie.... you are totally correct. Raleigh needs a rail system and it would definitely be a good investment.

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