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Raleigh Leaders Assess Bus Access at Shopping Centers

Posted July 10, 2007

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— City officials plan to meet this month with representatives for two shopping centers that refuse access to city buses.

Brier Creek Commons and the Towne North Shopping centers don't allow Capital Area Transit buses onto their property. Towne North managers cite safety concerns, while Brier Creek officials maintain their parking lots don't have enough room to accommodate buses.

But Mayor Charles Meeker and other city officials said Tuesday that providing bus riders access to the shopping centers is a matter of fairness.

"Like many Raleigh residents, I am upset, of course, that people who come in buses aren't being treated the same as people who come in cars are," Meeker said.

The mayor recently asked the city's transit authority, planning department and attorney's office to examine the bus access issue, saying Raleigh residents shouldn't be required to ride by car to shop at local stores.

According to a report from the city Planning Commission, Towne North and two other shopping centers that refuse access to city buses – Bent Tree Plaza and Brennan Station – were built before the city secured transit access at planned developments.

The Brier Creek developer wrote a letter to the city in 2001promising "to accommodate reasonable future access needs on the Brier Creek Commons site."

Representatives with Brier Creek Commons declined to comment on the issue.

Officials said Tuesday that they aren't concerned about the access issue at Bent Tree and Brennan Station. Bent Tree doesn't have the ridership to support a bus route, and another bus route provides access near Brennan Station, officials said.

Meanwhile, reports from the Raleigh Planning Department indicate Towne North's safety concerns aren't reflected in any serious incidents involving pedestrians.

Meeker stopped short Tuesday of calling the lack of bus access a racial issue. He said he hopes to reach an informal agreement with the shopping centers rather than have the City Council take action against them.

"There certainly has been a lot of history with buses, and we're hoping bus access will be very good. We want to make sure bus access goes everywhere throughout the city," he said. "It is a symbolic issue in that we treat all of our citizens fairly. We've spent tens of millions of dollars on our roads. Also, not just those riding cars should be allowed to have full access to roads and where they go."


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  • whatelseisnew Jul 11, 2007

    I think Meeker needs to go figure out how to quit ripping off the citizens of Raleigh. As to the Brier Creek thing, it would be easy enough to put in 3 or 4 stops along the turnoffs on the street without the buses having to go into the shopping areas. People getting off the buses would have to walk a little further than people parking cars, but at least they would have the convenience of traveling from where they live to the center and back.

  • SK Jul 11, 2007

    > And it goes against my upbringing to automatically think that
    > all bus riders are thugs, rapists, crooks, and degenerates. I
    > find the prejudicial mentality rather surprising for the 21st
    > century.

    I found it surprising too, until I tried to actually use some of the local buses. CTran gets fairly respectable crowd, but TTA is a real mixed bag (though mostly empty buses running late, but definitely have run into some interesting characters, and that's speaking as somebody who's well over 6ft tall and male). DATA depends very much on the route, and I have no experience with CAT.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Jul 11, 2007

    I agree. I don't necessarily believe that the bus must stop in front of each store. It doesn't hurt to walk a short distance. I've never been to Towne North; however, for Brier Creek, there should be a way to drop riders off at a few convenient points in the Brier Creek shopping area.

  • dell27613 Jul 11, 2007

    In defense of Towne North and Brennen Station, there is a 2 lane street that runs between the shopping centers that the bus uses. Each shopping center (strip mall) is about 100 yards long. I don't think it would hurt many people to walk from the bus stop to the stores to shop.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Jul 11, 2007

    And it goes against my upbringing to automatically think that all bus riders are thugs, rapists, crooks, and degenerates. I find the prejudicial mentality rather surprising for the 21st century.

    The CAT bus runs to Cameron Village & North Hills. Both are upscale shopping areas, and I happen to own a house in Cameron Village, so I am a little familiar with the neighborhood.

    I own a 2000 Honda Accord, but I have ridden the CAT bus to see what it's like. I took the #16 from Cameron Village up to Triangle Town Center. It took over an hour. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have that as your only mode of transportation.

    The only way to drive the price of gasoline down is to buy less of it. I'd be perfectly willing to take the bus if they were faster, more frequent, and more reliable.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Jul 11, 2007

    The DATA bus from Durham runs to Briar Creek, so why not the CAT bus? Makes no sense to me.

    When I was 25, I went to visit my grandmother out in the Seattle area. She lived about 25 miles outside of downtown. I was able to go to a park & ride area, take a bus to downtown Seattle, and experience the city. I remember that the bus had all sorts of people on the bus, all going to downtown Seattle for one reason or another.

    My guess is that if we had a better, faster, more reliable bus system, the same would be true for the Triangle. Maybe Raleigh isn't big enough or laid out well enough to have a good bus system. But I still believe that if we spent the money on building a better bus system rather than the defunct light rail system, we'd have fewer cars on the road & less congestion.

    Please keep in mind that these comments come from a person who moved north to Raleigh, not south. But just because I'm Southern doesn't mean that I think Raleigh shouldn't have a good bus system.

  • SK Jul 11, 2007

    I think that what we really have here is a property right issue.

    If the properties do not have a contract that says they must allow buses (which new ones apparently do), there is no fundamental reason that the owners of these properties should have to allow buses, any more than a homeowner should be required to allow buses to turn around in their front yard.

    I also suspect that if the buses were bringing mainly either employees or paying customers, the shopping centers wouldn't have a problem. If they're mainly bringing the criminal/loitering element in, why allow them? (notice that I said criminal; crooks, thugs, and good-for-nothings come in ALL colors)

    The local buses are, in general, a slower and less pleasant alternative to a car or a bicycle (yes, a bicycle is faster, runs on your own schedule, and doesn't get you a seat next to a 400 pound woman wearing a half gallon of perfume, probably safer too). This means they get those who can't/won't drive or bike and little else.

  • rpd911 Jul 11, 2007

    Brier Creek S/C is nothing but a place for Durham thugs to go hang out and steal things. I don't blame the S/C for not wanting bus routes in the S/C. This makes it less desirable for the "questionable patrons" to visit and steal from the shopping center. As for the workers, if they want to work and the only means of transportation that they have is to ride the bus, well then yes, they must "suck it up". They'll work like the rest of us, make it up the chain, make better wages, get a promotion, different better job or what have you and get a car and insurance like the rest of us. The minimum wage jobs are for the most part starter jobs, to get experience and build credibility for future employers. I don't shop at Brier Creek, probably never will.

  • flashlight Jul 11, 2007

    Furthermore, everyone should have access to all parts of the city. Just because you are poor, or even worse, look poor, it shouldn't mean that you are limited to a certain corner of Raleigh. The real issue here is providing access for employees of these upscale shopping centers.

  • flashlight Jul 11, 2007

    It appears the city is only interested in Brier Creek, because they don't have a leg to stand on legally with the other three. I can understand though that transit wasn't an issue when all but Brier Creek were built. Think about what was out there around the 540 area during the late 80's and early 90's when these developments were first constructed. It's a shame there's not much we can do but to make sure that this doesn't happen in future development.