Local News

Grand Central Terminal in Raleigh? City Leaders Say Maybe

Posted July 18, 2007

— Raleigh has a Greyhound station, a transit station at Moore Square and an Amtrak station.

A new proposal could combine the three into a major transportation hub with the feel of Grand Central Terminal.

The city council recently signed off on a plan to study an area near Boylan Heights to see just how grand the hub could be.

Boylan Wye, a spot on the western edge of Downtown Raleigh where several rail lines connect, is a prime location for what planners say could be the city's next big thing.

“The desire is to have what we call a multi-modal facility – what you might call your Grand Central Station,” said Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver.

The grand plan would create a shopping-mall-like atmosphere where the services of the local Amtrak, Greyhound, TTA and city buses would meld. Planners are also considering the possibility of a high-speed rail project that might pass through the city.

But does Raleigh need something like a Grand Central Terminal?

“We will in the future,” said Mayor Charles Meeker. “Raleigh is becoming a mid-size city. We’re going to need some way to coordinate local bus service with Greyhound bus service.”

Meeker pointed to growth in downtown. By 2010, the city predicts 10,000 people will live there – up from 1,500 in 2003.

Council member Jesse Taliaferro said she is banking on the results of a study to determine if Raleigh will break the bank for the project.

“We’re not going to do something we can’t pay for,” she said. “We have to look at what are the needs. What are the best ways to serve those needs?”

On Tuesday, the council approved a contract with HDR Architecture, Inc. for planning and a development strategy for the multi-modal transportation center.

The firm will prepare a feasibility study and conceptual drawings for the complex along with a development strategy for properties in the vicinity of the center near the Boylan Heights neighborhood.

The contract is for more than $263,000, according to the city. The plan and drawings are scheduled to be presented to the council by early summer of 2008.


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  • Steve Crisp Jul 19, 2007

    I would agree to that if the rail system actually went to a lot of the places you mentioned. But it won't. The airport is off limits (for now) for political and economic reasons. Duke doesn't want a station anywhere near them. NCSU would make sense if there were an actual proposed stop on campus. RTP is simply too big and spread out to make even two stops effective. It looks like Dix is going to be turned into an ignorant park so why bring rail there as a destination. And Wake Forest/Clayton is much like the Green Line on the DC Metro; it will take 30 years for it to even start because North Raleigh, Cary, and RTP really don't want an easy way for low-income blacks to get there.

    This thing is being pitched as a commuter line. And it is not. It is not even able to act as the backbone for a mass transit system becauss there will never be effective secondary feeders with any bus system. We are not a grid city; we are radial. We need a radial hubbed, subway, not tangental/chord like rail.

  • ncwebguy Jul 19, 2007

    Incorrect Steve, but good try. You described a *commuter* rail system.

    TTA proposes a *mass transit* system, with a rail backbone, not the only piece. Several employment and residentail hubs -- downtown Raleigh, NC State, Cary, Morrisville/airport, RTP, downtown Durham and Duke + hospital are along the rail corridor. Dix, Wake Forest, Clayton and other towns near a rail line could tie into the system.

    The train makes it easier to get places than a personal vehicle stuck in traffic, having to find a place to park, etc. The TTA's train would be dual-tracked enough to allow for two way traffic at all hours of the day.

    To increase capacity, the train only needs to add more rail cars. For 40 and 540, upping capacity has been costly and slow.

    This mutlimodal center would let people go from train (amtrack/local) to bus (greyhound/local) easily. And keeps cars off of a downtown street grid that can handle a set amount of volume.

    At least you moved on from Technician!

  • turnpike420 Jul 19, 2007

    I think this is a great idea and definitely worth the study. I hope they not only consider the Amtrak, Greyhound, CAT and TTA bus services, but the potential for regional rail as well. Although TTA's regional rail proposal is less than stellar :( a hub must consider that potential for such a large interchange of transit.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 19, 2007

    Incorrect milky. But goood try. :)

    A rail system is designed to move people from the suburbs to the center city in the morning and to get them back home at night. It is designed to alleviate road congestion by taking cars off the radial roads. In the morning, all trains come inbound and in the evening, all trains go outbound. And remember, this is rail -- not subway. Trains do not run in both directions all day long.

    So given that, where is the city center of Raleigh and where are people coming from to get there? From an employment standpoint, there is no city center; the closest we have is the entire entity known as RTP. And where do those folks come from? All over. There is no radial spur from city center that accomodates enough people in a given geographic area around Raleigh to support rail.

    Therefore, what do we need to create if a rail system is going to work at all? A city center. And how do we do that? We develop the 306 acres of the Dix property.

    Can't have it both ways.

  • Vette Jul 19, 2007

    Milky, you won a brand new 2007 Hummer H-2.

  • .Milky Jul 19, 2007

    What did I win?

  • .Milky Jul 19, 2007

    To transport things from one hub to another.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 19, 2007

    Does anybody want to tackle that question? What is the purpose of rail transit? Work with me here...

  • myidea Jul 19, 2007

    The great state of Wake with the biggest little city ever to hit the map. They are trying to do anything to keep up with anywhere. Raleigh doesn't even have 1 million in population and it is so spread out this is going to be worthless.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 19, 2007

    To iamforjustice:

    Since you think it's such a spiffy idea, tell me, what is the purpose of rail transit?