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Raleigh Planners Hope To Build Downtown Transportation Hub

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh may be moving toward having its own Grand Central Station. The city is looking to make transportation a destination downtown.

There are regional buses, local buses and private bus lines that have Raleigh on their routes. There are also trains and a proposed light rail system. Raleigh planners want to put them all in the same place.

"Consolidation is perfect for the rider," said Raleigh planning director Mitch Silver. "It gives them all the services at one location, plus a transfer point at one location."

A transportation center was first talked about in Raleigh in 1995 and then again in 2002. Two sites in the warehouse district by the railroad tracks were identified. A report found there was enough travel demand to warrant a large downtown station.

The idea was later dropped because leaders didn't think the market could support private development around the station. But Raleigh has changed and the idea is back on. Some restaurants have already moved in to the areas where the new station is proposed.

City planners envision shops, restaurants and even condos by the transportation center. They envision it as a public and private project they hope could become a gateway for the city.

While the plan is chugging along slowly with no firm dates on a decision, neighbors do already have concerns. Some residents worry that having buses, trains, taxis and rental cars all together wouldn't be attractive to business.

"I think if there's too much in one place, it will chase it away because it would not be a pleasant place to be around," said Boylan Heights resident Ruth Brome.

Planners said the concept has worked in other cities and think it could move forward in Raleigh. They think even if the Triangle's light-rail project doesn't move forward, the transportation center could still be a success. They are modeling the plan after a similar project in Greensboro.


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