Will Development in Cary be Railroaded?
Posted December 1, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
CARY — A regional rail system has been on the drawing board for a long time in the Triangle. The Triangle Transit Authority has earmarked anAmtrakstation in downtown Cary as the location for the town's regional rail stop.
Now, town leaders and residents wonder how the stop would affect the area's complexion.
Issues under consideration include where all the commuters will park. The current lot at the Amtrak station most likely could not handle the increased traffic.
The Triangle Transit Authority wants to put its downtown Cary station in a place that can only be reached by three roads that are already pretty backed up at rush hour.
The TTA says the rail system will bring an extra 200-300 commuters to downtown every day. It will mean that during rush hour in downtown Cary, the Harrison Ave. railroad crossing would close a dozen times an hour.
The rail's hours will also let you use it for more than just going to work.
During peak hours, rail cars will service each station every 15 minutes and every 30 minutes during non-peak times.
The rail system will roll seven days a week, 18 hours a day. That means you can use it for work, shopping, or even to get to and from sporting events.
The plan is to space the stations about 2 miles apart to lighten the traffic load around the designated stops.
Leaders are considering how much downtown development will accompany the location of a regional rail stop.
The Triangle is watching what Cary does very closely, since many of the towns are growing almost as quickly.
Bill Coleman, Cary's Town Manager, says "I think particularly the regional rail stop in downtown Cary presents issues of the type and density of development and intensity of development that will have to occur to support the transit stop."
Coleman also realizes there will be "parking and other auxiliary services that will be needed to support both the transit stop and the development that occurs."
Coleman says it's important to maintain the quality of the downtown area as a retail center and as the town's heart.
Residents have a chance to weigh in on downtown development Wednesday from 4 p.m. until about 9 or 10 p.m. at the Cary Community Center.
There's also a Regional Rail Station Planning Meeting at RDU Airport's Administrative Building that is expected to last four or five hours. The public is welcome to participate.