Local News

Grand Central Terminal in Raleigh? City Leaders Say Maybe

Posted July 18, 2007 7:39 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2007 7:52 p.m. EDT

— 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.