Triangle Leaders Seek Transit Ideas In Virginia

Jun 21, 2019

A GoTriangle Bus.
Credit GoTriangle

Triangle economic development groups are examining bus and commuter rail lines in Virginia as inspiration for what could become similar systems here.

Chambers of Commerce and public transportation advocates are going to the Virginia cities of Richmond, Alexandria and Arlington, among other places. Those cities have bus rapid transit systems, which usually have dedicated bus lanes and more frequent trips. 

The groups are searching for potential new systems after GoTriangle scrapped plans for a light rail line between Chapel Hill and Durham. 

Aaron Nelson is the president of the chamber of commerce group in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  He says any new transit plan has to meet specific goals.

"It has to be better than the single-occupant vehicle," said Nelson. "It has to be frequent. It has to be flexible. It has to get them to their work when they want to be there. And we've seen that here: The station design, wi-fi on the buses and reliable quality transportation."

Wake County plans to establish a new commuter rail line between Garner and Durham in the next 10 years.

Joe Milazzo is the executive director of the Regional Transportation Alliance.  He says bus rapid transit and commuter rail could help meet demand.

"It has to be something we can get moving on quickly," he said. "I don't think this region is ready for another 10-year-long study to get fixin' to get ready to do something. We need to get some action because the region's growth is not stopping and the expectation is we have mobility options. Let's get moving and do it."