Wake BRT: Southern Corridor

PUBLIC NOTICE:  In June, the CAMPO Executive Board will consider approval of the Wake BRT: Southern Corridor Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The recommended Southern Corridor LPA, as approved by the City of Raleigh and the Town of Garner, is available for public review and comment until June 13, 2021, with a public hearing scheduled for the Executive Board meeting on May 19, 2021. Comments can be submitted through the webform, via email to comments@campo-nc.us, via phone to 919-996-4403, or via U.S. Mail to: CAMPO, Attn: Bonnie Parker, 421 Fayetteville St., Suite 203, Raleigh, NC 27601.

Locally Preferred Alternative for the Wake Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): Southern Corridormap image of southern brt alignment

The City of Raleigh is in the process of developing and implementing a bus rapid transit (BRT) project linking downtown Raleigh and Purser Drive in Garner along the S. Wilmington Street/Wilmington Street Extension/Garner Station Boulevard corridors, a total span of approximately five (5) linear miles (map). The proposed project would include new dedicated transit guideway and infrastructure improvements along at least 50 percent of the total corridor. The proposed project would include transit signal priority (TSP) at signalized intersections and up to 10 weather‐protected BRT stations.

The purpose of the Wake Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): Southern BRT Corridor project is to improve transit service from Downtown Raleigh to Garner. This new transit investment would accommodate projected growth, create transit infrastructure that allows the BRT route and other approved transit services to bypass major congestion points, and improve the attractiveness of the service to experience ridership growth.

The Wake County Transit Plan (2016) originally identified the Wilmington Street corridor as the Wake BRT: Southern Corridor between downtown Raleigh and Garner. The Wake Transit Fixed Guideway Corridors Major Investment Study (MIS) (2018) further identified additional potential BRT alternatives that are best explained by splitting the corridor into two (2) sections: Northern Section and Southern Section.   The alignments within the Northern Section would use a combination of Wilmington, Salisbury, Blount, South, and Morgan Streets in downtown Raleigh and either S. Wilmington Street, S. McDowell Street, or S. Saunders Street from downtown Raleigh to the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at U.S. 70. The alignments within the Southern Section would use either Fayetteville Road (US 70/US 401) or S. Wilmington Street Extension (proposed new roadway) and Garner Station Boulevard to connect to Purser Drive in Garner. The MIS and further subsequent alternatives analysis carried out by the City of Raleigh and Town of Garner generated six (6) total alignment options for the corridor, which include:

  1. S. Saunders Street to Wilmington Extension - utilizes South Street to exit and enter Downtown Raleigh, then continues along S. Saunders Street towards Garner. At the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at US 70, this alternative would then utilize the Wilmington Extension until reaching the southern terminus. This alternative is 5.06 miles.
  2. S. Saunders Street to Fayetteville Road - utilizes South Street to exit and enter Downtown Raleigh, then continues along S. Saunders Street towards Garner. At the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at US 70, this alternative would then utilize Fayetteville Road until reaching the southern terminus. This alternative is 5.07 miles.
  3. S. McDowell Street to Wilmington Extension - utilizes S. McDowell Street to exit and enter Downtown Raleigh, then continues along S. Saunders Street towards Garner. At the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at US 70, this alternative would then utilize the Wilmington Extension until reaching the southern terminus. This alternative is 5.28 miles.
  4. S. McDowell Street to Fayetteville Road - utilizes S. McDowell Street to exit and enter Downtown Raleigh, then continues along S. Saunders Street towards Garner. At the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at US 70, this alternative would then utilize Fayetteville Road until reaching the southern terminus. This alternative is 5.29 miles.
  5. S. Wilmington Street to Wilmington Extension - utilizes S. Wilmington Street to exit and enter Downtown Raleigh, then continues along S. Wilmington Street towards Garner. At the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at US 70, this alternative would then utilize the Wilmington Extension until reaching the southern terminus. This alternative is 4.78 miles.
  6. S. Wilmington Street to Fayetteville Road - utilizes S. Wilmington Street to exit and enter Downtown Raleigh, then continues along S. Wilmington Street towards Garner. At the convergence of S. Saunders Street and S. Wilmington Street at US 70, this alternative would then utilize Fayetteville Road until reaching the southern terminus. This alternative is 4.78 miles.

The S. Wilmington Street/Wilmington Extension/Garner Boulevard alignment has been recommended by the City of Raleigh and Town of Garner as the most suitable alternative for adequately serving the travel market identified in the MIS and that satisfies the purpose and need for the project. This alignment was recommended to CAMPO by the City of Raleigh as the locally preferred alternative (LPA). This alignment provides direct access to more existing and future trip-generating origins and destinations along the corridor, accommodates more transit-oriented economic development potential, provides more opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure connections, and provides access to more disadvantaged transit-dependent populations than the other alignment alternatives. The BRT mode improves throughput capacity and transit service reliability to a level that is adequate to serve the existing and projected travel market without introducing significant impacts to the corridor.

On October 20, 2020, the Raleigh City Council endorsed the S. Wilmington Street segment of the recommended LPA within the Northern Section of the corridor. On April 5, 2021, the Garner Town Council endorsed the S. Wilmington Street Extension and Garner Station Boulevard segments of the recommended LPA within the Southern Section of the corridor. On April 20, 2021, the Raleigh City Council recommended the described alternative as the LPA to CAMPO for its consideration of adoption and inclusion in the 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) and FYs 2020-2029 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).