I was called eloquent last night commenting on the Wake County Transit Plan. Other people complimented me also. I was one of about a dozen speakers commenting on the plan, most of them in favor of it. Each of us were given 2 minutes to say our piece. The board passed the plan.
I was proud of the comments too. Here they are:
Good evening. My name is Helen Tart and I live near downtown Raleigh.
I’m a past chairperson of the Raleigh Transit Authority and long-time user of both the local and regional bus and rail systems. I’ve been advocating for improved transit since 1989.
This plan is the closest I have seen in all those years to making my dreams come true.
The dedicated source of funding is the key to the success of this plan. Not just to pay for the service but to demonstrate Wake County’s commitment to a better future. That future is one that gives some people choices in how and where they want to go and provides new opportunities for work and homes to others.
No plan is perfect. This one misses opportunities to not just chase growth but to focus it. It leaves the development around the stops up to chance. The full value of the investment in CRT and the BRT is lost if the growth around the stops doesn’t support them. That growth needs to include transit-oriented development–sidewalks, retail, open green space, and a range of housing. It also includes integrating the bus stops with the development. Even rail can be included into developments to a lesser extent.
Maybe that was just not in the scope of the plan, but we all need to be thinking about how we get, not just mobility, but community out of the effort that is going into this plan.
Part of the effort that has gone into this plan is being wasted by not having the Advisory Committee, or some version of it, to continue to be involved. You have 70 some people who are now educated in the intricacies of transit planning, but have the insight of being part of the public. I know that CAMPO and the GoTriangle board have members of the public involved, but most of them are also elected officials, who one step removed from the public. Most people that come out to meetings like this one, don’t have time to learn all the details and don’t usually have commitment to get into the details.
The one thing I’ve learned in my years as a transit watcher is that the details matter. They can make the difference between a good ride and a bad one.