Raleigh is building a new type of transportation and preparing for the development expected to follow

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New Bern Street on Raleigh’s east side has begun to change in recent years, as expensive, modern homes and apartments have replaced older buildings in the historic African-American neighborhood east of downtown.

This change is expected to accelerate next year, like Raleigh Began construction of the first bus rapid transit line along New Bern From downtown past WakeMed to New Hope Church Road. The 5.4-mile BRT line will have 10 stops, with raised and covered platforms and 3.3 miles of dedicated bus lanes.

Construction begins in early 2024, and the city says the special 60-foot articulated buses will begin transporting passengers by the end of 2025. The project also includes a new path along New Bern for pedestrians and bicyclists.

City officials expect the bus rapid transit system to be a catalyst for change, as people and businesses seek to be located near the first transit system of its kind in North Carolina. And the city is Take steps to encourage and identify development along the corridor, much to the dismay of some current residents.

One of the city’s strategies is to rezone 744 properties, allowing denser development on more than 700 acres along the BRT line. The City Planning Commission narrowly voted against the proposal, facing criticism that it would handicap current single-family homeowners without doing enough to slow gentrification or ensure affordable housing in future development.

The city is also taking a more direct approach, purchasing properties it plans to redevelop in partnership with private builders.

That includes the former Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters — two large office buildings on approximately 5.4 acres at the corner of New Bern Avenue and Tarboro Avenue. The city agreed to this He paid the state $20 million for the property. Demolition of the two older buildings will begin next year as the city holds a series of public meetings to see what the community would like to see built there in addition to affordable housing, City Manager Marshall Adams-David says.

Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin speaks with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a tour of the first leg of the city's planned bus rapid transit system on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin speaks with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a tour of the first leg of the city’s planned bus rapid transit system on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

Meanwhile, private developers, both for-profit and non-profit, are also moving in. A development group recently paid $20 million for about 7.7 acres at the corner of New Bern Avenue and South Swain Street, in the area the city is proposing to rezone. And Two non-profit organizations, DHIC and BrightspireWe are Construction of 156 units of affordable housing for people ages 55 and older is nearing completion On the site of the former Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church near the future King Charles Road BRT station.

During a recent visit to Raleigh, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toured the BRT route with Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin and other city officials. Buttigieg said the land along New Bern will certainly become more valuable and attractive to people when served by a BRT line, and he acknowledged the challenge that poses.

“As you gentrify an area, values ​​go up, prices go up. There is a danger of pricing people out,” he said in an interview. “Housing and transportation can help reinforce each other, but only if there is intention. That’s why I’m happy to see so much intent around housing affordability along with the improved transportation that Raleigh is working to provide.

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