Joe Coletti takes an imaginary ride on the utopian TTA train:
STAC’s plan shares with the original Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) proposal the goal of using existing rail rights of way for Amtrak and freight carriers. I live close to both the existing station in downtown Cary and the proposed Northwest Cary station and decided to see what it would be like to ride the rails to work in Raleigh.
After a 20-minute walk, I arrived at the station. Most days, 20 minutes gets me to the office. While I could have driven to the station, the trip is only about a mile and a half, which would have meant my car was doing its worst emission damage for the entire trip to and from the station – not a good green life.
The train portion of the trip itself was 10 minutes from platform to platform. Commuter rail would have two more stops, in West Raleigh and at N.C. State, to make the 8.4-mile trip closer to 15 to 20 minutes.
Once at the Raleigh station, there is still another 10-minute (half-mile) walk up Dawson Street to get to the Locke Foundation. Commuter rail would therefore more than double the length of time it takes to get from north Cary to Raleigh while providing almost no clean air benefits. For those who live in southern Cary, Apex, or Holly Springs, the train would be a complete waste of time, money, and effort.
None of this even begins to take into account the added inconveniences of not having a car at work. I sometimes stop at the library, the grocery store, the pizza place, or the dry cleaner on the way home, but that would likely not be an option with Triangle rail for some time and then only if development actually happened as planners hope.
How easily shiny, flashy things cripple the common sense of the citizenry. Thank goodness for people like Joe who can set them straight.
(Read more about the folly of light rail here, here, and here.)