Sunday, November 23, 2008


So the City of Raleigh’s Arts Commission in partnership with CAT launched Art-On-The-Move on September 22, 2007. Photos from the News & Observer at the time featured City Councilman Russ Stephenson smashing a bottle of water on the side of a CAT bus (in the middle of the drought).

So where do Raleigh’s priorities stand as it relates to mass transit? Apparently more-so with decorating buses rather than decorating bus stops with benches and shelters.

According to the Raleigh Arts Commission, public funds are used for this project and the
honorariums paid for the project (12 at $1,000 a piece) come from public funds.

Other costs with the project include:

12 sets of bus wrap graphics, digital transfer with protective laminate: $7,168.32
Installation of 12 wraps, onsite at CAT: $4,560.00
Honorariums: $12,000
Total: $23,728.32

After making an inquiry with the City of Raleigh on bus stops, I received this timely and thorough response from Transit Administrator David Eatman:

The City of Raleigh has 1450 bus stops that are served daily by Capital Area Transit (CAT) buses. Of the 1450 stops 36 are currently equipped with shelters and 259 have benches available.

CAT currently has just over 100 stops that are without passenger amenities that meet the Raleigh Transit Authority policy for the placement of benches and shelters. The policy states that bus stops must have 25 boardings per day to qualify for a shelter and 10 boardings per day to qualify for a bench, this policy may be waived at locations used by seniors or persons with disabilities. With the obvious need for quality facilities that provide a safe and comfortable place for transit patrons, the Transit Program has embarked on an aggressive campaign to install these facilities as quickly as possible. This will result in the installation of approximately 40 new shelters and 75 new benches, some of which have already been completed.

In support of this effort, the transit program has submitted 20 engineered site plans to NCDOT in order to receive easements for the placement of our first round of shelters in Southeast and Southwest Raleigh. The majority of the bus stops meeting the passenger amenity standard lie within NCDOT right of way. Our next effort will concentrate on heavily utilized stops in North Raleigh, including Wake Forest Road and Capital Boulevard.

I could go on and on about the fact that apparently the bus service is so low that the stops don’t meet the low standards of 25 boardings per day for a shelter or 10 boardings for a bench.

Still what about the others that meet the guidelines that have been neglected for so long? The passion for benches sure doesn’t seem to match the fevered intensity to spend $14.8 million for City Plaza
– now does it?

Mayor Meeker is seeking a regressive sales tax increase and increased vehicle registration fees for you guessed it – more buses.

Is this really how we need to spend transit oriented funds? For artwork on grungy buses? Is that part of that great concept that makes Raleigh a “world-class city?”

Not as much money as this
Raleigh gem, but it sure does give it a run for the money.

Final note – the picture is from Morgan Street right near the “
Hope in Government HQ.” Guess folks weren’t taking the bus down there to volunteer huh?