Raleigh Transit Overlay Districts (TOD)

Yes, every time we build a new highway it’s always “to relieve congestion over there.” I guess NCDOT assumed that road traffic would always increase forever and would backfill the older highways, but as we know it’s flatlined. So it’s long past time to reclaim these highways now that there are better alternatives for through traffic.


That was a great point that I hadn’t thought of. Old Business 64 is a classic stroad now in need of stroad repair.


I’ve been quiet on here lately, but here’s a bit of encouragement for y’all:

I went @JonathanMelton’s most recent community office hours session at CAM. Ended up just being me for a little while, so I drilled him with TOD and development questions (sorry about that). He’s optimistic that TOD for New Bern will pass, just probably not in its existing form. Most residents seem comfortable with rezoning the commercial lots; the residential lots are where things get a bit more dicey. So take heart: while it may need some retooling first, it should eventually move forward in one form or another.

[Hey @JonathanMelton: pretty sure everything I said here was fair game, but let me know if I should take this down. Thanks!]


Yes, I think that’s a good summary. Thanks for stopping by!


I know all the attention on here has been on the New Bern Ave TOD (with good reason), but what is the status of the TOD on the other future BRT lines?

Have those rezoning’s gone through already or will we have a contentious battle for those as well?

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Southern BRT rezoning has gone through bc its mostly through industrial wasteland and old car dealerships so no one cared.


The western and southern corridors have not had a rezoning like the New Bern corridor has planned, they’ve only had the TOD overlay applied


There are some stretches of residential, like the large lots in Longview that front New Bern, which should definitely be rezoned. At the time that Clarence Poe subdivided Longview, there was some appeal to having a big house up above the main road, I guess so that everyone could admire your wealth and prestige. But that’s not how people live nowadays. All of these lots are currently zoned R-4, so they’re not really worth subdividing (you’d have to buy and demolish the main house to get like 3 lots), and they’re sandwiched between OX-3 on either side.

The two houses at Clarendon Crescent are both being used as day care centers. 2321 New Bern, at the corner of Dickens, was marketed for a while in 2019 (at $111 PSF!) but never sold. These are obsolete as single-family houses and should be rezoned.

The ironic thing is that those TOD overlays were already adopted! Southern sailed through, the hearing for Western was a bit contentious but council adopted it.

No, the base zoning wasn’t changed, but the TOD overlay is quite generous, and both corridors mostly have underlying mixed-use zoning. New Bern has a bunch of R zoning instead.


Actually it was my understanding that TOD was applied to some areas on the future southern and western corridors but the height didn’t change. It was an attempt to get ahead a little so that we don’t get something car-centric that we’re stuck with for decades. Or at least make it less likely to be car-centric.

I was told that we’ll have a second round of TOD, with height changes, coming up as the city planners go through the station area planning process.

I honestly think that infill development like these TOD rezonings will define the 2020s in Raleigh. Think missing middle, ADUs, TOD, with 4 big cases, one for each corridor and all the drama related to each one.


Apologies, got the overlay and rezoning mixed up. So did the New Bern segment have an overlay or is that stretch’s proposed changes all lumped into the rezoning?

That’s good news. I certainly hope that also includes stepping on the accelerator for the OTB portion. It looks like as we speak a Chik-fil-A is being built at the Walmart. I’m bristling at the thought of their infamous drive-in lines forming right there at a BRT stop. :scream:
(Obviously too late to do anything about that one but it’s a darn good example to point to when we say “this needs to be done now!”)


Thanks for taking the time! Not too many politicians, even local ones, make such a strong effort to be accessible to the public.


Happy Friday fam.
Reflecting on the council meeting and all the support for the TOD. Really just feeling grateful for all the comments and the way council concluded. Seriously some great momentum in the room


This is not nothing, but also somewhat troubling as well.

Is the implication here that all R- zoning must be treated as an impenetrable citadel? Or are some of the R-lots still under consideration?

The downstream implication would be that multifamily is only going to be allowed on commercial lots that directly front along high-traffic, high-noise arterials, and that even a single block back from those arterials must be reserved for detached single family (aka "real":clown_face:) homes?

Effectively, we’ve given the veto to to single family residents who will only accept a rezoning if they can use multifamily buildings (and the people that live in them) as noise walls? (“Slow, calm streets for us; tire noise and brake dust for them?”)

From an urban standpoint, linear density along arterials, backed up by R-4 and golf courses starting 100 feet back (or 100 yards, whatever), also doesn’t really change the game as much as you’d think. It would be a big improvement, aesthetically, for the corridor - but real density and walkability needs depth.

As far as affordability is concerned, too, one of the biggest steps we can take would be replacing large-lot single family in desirable, well-connected locations with significantly higher density multifamily.

I guess Raleigh isn’t ready for this conversation yet - not here, not anywhere - not now, at least.


This is what Toronto largely did as it developed away from its core, and now they see that it was a mistake.


Under the prior council’s Missing Middle 2, Raleigh went above and beyond most other cities in creating the FTDO (Frequent Transit Development Option). That allows 3 story multifamily up to 1/2 mile back, by right.


curious…even if some denser rezoning on the contentious areas occurred…how many will take transit…and what percentage of vehicle traffic will be reduced? 5 percent in 3 decades? not flaming here… just how has it worked in other places ahead of raleigh in density and expenditure unless raleigh is to be some special paradigm?

BRT is likely to have little effect on the average single-family home citizen, but the goal is to create a corridor with lots of new housing opportunities supported by transit that people can choose to live in as opposed to other housing types that are completely car dependent. For those folks, they will absolutely use the line

For people who can’t drive, especially due to our rapidly expanding 70+ population, and those who can’t afford a car, living along the BRT line will be a game changer, and possibly a saving grace.


I honestly don’t think traffic will be reduced at all. It’s a capacity thing. If New Bern can handle X amount of cars moving per hour before it gets congested, we could have BRT running every 2 minutes with 100,000 residents living between downtown and WakeMed and New Bern will still cap out at X amount of cars moving per hour. For anyone else, let me know if there is reading out there but I don’t buy the pro-transit argument that transit reduces vehicle traffic.

Having said that, what BRT does do is reduce vehicle miles traveled in people’s lives. Some people will live here and never use it while others will use it for a portion of their trips throughout their lives. For me, I guess there are two scenarios, both with a growing Raleigh and Triangle:

  1. BRT exists and density is built on New Bern, allowing the street to get more people to where they want to go. They can walk, bike, or ride the bus safely, and yes, even drive if they want to.
  2. BRT doesn’t exist and the density stays as is planned today then gentrification does it’s thing and those with choice will never ride a sub-par bus route that can’t compete with driving.

Of course, everything sits along a spectrum so I’m generalizing above. BRT + density moves us up the spectrum where people will more likely factor transit into their every-day decisions, rather than driving being the obvious choice. Actually, I think you are right @sthomper, that in 3 decades, if all we have are the 4 BRT lines, transit use will still remain below 10% overall for Raleigh. I’m not expecting this to be some major cultural shift for Raleigh unless some other factors come up in our lifetimes.


In this case it’s really dependent on ridership and how dense this corridor actually becomes. Given that this will be the only BRT line for a couple of years, there will be many riders ( those who can afford cars) that will also drive to places outside the corridor, be it Wegmans in Midtown, PNC, etc.

Also, the fact that there will be some park and ride stations? may help to decrease car traffic volumes but only for a short period of time… but I’m not quite sure.

There’s one city somewhere in the U.S., that but BRT along their highways and they saw significant decreases in car traffic. I’ll try to find the article but if anyone knows the city, please link an article in the chat.