Is Commuter Rail coming to the Triangle? – Many Triangle area residents were disappointed when Duke University essentially shut down a light rail project in 2019. Now in 2022, a rail plan is again being discussed, with some significant changes.
Commuter Rail Feasibility Study
According to GoTriangle, a new feasibility study is looking at servicing a larger geographic area with 43 miles of rail including Wake County (Raleigh), Durham, and fast-growing Johnston County including the town of Clayton, NC. The previous light rail project was 17 miles focused on Research Triangle Park (RTP), Chapel Hill, and downtown Durham. This commuter rail idea would help ease traffic for residents of outlying areas by decreasing car traffic on busy Triangle roads.
Light Rail and Commuter Rail Systems
Here is an explanation of the difference between light rail and commuter rail systems: Commuter rail systems are passenger trains that run on diesel-electric or electrically-propelled engines. Commuter rail systems often run most frequently during the standard commuting times for the average workday. Light Rail Systems. Light rail systems are passenger trains powered by overhead electrical wires. (Hoponboardblog.com)
While still early in the process, this feasibility study is one step being taken to address the growing number of people living in central NC. Numerous road projects by the NCDOT are in process or nearing completion including I-540 (aka the Triangle Expressway) which will eventually circle around the greater Raleigh area and the East End Connector in Durham county.
A Realtor’s Perspective
In terms of housing, buyers are trying to predict if they will be able to work from home indefinitely or if they will eventually have to commute into an office 3 or more days a week. My average homebuyer requests to be within a 30-minute drive to their office or to the airport if they anticipate having to travel regularly. Accessibility to major roadways and minimizing time spent in stop-and-go traffic continue to be a priority for local residents.
Reference – Triangle Business Journal article Dec 28, 2021.
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