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Transportation center back on track

READ MORE: Transportation center back on track

Imagine all the city's buses, trolleys, and taxis in downtown Wilmington meeting in one place. Well, that's the plan - a very expensive plan. After about a decade in the making, those plans are closer to reality.
The multi-modal transportation center is back on track.

"If they know they have to stand out in the rain to wait for a bus, obviously you're not making the services as attractive as they could be," says WAVE Transit Executive Director Albert Eby.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has a much more appealing plan which includes a covered multi-modal transportation center complete with bathrooms and a ticket office.

You would see a lot of buses coming in. You would see some Greyhounds there, a half a dozen times a day. You'd see taxis waiting to take people from one place to another. You'd see passengers with suitcases, maybe waiting to go out to the airport on a public bus or on a taxi," says Eby.

Plans put the transportation center between North 3rd and 4th Streets between Red Cross and Hanover Streets. The historic buildings taken over by the D.O.T. will likely be preserved. Eventually the hub could also serve as a train station to take people to and from Raleigh.

"It really is kind of a converging of all the different transportation alternatives here in the region so it makes much more seamless transition for not only residents but for visitors and tourists," says Eby.

But the $11 million project, mainly funded by state and federal money, has local folks worried.

"Those are taxpayer funds. Those are our dollars," says Chad O'Shields. "So you're talking, minimum, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to pay salaries, maintenance on these buildings, and it's just ridiculous to put that kind of additional burden on working families."

O'Shields says the plan aimed at making transportation easier is pointless and a waste of taxpayer's money. "The whole premise behind bringing these forms of transportation together sounds good until you think about it. All these different forms of transportation already have their own locations. We have bus stops. If we want to get on a bus, we go to a bus stop. It takes us from Point A to Point B. With a taxi, it'll pick you up from where you are and take you to where you want to go. To try and sell the public on the premise that we need to re-route all these vehicles to one point downtown, it just doesn't make sense."

O'Shields says the people who want to build the multi-modal center are the same ones who supported the brand new WAVE Transit building nicknamed the "Taj Mah-WAVE". They're also the ones who allotted $40,000 for a statue to put in front of a bus station.

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Here's the local blog commented on the issue and offered an opposing point of view.

Transpo Hub!!!

You are going to hear all the negative comments from people who do not want Wilmington to develop. These are the same people who aren't for any other improvemnts to our city other than the benefit of their own pockets.
This type of transportation hub is in every major city in the world. It is the perfect way to help bring tourism downtown. If you could get to Wilmington and get around without needing a car this would be a wonderful thing. Of course, this will not happen overnight. Easy to use public transportation is a necessity.
The person who made the comment about how are set up is good the way it is, obviously does't use it. The public transportation set up here is marginal at best.
I wish that we could use the European model of public transportation here in the U.S. I love this country and this city, but it definitely needs some improvements.
We must look forward to grow. Not remain stuck in your selfish antiquated me only ways.

Transpo dud!

Wow! A lot of rhetoric, but no substance. I’ll address some of your comments directly:

“You are going to hear all the negative comments from people who do not want Wilmington to develop. These are the same people who aren't for any other improvements to our city other than the benefit of their own pockets.” Unlike you, I’m a native. I do want to see my city grow and flourish and am simply one of many that don’t agree with this huge waste of taxpayer dollars. The money can be better spent elsewhere.

“This type of transportation hub is in every major city in the world.” Sounds good, but that’s absolutely false. Not even our state capital Raleigh has one.

“If you could get to Wilmington and get around without needing a car this would be a wonderful thing.” You can! Start by selling you car. The rest of us that can will choose to drive.

“Easy to use public transportation is a necessity.” Ours is easy to use. You go to a bus stop and get on the bus. Need a taxi? Call one and it’ll pick you up wherever you are and take you where ever you want to go. Couldn’t be much simpler.

“The public transportation set up here is marginal at best.” The city bus system is provided as service to those without transportation. It’s not a right, it’s a service. Most people ride the bus because they don’t have a car, not to save the environment or cut down on traffic. Give the people riding the bus a car and they’d never set foot on a bus again. Just ask them.

“I wish that we could use the European model of public transportation here in the U.S.” Which is what? They don’t drive cars over there and everyone rides a bus? Again, more rhetoric. We’re not in Europe, we’re in Wilmington, NC. If you like it better there, what can I say?

A few additional comments:

Mr. Eby states that we need to spend the money so people waiting for a bus don’t have to stand in the rain. Use an umbrella like the rest of us.

A dirty little secret Mr. Eby had rather not be known is that WAVE ridership has been on the decline in recent years, even though the routes were extended out into the county. Mr Eby is more interested in empire building than the welfare of taxpayers in New Hanover county.

Ask Mr. Eby and Ms. Padgett about their vote to spend $40,000 on a statue at the other WAVE transfer station? Another unforgivable example of government waste and excess.

These multi modal hubs are no more than the most current fad in wasteful government spending. Wonder why our roads are so poor? NCDOT needs to get back on track. Our country has spent itself into a hole we may very well never cover from. When are these politicians going to realize taxpayers are not a bottomless pit? The few last years should serve as a wakeup call to all of us that this kind of pork spending to has to come to an end.

You have no clue!!

The public transportation use is on the decline bacause it is terrible.
I do not like it better in Europe. I do like it here. People in Europe do drive cars. They also use the public transportation because it is plentiful and afffordable.
As far as buying a statue, well, what can I say you have one valid point.
Bus stops should be covered, buses should run every 15 minites, Taxi rides should not cost an arm and a leg. You should shut the hell up!

Trans Center

Wow how easy it is to come up with $11 million dollars when it affects downtown. The public can board a Greyhound or a cab at the current bus station. Wave could easily expand its facility downtown by adding covered benches and/or creating a stop at the Greyhound station. If they want to spend money improve the crumbling infrastructure throughout Wilmington. It's like money is no object when it comes to spending money; especially if it affects downtown. I guess those in charge enjoying spending taxpayer money even in this poor economy; spend, spend, spend......

...and spent in the wrong places!

Look at 3rd street, the main avenue through town that locals and tourists use frquently to navigate across town. 3rd street has more patches that there are Chins in a Chinese phone book!!! You almost need a darned 4 wheel drive to traverse it and FORGET picking up your coffee cup while on it.

A simple improvement that would go a long way! Common sense and vision has never been one of the city councils shiny spots.