Development Beat: GoRaleigh Station Update

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

While most of the attention has been on the Union Station project in the Warehouse District, transformative work continues across town at the old Moore Square Bus Station, where an outdated, dingy and unwelcoming terminal is being replaced with something much nicer.

“The biggest change is the improved lighting,” Gil Johnson, project manager for the GoRaleigh Station project at Moore Square told the Record last week.

James Borden

Moore Square

Planning for the original Moore Square station, he said, had begun around 1985, with the station opening in 1988. Although the station has undergone a number of renovations and upgrades throughout the years, this will certainly be the most significant overhaul.

Although Johnson described the lighting as the biggest change — and this will certainly have a large impact on the overall look and feel of the place, hopefully making it seem safer and more welcoming — the biggest change in my book will be the new bathrooms.

I’m not sure how many readers have ever had the misfortune of finding themselves in the city and in a situation where the bus terminal bathroom was their only option but… if you have you may understand my position. There’s nowhere in downtown Raleigh I’ve ever been afraid for my safety, but the Moore Square bathroom was the kind of place you walk into and think, I’m probably going to get stabbed.

Judging by the general appearance and upkeep of the facility, it often appeared that the maintenance and janitorial staff did their best to avoid the place as much as possible.

Johnson said they will also be adding an arrival/departure screen “like at an airport.” Although the station previously had a digital readout board with arrival times, Johnson said the new one will be much more detailed and will be able to display all the information at once, instead of scrolling like the old one. Definitely an improvement.

Sitework continues at Moore Square

James Borden

Sitework continues at Moore Square

The station will also have self-service ticket terminals and Wi-Fi service that is presumably independent of the Downtown Raleigh Wi-Fi Network.

We happened to catch Johnson in the lobby outside Council chambers last week, following a presentation on the project he’d just given to the Raleigh Transit Authority. The presentation covered a number of topics, including construction highlights, hints of a possible tour and temporary bus loading zones.

Johnson told the Raleigh Transit Authority they were about eight weeks into construction and had so far hit a number of milestones. These included relocating existing bus zones, a lengthy project with AT&T that involved relocating a utility splicing box and a number of site improvements.

One issue they’d encountered, he said, was that beneath the existing pavement there was often brick and other man-made materials, which means they may have to haul in some soil from the Union Station project.

Some of the work the contractors are currently doing, John said, is cutting out an area where the stair tower and elevator will go. A small alcove will be created for the elevator entrance area.

One semi-interesting aspect of this project is that while it is overshadowed as a “public transit station” job, it is also overshadowed as a Moore Square renovation, as the park itself will soon be transformed into a cleaner, more modern space. Not too dissimilar from the bus station.

The walkway connecting the station to Wilmington Street

James Borden

The walkway connecting the station to Wilmington Street

While Council was given the option of allowing negotiations to begin with a Construction Manager At-Risk team for the park project, made up of Whiting-Turner and Holt Brothers, a decision was delayed in order to give them more time to examine the proposals received.

American South General Contracting is handling the GoRaleigh Station job.

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