You may have heard news stories about the New Bern Ave BRT.

Here are a few quick facts to help you understand what you’re hearing.

BRT – Bus Rapid Transit

Livable Raleigh fully supports Bus Rapid Transit

BRT is a high-capacity bus-based transit system that delivers fast and efficient service that may include dedicated lanes, busways, traffic signal priority, off-board fare collection, elevated platforms and enhanced stations.

You can read more about BRT here: What is BRT? 

New Bern Avenue

New Bern Avenue is the 1st of 4 BRT lines that are planned for Raleigh.

The New Bern Avenue BRT line has been approved. The ground breaking for the line happened November 7, 2023. The New Bern line will run from the downtown GoRaleigh Bus Station, moving east along New Bern Ave, passing Wake Med, passing I-540 and ending at the Walmart at New Hope Road.  Nothing more needs to be done or approved for the New Bern Ave BRT to be built. 

You can read more here: New Bern Ave BRT Line 

Federal Funding

The federal funding has been acquired.

You may have heard people say that Raleigh needs to upzone the properties along the New Bern Ave corridor for more height and density in order to qualify for the federal funding to pay for the BRT. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Anyone who says this doesn’t know what they are talking about or is intentionally lying to you. 


City initiated upzoning proposal – Livable Raleigh opposes Z-92-22

The City of Raleigh initiated its own proposal to upzone 744 properties (increase the height and density of what’s allowed to be built) along the New Bern Ave BRT line. They have proposed increasing heights to 5, 7 and even 12 stories along the entire corridor without asking for anything in return. With this giveaway they eliminate any incentive for affordable housing to be included in any new development and instead they incentivize replacing existing affordable housing with new market rate housing.

The “sweet spot” for developing profitable multi-family housing is 4-5 stories. If the the city upzones everything to 5 stories and more, as proposed, they have left themselves no room to negotiate for including affordable housing in any development. They will in effect give away their only bargaining chip.

To clarify one more time. This upzoning is NOT required for the New Bern Ave BRT to be built. It has been funded and will be built with or without this upzoning proposal.

Livable Raleigh recommends leaving the current zoning as is. Then the city can negotiate for the inclusion of affordable housing units as part of any request to increase height and density above the current legal entitlement.  

You can see the upzoning map here: Z-99-22 Zoning Map

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission has recommended DENIAL of Z-92-22

At their meeting December 12, 2023, the Raleigh Planning Commission voted to recommend the City Council DENY the Z-92-22 zoning proposal. This recommendation is non-binding and the ultimate decision for how to proceed belongs to the City Council.

Watch Nicole Bennett, Certified Urban Planner, Equity Strategist and Raleigh Planning Commissioner, provide expert comments supporting the BRT and opposing Z-92-22, the mass upzoning which recalls the worst of our nation’s past urban renewal failures.   (2 minutes).

City Council

The ultimate decision is theirs.

The Planning Commission recommendation is non-binding and the ultimate decision for how to proceed belongs to the City Council. The City Council has scheduled a Public Hearing for January 30, 2024. If you want to weigh in with your thoughts, reach out to the City Councilors and let them know what you think.

Reach out here: Contact City Council   

If you are interested in even more information, read about our upcoming public forum here: Will New Bern’s Mass upzoning revitalize neighborhoods or eliminate them?

Livable Raleigh Editorial Team

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