Over lunch last week, my colleague, John, told me about the challenges his community faces with transportation. John is also a Habitat Homeowner. His neighborhood is one of several off of New Hope Road in Southeast Raleigh that doesn’t have easy access to a bus line. “My neighbors –women, men, and students– walk more than a mile along roads with no sidewalks to reach the nearest bus stop,” John said. “They walk in all weather. There is an elderly gentleman that I see every day – he’s walking because he needs to catch the bus.”
While we were talking, another co-worker entered the kitchen to heat up her lunch. From her home in North Raleigh, she also walks over a mile to the bus stop. Although she lives eight miles from the office, it takes two hours and two buses for her to get to work using public transportation. John nodded as she explained her commute. He added, “Our county is growing fast and we need public transportation that can keep up.”
For families needing affordable housing, it can be difficult to find a place to live near employment, shopping, and amenities because those locations often cost more. Accessibility to public transit results in greater economic opportunities for residents and can reduce transportation expenses, significantly improving a household’s financial situation.
Fortunately, at the polls last week voters expressed the need for more transportation choices by approving funding for Wake County’s new transit plan. The plan, to be implemented over a ten-year period, will expand the existing bus service and bring a commuter rail to the area. If you’re a Wake County voter, thank you for getting involved to support transit system improvements! It brings us one step closer to meeting the needs of residents in all areas of the county. Habitat Wake will continue to participate in the planning process to ensure that Wake County grows in such a way that those who need access to transit are able to afford housing. To follow our progress, sign up to receive Habitat Wake's advocacy news and alerts at http://www.habitatwake.org/programs/advocacy.
Note: This post was written by Rachel Zeitler, Habitat Wake's new manager of advocacy and societal impact. Moving forward, Rachel will be a regular contributor to Sanctuary and share her insights into the affordable housing needs of our community and around the world.