Durham bus rider shares concerns, ideas to Pete Buttigieg during his infrastructure tour

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Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Durham bus rider shares concerns, ideas with Pete Buttigieg
Walking alongside the Mayor and Governor touring a mile-long stretch, Buttigieg promised fixes for crosswalks, curbs, gaps in the sidewalk, and improvements for bus stops.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- As part of his infrastructure tour in North Carolina, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited Durham Tuesday after spending the Monday in Raleigh.

Every day, Kai Smith waits for the Number 3 bus in the Bull City to take him to work.

Smith has no choice but to stand on the grass in the shade on Holloway Street. He wishes it were a little safer for people who ride the bus.

"Every stop should have one of those overhangs like to protect from the sun and the wind in my opinion with at least 2 benches for women and children and elderly to prevent from the elements," Smith said.

He had no idea the Secretary of Transportation would be there to see the problem for himself.

Walking alongside the Mayor and Governor touring a mile-long stretch, Buttigieg promised fixes for crosswalks, curbs, gaps in the sidewalk, and improvements for bus stops.

"People deserve excellent sidewalks and transit services and all the other things that a good streetscape ought to have the vision has been here for a long time but the money we're here to change that's why we awarded 12 million dollars to help get that done," Buttigieg told ABC11.

That $12 million is specifically for the Bull City as part of federal infrastructure funding touted by the Biden administration.

"The fact that he feels that's a concern or someone brought the concerns to him and he's willing to do something about it is a good sign to me," Smith says.

Last week, it was announced that the Bull City was awarded $12 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funding will help provide improvements for 33 intersections along Holloway Street and is expected to benefit small business owners as well as the rest of the community.

It's a great opportunity for everyone when everything is improved, and everything looks great.
Derick Segers, Business Owner on Holloway Street

The project is still in the design phase, and construction is expected to start in 2026.

"While transit ridership is robust in this area, safe connections to the route and bus stop amenities are lacking," Durham Transportation's Sean Egan said. "Most stops are without shelters and there are barriers to access like sidewalk gaps. Our project aims to provide safe, dignified access to transit for our residents in the communities along this corridor."

Along Holloway Street is Cox Barber Shop. The family business is owned by Derick Segers, and it's been in this location for 25 years.

Segers said he has seen many businesses fold here during that time. He is looking forward to the infrastructure improvements, such as bus shelters, that can benefit his shop and the community at large.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone when everything is improved, and everything looks great," Segers said. "People can feel good about where they work and where they live...We love to have some beautification come through the neighborhood."

Buttigieg visited Raleigh Monday and participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new S-Line rail project. The railroad will connect Raleigh to Richmond, Virginia.

There will also be stops in Wake Forest, Youngsville, Franklinton, Henderson, and Norlina before merging into the passenger rail that travels along the eastern seaboard.

The project was made possible by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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