IAR Statement on Western BRT

The Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR) is aware of and is committed to addressing concerns about rezoning for the Bus Rapid Transit Raleigh in the Method neighborhood and surrounding areas. IAR is invested in making sure our neighbors and community members—many of whom are Black, immigrants and/or otherwise marginalized—are able to continue living, working and owning their businesses.

We are currently gathering information to prepare for our presence at the June 7th Raleigh City Council meeting that will address these issues.  

To that end, IAR is planning a community meeting shortly after Eid al-Fitr (details to be announced soon). The purpose of this meeting is to hear our community’s concerns and gather additional information so we can fully represent our community members’ concerns at the June 7th Raleigh City Council meeting. We encourage you to attend and share your thoughts with us.  

InshAllah, IAR plans to attend the June 7th City Council meeting to ask questions, express community concerns, and share our voice. We encourage our community members to also attend this meeting if possible.  

To date, IAR has identified the following concerns for consideration by City leadership and staff: 

  1. Affordable housing: The TOD overlay district may affect the “organically affordable” housing that is currently available along the Western Boulevard corridor. Aside from the affordability requirement of the overlay district, can the City consider other ways to mitigate the loss of affordable housing? For example, can there be an additional overlay for the Method Park community that allows higher density residential development with a significant (i.e. 50% or greater) requirement of affordable housing? 
  2. Affordable commercial area: The Western Boulevard corridor is home to a number of diverse and organically affordable commercial businesses. The new overlay district may displace many of these businesses. Can the City obligate that any business that is displaced by a redevelopment of a parcel within the overlay district be accommodated in the new development at an affordable rate for a fixed period of time? 
  3. Community open space: How will the overlay district affect open spaces and public spaces along the Western Boulevard corridor? Are there any considerations for preserving/expanding open space in the overlay district? 

Parking: Although the proposed BRT project is intended to promote transit use and discourage personal vehicle use, many members of the Muslim and Method Park communities use cars to access the important religious, cultural, and community assets in the area. As a result, a significant amount of the current parking will likely still be necessary to accommodate the community. How can we protect this parking access for a meaningful period of time?

We are delighted to highlight the amazing work of our community in this impact report.