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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Raleigh City Council is once again discussing the Bus Rapid Transit corridor during a work session.

Monday’s special remote session was scheduled to help council and the Mayor better understand what exactly the rezoning along New Bern – which allows for taller buildings and more density – will look like, and what that might mean for folks who live there.

In March, city council voted to implement what’s called a Transit Overlay District to the impacted stretch of New Bern Avenue, allowing for taller, denser structures to be built. The city hopes that action will improve walkability and support the future Bus Rapid Transit line by fueling it with an increase of residents – future riders.

Non-profit Wake Up Wake County supports the buildout of BRT but wants to improve engagement between the community and the city – and make sure better transportation in Raleigh doesn’t come at the expense of its most vulnerable residents.

“We’re trying to get folks to understand, you’ve got to welcome this growth and this is not about a displacement, this is about a sustainable tool that needs to be placed here so folks can have access to all parts of the city,” said Wake Up’s Executive Director Denzel Burnside.

Burnside said it comes down to having the right voices in the room when these difficult conversations are taking place.

“It’s been our work, and my work as an executive director, to make sure we’re not being colonial in our approach,” he said. “We’re making sure we’re getting folks to the table, we’re making sure we’re holding the city accountable, we’re making sure we’re bringing in power brokers in those spaces to be able to have those dialogues, and then communicating what this is going to look like.”

ABC11 spoke to long-time business owners along New Bern Avenue who say change has already come to the area and it’s impacting customers.

The manager of Jack Seafood, a staple on New Bern Avenue, says even though he’s intrigued by the long-term plan he knows how his neighbors feel about gentrification in east Raleigh.

If the proposed re-zoning for the project goes through it would fundamentally change commercial development and storefronts up and down the bus line.

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