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Leaders break ground on Hillsborough Street project

Posted May 20, 2009

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— Raleigh city leaders held a groundbreaking at noon Wednesday to celebrate the kickoff of Phase I of the Hillsborough Street renovation.

In March, the City Council approved spending $9 million to install roundabouts on Hillsborough Street between Oberlin Road and Gardner Street.

North Carolina State University also contributed money to the project. The N.C. State campus runs along Hillsborough Street for the entire stretch.

Voters approved the roundabouts four years ago as part of a $60 million bond referendum for road improvements. The City Council has debated the details of the project ever since.

The traffic circles are seen as a way to make Hillsborough Street more pedestrian-friendly and to revitalize the area for businesses.

The project will also include more greenery. Workers will plant trees along the road, which will create a living canopy along the street.

City leaders said a small group of people meeting in a neighborhood church conceived the idea for the project years ago.

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  • Bendal1 May 21, 2009

    NCcarguy,

    As I said before, I've designed roundabouts and am well versed in their benefits in reducing crashes at intersections, as well as keeping traffic moving for the main street. After all, the side street no longer has a protected move like it would at a signal, so the main street is basically a 'free flow' movement due to the level of traffic compared to the side street.

    As I said, they work BEST when the traffic is fairly balanced among all the streets; if there's a big difference on the two streets then the one with the lesser traffic is going to have longer queues then it would have with a signal.

    Overall though, below a certain traffic volume, they work better than signals when looking at the intersection as a complete entity. I just happen to think that they won't work as well on Hillsborough Street as expected.

  • haggis basher May 20, 2009

    "Then put the traffic lights on flash (yellow for Hillsboro St., red for cross streets)this is basicly what a traffic circle will create.Sit back and see what happens!"
    No thats not what a roundabout is........they are everywhere in Europe and the UK and work really well to speed traffic flow up. I was kidding about Americans not being smart enough for them....but with some comments here I'm not so sure now.....

  • haggis basher May 20, 2009

    "This is an idea that will not work, because it's designed to IMPEDE auto traffic rather than INCREASE auto traffic."
    How does a roundabout impede traffic? They dramatically increase it until you get to a critical point and then you need traffic lights. This is well understood engineering. I understand concerns for pedestrians, I agree roundabouts and pedestrians don't usually mix. crossings need to be some distance away....but again this is all well proven tech.

  • dwntwnboy May 20, 2009

    Can honestly say that as a resident of that area, I will NOT be encouraged to travel or frequent Hillsborough Street because of this. If anything, I will avoid it. There isn't enough parking and let's be honest, there isn't really anything on that strip other than bars and restaurants...oh, and a pawn shop. I'll stick to Cameron Village and Mission Valley thank you.

  • Pseudonym May 20, 2009

    Are Americans too dumb to be able to manage a roundabout?...they are really easy and work very well.......

    Chevy Chase is a bad example (Hey look, there's Big Ben!!!)

  • Pseudonym May 20, 2009

    haggis basher,

    Umm, usually when people revert to insults it's because they have lost the argument. Yes, I've seen a traffic circle, as I'm from Fayetteville. Now go down there and tell me how many people you see walking around the Market House and neighboring businesses. Spend all day. You've got enough fingers and toes to count them. That's my point. This is an idea that will not work, because it's designed to IMPEDE auto traffic rather than INCREASE auto traffic. Granted, the plan does include extra parking, but not enough for all of their grandiose plans. They need to INCREASE access from areas not immediately adjacent to NCSU, not give those people more excuses to not go to Hillsborough St.

    Please think before you shoot off at the keyboard

  • ncwebguy May 20, 2009

    Can someone name any of these "drive by businesses" that are going to be hurt by moving through traffic to Western? Through traffic is just that -- it goes through without stopping. Business on Hillsborough (why can't people spell it correctly?) never relied on the off chance someone driving by would see their business and stop.

    Who was getting drive-by business? Mitch's and Western Lanes? No! You can't see those businesses from the street, yet they have been there longer than most of the other business on the strip, outlasting the Starbucks and McDonalds that used to be there.

    That area will *never* attract enough non-student business to attract non-student businesses. That is what Cameron Village and Mission Valley are for. 9th Street in Durham works because there isn't a nearby alternative, and Franklin Street has even less nearby retail space competition, and, unlike Hillsborough, has a critical mass of availble retail space.

    And rent is too high to anything else.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 20, 2009

    Bendal1, I kinda agree with you, but they do work better than you're thinking....I'm looking at one right now, and it's the same setup, a main street through, and two lesser streets on either side. The "Yield" sign causes most people to at least slow down as they enter the circle, that brief break allows those from the side roads enough time to enter, and it causes the circle to work as designed. I have been looking at this one for almost 4 years, and even though I hear HORNS blowing somewhat regulalry, i've only seen 2-3 crashes. They work.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM May 20, 2009

    "IMO, the biggest reason businesses are having trouble has nothing to do with traffic flow, it has everything to do with parking."

    totally agree. that coupled with being towed within 2 seconds if you're in the wrong spot, why even bother supporting those businesses (often they are the ones calling afterall). I say let the street "die"

  • RainierBeer May 20, 2009

    Pineview -- I'll echo that. Two Guys child's plate spaghetti and sweet tea. What a lunch! We used to go there all the time when I worked at State.

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