Merchants question proposed Oberlin Road changes

Posted May 13, 2013

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— Plans to narrow Oberlin Road from five to two lanes near Cameron Village have sparked criticism from merchants in the venerable Raleigh shopping center.

Raleigh planners want to give Oberlin Road a "Main Street feel" along the booming portion between Park Drive and Bedford Avenue. That would entail fewer lanes for cars and more room for trees, medians, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

Although retailers said they welcome the idea of more curb appeal, they said it can't come at the expense of access to Cameron Village.

"Admittedly, our neighbors shop with us, but there's a lot (who) come from other parts of Raleigh," said Mike Zimmerman, owner of Capital Run Walk and president of the Cameron Village Merchants Association. "We would like to see that they are able to have good access to the center, and coming in on Oberlin is the best way."

One idea Raleigh planners have floated calls for traffic circles on Oberlin Road to improve traffic flow, but store owners said that would be tough for their delivery trucks.

Oberlin Road makeover plan Raleigh wants to giver Oberlin Road 'Main Street feel'

"If those changes in traffic go from five lanes to two cause even 10 percent of our customers to decide to go to North Hills or (Streets at) Southpoint or some place they can easily get to and easily park , it means some of these businesses are going out of business," said Katrina Ryan, owner of Sugarland bakery.

Keeping the current traffic lanes would be ideal, Ryan said.

"I'm thinking all about the economics because I took my retirement money and invested it here in Cameron Village," she said. "We just moved here a year ago (and) specifically chose Cameron Village because it's not a mall."

Planners cite Hillsborough Street as a successful blend of fewer lanes and wider sidewalks to improve a thoroughfare's appearance.

Raleigh hasn't yet set aside any money to redevelop Oberlin Road, however.


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  • seanlondajackson May 16, 2013

    Not more bicycle lanes! The bikers don't even use the lanes they have now! I see more joggers in the bike lane than bicycles. You can practically get ran over by a bicyclist on the sidewalk!

  • Hippy_mom May 14, 2013

    Got a traffic problem? Slap a roundabout in the middle of it! I have to pass through CV everyday and I get tailgated while doing OVER the speed limit. A "Main Street feel", eh? Isn't that what Fayetteville Street is all about? This would only push more frustrated, aggressive drivers into the neighborhood streets.

  • Kristen168 May 14, 2013

    Absolutely ridiculous! It appears the people in charge of roads around Raleigh don't have a clue about management of traffic evidenced by other weird configurations that have hindered rather than helped traffic flow. The traffic on this road must be accomodated. It's a main thoroughfare. This is money wasted which could be better spent on something that makes sense.

  • drjones74 May 14, 2013

    Pretty sure the 500-600 new apartments will provide the new customers lost to any inconvenient road access.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness May 14, 2013

    "Even without lane reduction once these residences are active I probably will never go near Cameron Village again."

    I live in Cameron Village. I shop at the Harris Teeter just about every single day. I shop at the other stores of Cameron Village on a regular basis. Yes, parking can be bad. Traffic is also bad when I have to drive to Crabtree, anywhere on Capital, anywhere on Wake Forest Road/Falls of the Neuse.

    You don't know what bad traffic is until you've been to Fayetteville. That town can't even begin to cope with the influx of people being brought in because of BRAC.

    If I had to venture a guess, you're just expressing frustration at how to handle growth. If we go back in time, we'd see the same frustration when the Oberlin Village Apartments were being built, which I drive past every single day.

    It isn't a nightmare. It barely even registers as a blip on my drive home.

    What I get tired of is the nattering nabobs of negativism .

  • lasm May 14, 2013

    to "whatelseisnew": AMEN! Especially your comments re North Hills & Crabtree. I still like CV; and maybe that's due to working near there for 20 years and going there every work day. However, it has changed so much; and the traffic is bad. Why in the world would "planners" consider making it worse?! Is this somehow a way to "look" as if they are doing something? Do they not have enough to do "correctly"? I have a job they can come and help me do-if they don't have enough constructive things to do...........
    To "dmccall": Again, a mouthful!
    "immaannoid":"Apparently, you don't have to be very bright to be a Raleigh Planner." So true, so true! Maybe we can put a traffic circle around them and keep them corralled until they prove themselves worthy of their position.....

  • IPayYouPay May 14, 2013

    Yeah, I see Cameron Village phasing out completely too, y'all.

  • IPayYouPay May 14, 2013

    To slow traffic, all you have do to is allow more people to just walk out into the street, like they're doing now. It seems more people think it's just downright okay to just walk out any time they want to. I do NOT go anywhere near Hillsborough street anymore due to the "walk/bike" friendly street now. It takes 20 minutes to get from the Oberlin Road intersection to Zaxby's on Hillsborough Street now. Cars are going to be banned pretty soon, and my knees just won't take it.

  • browneyedemily May 14, 2013

    To be fair, getting to and parking at North Hills and Southpoint shouldn't be a concern - neither of those are easier to get to than Cameron Village. The problem with Cameron Village is parking, and I don't know that removing lanes from Oberlin would help or hurt that.

  • cjw6105 May 14, 2013

    Hillsborough Street and Avent Ferry Road are good examples of what happens to main thoroughfares that have lanes removed for phantom bicycle riders.

    This has created a traffic bottleneck on outbound Avent Ferry just beyond the Gorman Street intersection and makes a more difficult entry onto Avent Ferry between there and Athens Drive.

    Hillsborough Street has had the roundabout and median added for cosmetics, and along with the lane reduction between the roundabout and Dan Allen Street, it has become a MUST to avoid.

    Downtown Raleigh's Fayetteville Street, which has parallel parking instead of diagonal parking, could nearly triple street parking availability with a return to its original design. But again, it's about looks instead of function.

    We need to find ways to get the bicycles off public streets. Using the sidewalks on one of two sides of major streets would be safer than what I saw on Tryon Road a few nights ago- a bicyclist with no lights or reflectors on Tryon Road.