Local News

New project will make Hillsborough Street lively, pedestrian-friendly

Posted April 15, 2016

— A segment of Hillsborough Street between Rosemary and Gardner streets is getting a makeover to make it more pedestrian-friendly and increase its vibrancy.

The need for this remodel was spurred by the population growth Raleigh has seen in recent years. With the growth came dramatic changes in many parts of the city - especially in lively areas like Hillsborough Street.

Zarrin Alam, a senior at North Carolina State University, has seen a lot of those changes since she started school. "I really love it here - I come here all the time," she said.

Alam is talking about a segment of Hillsborough Street that's located closer to the university. A now-complete construction project has already turned that section of the street a destination for N.C. State students and nearby residents.

"The [redesigned section of Hillsborough Street] is vibrant and fun," said Julia Lee, a chairwoman of Wake Up Wake County, a group that promotes sustainable growth. She attributes this liveliness to the addition of roundabouts and a road redesign that slows drivers and makes the street more walkable for pedestrians.

"It's a great example of growth," she said. "It makes people much more aware of the pedestrians and the other people sharing the road with you."

Now, planners are hoping to bring that open, vibrant feel a little farther down the street.

Construction will start soon on a street segment near Zaxby's, College Beverage and the new Stanhope development - a portion of Hillsborough Street that Alam says isn't as inviting.

"I wouldn't want to go down there," she said.

Phase two of the Hillsborough Street revitalization project begins soon with the addition of roundabouts, raised medians and new streetscaping between Gardner and Rosemary. This part of the project could be finished by the fall of 2017, planners say.

Some say this re-design should be a model for growth in the rest of the city.

Lee says it's a good template for Raleigh's urban future. "If we plan for it well, we can accommodate this kind of growth," she said.

City livability tour

Saturday, Wake UP Wake County will host a guided tour of Hillsborough Street to show how the corridor is handling growth while preserving its history and the environment. Participants will be invited into businesses, residences and historic properties to learn how urban design and sustainable development come together to create community and quality of life.

Tickets can be purchased online for $25. Discounts are available to students.

Learn more about the time and meeting place on the event website.


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  • Fanny Chmelar Apr 18, 2016
    user avatar

    I know it's always said about everywhere in Raleigh: "revitalization" = "removing character, replace with generic character-stripping architecture".

    You could show someone a picture of parts of cities that preserved their character and they'll know what city it is. But show them a picture of, say, Cameron Village and they'd be completely stumped. They wouldn't have been 10 years ago. Heck, show an NC State alumni a picture of Hillsborough Street by campus and they'd not recognize much beyond the block that has Mitch's on it.

    Glenwood South is losing the charm of its older buildings that were named for, and hinted of, the city's past. Now: "let's build as tall as is possible and replace anything that has character with something shiny... and cheap".


  • Sean Creasy Apr 18, 2016
    user avatar

    Saturday, Wake UP Wake County will host a guided tour of Hillsborough Street to show how the corridor is handling growth while preserving its history and the environment.
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/new-project-will-make-hillsborough-street-lively-pedestrian-friendly/15644184/#GasEm1uTIKiAc2er.99... If they were really interested in "preserving" it's history they would have saved places like Sadlacks and The Brewery.. As it is now it's only a matter of time before NCSU petitions to have the name changed from Hillsborough St. to something else. Might I recommend Yuppietown Rd.

  • Thomas White Apr 18, 2016
    user avatar

    Unless you live on NCSU's campus or a student in the area the redesign is not beneficial to you.

    Due to the density of students in the area you have the pedestrian traffic that you will not find in other parts of the city. The idea of a walkable area will not work in most parts of the city or even outside the limited area around the bell tower and will be just another waste of time and money. Once you expand the area you need to bring in more businesses to continue the pedestrian attraction to the larger area, but with that comes rents that only national chains can afford.

  • Hessian Diesel Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    REALLY? I grew up in Europe and drove on streets in (former) East Germany that were better than in and around Raleigh. How about basic road repair and upkeep first?

  • Roy Jones Apr 15, 2016
    user avatar

    What about a raise for the city workers, the city has forgot who maintains the city and they are hungry its been a long time from 2008 and no most do not make $15.00 an hour