Local News

Roundabout Plan for Hillsborough Street Stalled

Posted January 9, 2007

Hillsborough Street is one of Raleigh's most recognizable roads, and most observers agree that it's in desperate need of a makeover. After years of debate, however, a plan to make changes to the street has hit a roadblock.

“The plan is certainly stalled at present,” said Mayor Charles Meeker.

The plan to build several roundabouts on the street has been hotly debated by the Raleigh City Council for several months. The intent of the plan was to slow traffic, make the road safer and make the area more business-friendly.

However, Meeker said he only has four votes on the City Council to authorize the start of construction on the first phase. That's not enough to get the plan under way.

“I haven't been able to round up the fifth vote in the last four to five weeks, but there are still a couple (of council members) who are thinking about it,” Meeker said.

In the past, the council has debated the number of parking spots to create, as well as how pedestrian crossings and bus stops would impact traffic. Members have even talked about the width of sidewalks. Despite the discussion, though, council members have not formed a consensus on the overall plan.

Raleigh Planning Director Mitch Silver has backed off the roundabout proposal, saying there needs to be more of a comprehensive approach to revitalize the street.

“While they may approve the physical characteristics of the area, they may not do enough to catalyze or bring development to the street,” Silver said.

On Sunday, one of the traffic circles was marked off in chalk. Council members said they are trying to envision the plan in motion before final approval. Some members said they aren't sure the roundabouts are the way to go.

"My fear is we only do one roundabout and the city and street are forever impacted if we don't do the three to five to nine – or the ultimate plan was to do 11," said Councilman Philip Isley.

Council members said they hope to finally vote on the Hillsborough Street plan on Jan. 23.

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  • killerkestrel Jan 16, 2007

    As a traffic engineer, I think traffic circles are a useful tool, but only when used properly. They are useful when you have moderate traffic from more than two different directions. I lived there for four years, and the problem I see with Hillsborough is that the traffic might be too high in two of the directions, and too light in the other two directions for traffic circles. Also, traffic circles don't do a good job of interrupting traffic for pedestrians. One also wonders if these “improvements” would cause traffic to be pushed onto local residential streets. I’ve seen calls for two way streets and traffic calming to increase business in areas, but these ideas tend to make it harder to get to and from the location, which actually hurts business.

  • builder276 Jan 10, 2007

    yukonjohn3, been there, saw it, agree totally. Do we have to sit thru more of this city council stupidity.

  • yukonjohn3 Jan 9, 2007

    good thing it is stalled. If you want to see how well one works, go to Pinehurst on US 15/501 and see where it intersects with NC 22. The "traffic circle" is a nightmare!!

  • nascarnutnc Jan 9, 2007

    good, better it come to a halt than the traffic it would have halted