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Downtown Raleigh residents decry loitering, panhandling, 'riff-raff'

Posted August 21, 2012

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— Business owners and residents in the Moore Square area met with the City of Raleigh on Tuesday, trying to come up with ways to address loitering, panhandling and bus congestion in the Moore Square District.

The area of South Wilmington Street between East Hargett and East Martin streets has been bustling with new shops, restaurants and bars, but there have been growing pains, especially around the Moore Square Transit Station.

“I love downtown Raleigh. It’s a thriving growing area of Raleigh,” said David Fowle, owner of Wilmoore Café. “But what you have is a little bit of what I call ‘riff-raff’ that sneaks in with it and hangs out.”

Fowle says buses back up in front his business on Wilmington Street during rush hour, making for dangerous, congested situations. Riders getting off at Moore Square Transit Station walk through the Wilmoore courtyard to transfer to those backed-up buses.

Raleigh transit administrator David Eatman says it's a complicated issue with a lot of factors. “I think the most important thing to realize is that it’s just a lot of activity happening in a very small space,” he said.

Raleigh leaders eye bus route changes to ease Moore Square concerns Raleigh bus changes coming to ease Moore Square concerns

Changes to help ease bus congestion are coming, according to Eatman, who says the city plans to juggle some of the bus stops along Wilmington Street. The city also plans to renovate the Moore Square Transit Station in the coming months and possibly add more downtown bus capacity with the planned Union Station project.

Eatman says there are challenges, but they're not necessarily bad. “If we weren't dealing with these issues, that means there's not anything going on,” he said.

As downtown grows, everyone needs to come together to do more, according to Fowle. “We're trying to make downtown better. That's all it is. It's one component,” he said.

City officials said they would take suggestions from Tuesday’s meeting to come up with a broader plan to address problems. The proposed bus route changes would affect the R-Line Downtown Circulator. It would move the stop down the street and add three more stops to the daytime route. The Raleigh City Council will consider the plan at next month's meeting.

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  • sunneyone2 Aug 22, 2012

    I work for a non-profit, I don't have $100 bills to hand out. But you don't have to hand out $100 bills, you just have to have a little compassion.

  • sunneyone2 Aug 22, 2012

    They're there by choice? Are you mad? Most people are about 2 paychecks away from losing EVERYTHING.

    Those food kitchens, shelters and the bus terminal were there before these businesses opened, so these business owners were aware when they moved in.

    Sorry, but you have to share the city with all citizens. And someone shouldn't have to spend money to enjoy downtown. Saying you can't go downtown if you're not going to buy something is ridiculous.

  • Z Man Aug 22, 2012

    sunneyone2 - Yes, riff raff. I won't go near Moore square because of the riff raff. If you are so compassionate, why aren't you there handing out $100 bills?

  • cwood3 Aug 22, 2012

    Your mayor could care less-they are all voters for her!!

  • sunneyone2 Aug 22, 2012

    Riff raff? Bad element? So poor and homeless people are riff raff now? So sorry they're too poor to drive or have a roof over their heads. So sorry their presence is such an inconvenience to you.
    Ridiculous.

  • Moose is loose Aug 22, 2012

    Awwwww, EatMan, I bet you came from north of the Mason Dixon line wanting everyone to change for you too.. Did you not study Raleigh and know what was going on here before you opened a business on Wilmington Street? The old Raleigh Sandwich Shop, Cooper's BBQ and the Dombolis' restaurants never complained. So you want everyone in Raleigh to change for you, and you called a meeting on it. Why don't you feed some of those homeless and try doing what's right some time, or hit I95 NorthBound.

  • Frank Downtown Aug 22, 2012

    Awww. So you move into an area and then you expect everyone to change for you? Ha! This is as stupid as the guy who moved into the Quorum then complained about the trains that he should have clearly noticed before he moved! Next people are going to move in next to the airport then begin to expect the air port to move for them!

  • passport423 Aug 22, 2012

    Not all people claiming homelessness are homeless. There is a lady who stands at the top of the exit ramp of 40/54 (Chapel Hill) Highway. I used to give money to her til someone said you can tell who is really homeless because they won't have clean, ironed clothes. A few days later, I saw a black SUV stop on 54 and wait for her to get in. A young woman was driving. Made me think her daughter just dropped her off "at work" everyday and then came back later to pick her up. Just saw her on the Airport Blvd the other day so it looks like she moves around. I'm not saying I won't give again, but I will look for certain signs that the person is truly needy.

  • commonsense4 Aug 22, 2012

    "Feel free to disagree. But I can tell you definitely that the downtown district of Durham near the ballfield and DPAC has a much lower crime rate statistically then the Moore Square area of Raleigh. In fact the crime rate of this area in Durham is 1/12th of the Moore area of Raleigh. Feel free to contact the police departments to get exact figures for comparison."

    All I have to do is look at the crime maps and I can see you are wrong. And everywhere around DPAC has so many crimes.

  • jjordan231179 Aug 22, 2012

    "I sat beside a panhandler in Moore Square one day and he showed me how much money he received from everyone who gave him any change. I timed his efforts and found he was making over $100 an hour. Not bad wages. He said this was his job and he only worked an average of an hour a day. He was not an addict, nor did he drink. As long as people continue to give their hard earned money away there will continue to be panhandlers."

    Even if he got all quarters thats 25 pounds in change. LOL riiiiiiiiiight

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