RALEIGH — One of Raleigh's signature streets has become a dangerous place for pedestrians over the years. Some community leaders have a plan to make Hillsborough Street safer and more inviting.
"We just really hope that Hillsborough Street is a place where people will walk, have dinner, buy a book, go shopping," says Nina Szlosberg, of the Hillsborough Street Partnership's vision.
The partnership, a group of residents and merchants, is working to make the signature street safer for those behind the wheel and more inviting for those on foot.
"Our plan, which will incorporate medians and roundabouts, will reduce accidents anywhere from 80 to 100 percent at intersections. It will save lives," says Szlosberg.
The plan is to reduce traffic to two lanes on Hillsborough Street. Roundabouts, like the one at Pullen and Stinson, would be built at busy intersections on and along Hillsborough Street. The idea is to make the area walkable for pedestrians and patrons of local businesses.
"The clientele has changed here drastically, even in the three years we've been here," says Kevin Jennings.
Jennings and his wife, Stacey, run an upscale bistro on Hillsborough Street -- an area long thought of as stomping grounds for N.C. State University students.
The Jennings believe the plan to improve traffic and add parking will draw more customers from nearby neighborhoods.
"We have the inside the beltline crowd that everybody dreams of and wishes for, and they're coming down to Hillsborough Street," says Jennings.
The Hillsborough Street Partnership will present its plan to the city council next month.
The partnership hopes to finish the first phase of the project next year. The entire project would happen over the next four or five years.