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Businesses Hope to Reap Benefits of Raleigh Wide Open

Posted July 20, 2007

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— One year ago, historic Fayetteville Street in Raleigh re-opened to vehicles for the first time in 30 years. Tens of thousands of people jammed the street for the huge celebration.

The anniversary comes on the eve of Saturday’s “Raleigh Wide Open” celebration. Businesses on Fayetteville Street should reap the benefits, but owners WRAL spoke with had varying opinions about the changes.

“We do a good business downtown, and it’s going to be a great business once everything opens up,” said Harvey Yancy, of Yancy’s Jazz.

Most business owners reported improved sales over last year. But some said it would be hard not to improve.

“It was literally like you were in jail for 18 months. We came here every day for almost two years not being able to anything but stare at a fence,” said Danny Nesrallah, of America’s Pita and Grille.

Now, there is more traffic, which means parking is at a premium. One restaurant owner said she has gotten close to $360 in parking tickets on Fayetteville Street alone in the past year.

“Well, there certainly is not enough parking on the street in front of the restaurants. That’s true,” said Mayor Charles Meeker. “But we so have seven or eight parking decks downtown with 5,000 spaces, and there are plenty of spaces there.”

Last year, about 70,000 people turned out for Raleigh Wide Open. Since then, more than 20 private projects have either been planned, begun construction or finished construction. That represents more than $870 million.

“I’m a firm believer of downtown, especially this town,” Yancy said. “I call it a sleeping giant.”

The 100 to 400 blocks were closed to downtown Raleigh traffic at 6 p.m. Friday. The sections of Hargett, Martin and Davie - where they cross Fayetteville Street – also closed. Everything should re-open at 4 a.m. Sunday morning after cleanup is complete.


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  • nowayebby Jul 22, 2007

    still have not gone to that gauntlet, have no intentions of ever going downtown.

  • Mo Jul 21, 2007

    Has anyone not yet realized that parking in the decks is free on nights and weekends?

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jul 21, 2007

    We celebrate the boondoggle of the investments made in Fayetteville Street and the Convention Center. The money flushed down these rat holes could be better used elsewhere.

  • Michael Kenyon Jul 21, 2007

    "I thought that closing Fayetteville Street was a huge mistake back then. I am delighted that it has reopened. "

    I don't object to it being re-opened. I just think it's a perfect example of how politics never change. I would love to condsider downtown as a top choice for entertainment. But parking is such a pain.

    On the block with Clyde Cooper's, there are several areas that say no parking because of a driveway that can't be used because the entire area behind Cooper's is being developed. And, even though there is no way you'd block any traffic, if you park there the park-stop-o will be sure to have you towed or write you a ticket. Having to walk several blocks (I know, it's good for me - but 1 block would be good for me too) just makes it inconvenient unless there is something I really want to do. Like Clyde Cooper's.

  • tbfromnc Jul 21, 2007

    I have lived in Raleigh almost 60 years. I thought that closing Fayetteville Street was a huge mistake back then. I am delighted that it has reopened. Still on the downside, there's not enough free parking. I will not go down there as long as I have to pay to park. With all the outlying shopping centers and restaurants with free parking why should anyone want to subject themselves to the hassles of trying to find someplace to park.
    Just my usual nickles worth.

  • FloydRTurbo Jul 21, 2007

    "I call it a sleeping giant.”

    NOOOOO .... Not the "sleeping giant" cliche. Anything but THAT ONE! Wasn't that from Jack & The Beanstalk and if the giant did indeed awake he would eat Jack ??? ..... Run Jack Run!

    Besides, I thought UNC Football was "the sleeping giant". Are all giants asleep. Maybe giants are like dogs .... let sleeping ones "lie"

  • weasleyes Jul 20, 2007

    Photo: When I worked downtown, I bought many good hot dogs from that lady. I believe that it is called "Danny's." Simple solution: Make ALL parking free during these events.

  • Michael Kenyon Jul 20, 2007

    Let's see. They OPENED Fayettville St to benefit the businesses. Now they're going to close it again for a day so hopefully they can make a little money.

    I still like last year how the first thing they did after opening* up Fayetteville St was close it for a party.

    * If you've been here long enough you'll remember how 30 years or so ago they turned Fayetteville St into a mall because it wouldn't draw any traffic when it was open to cars. The only way to "save" downtown was to close it and turn it into a mall.