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Sidewalks Focus of Raleigh's Pedestrian-Friendly Goal

Posted September 20, 2007

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— City officials are considering several proposals to make Raleigh more pedestrian-friendly.

"Raleigh is becoming more urban, and as we do that, we need to become more walkable so that not every trip is a trip by car. That's the way Raleigh used to be 50 or 60 years ago," Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Ideas being discussed include requiring sidewalks on both sides of the street in new developments and limiting developers that close sidewalks while they work.

"That's one thing we need to work on," Meeker said of closed sidewalks. "Quite often, (when) we have construction, we just close it on one side, and we walk on the other side. But maybe we need to put a covered sidewalk that is actually in front of the construction."

Development specialist Adrienne Schmitz, of the Urban Land Institute, spoke with city leaders Thursday night on the importance of creating a pedestrian-friendly environment.

"It's not about the pavement because nobody really cares if it's brick or concrete or whatever. It's about what's around the sidewalk, what they have to walk to," Schmitz said.

Empire Properties, for example, is developing The L Building at the intersection of Davie and McDowell streets downtown that hides a 1,000-space public parking garage behind retail space.

"When you're on the street, all you see is retail fronts on the ground floor and retail space above," said Andrew Stewart, of Empire Properties.

9 Comments

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  • aquamama Sep 21, 2007

    There's lots of free parking downtown. We don't need to increase the capacity of Falls Lake. The new water treatment plant is being built. A subway and sidewalks would be nice. Sidewalks, I don't see an issue with, except that there aren't enough. Subway- it's difficult to say where it could be put. Water tables are pretty high here. Also, tunneling is REALLY expensive (as I've mentioned many times before). Do the people of Raleigh really want to pay for this? I doubt it. The feds would require a large sum of money to be available from the state, county, and city (whoever agrees on the subway) before they'd cough up any cash. The convention center is primarily going to attract conferences and, get this, conventions from national organizations. You know, the kind that meets once a year in a different place every time. Raleigh's a great place. The convention center will help show it off.

  • rc4nc Sep 21, 2007

    I'm still boycotting the areas with the red-light cameras. Raleigh, Cary, Knightdale... not to forget the events that are advertised in downtown Raleigh, I won't forget about the exorbitant parking fees I incurred the last time. If they want to creat an attraction/convention center down town, they need to first establish free parking, yes, that would be "vehicle friendly" but do they think they will succeed if the only ones attending said events/convention center will be those within walking distance. I suppose we can expect no more.

  • enoughsaid Sep 21, 2007

    Steve crisp...........you the man!!

  • getrealpeople Sep 20, 2007

    It all takes $$$$$. Why do we need to increase the capapcity of Falls Lake? good luck getting that permit. It covers 12,000 acres. They are building a new water plant already so you can water your grass. drinking water for grass.

  • houdie1031 Sep 20, 2007

    I like the idea of having a city with sidewalks so we can walk to restaurants and work; We can sit out on our porches and balconies and watch the world go by. That is my dream for downtown Raleigh. I'm looking forward to downtown becoming more pedestrian, bike and bus friendly.

  • Fun Sep 20, 2007

    It's all about their legacy Steve, it's not what's best for the city, that not the objective. They would rather point to the civic center and say "look what I did" then a side walk or buses. Unless we put their pictures on the buses or have a Hollywood style sidewalk with their prints!

  • Rufus Akeem Williams Sep 20, 2007

    Oh Lordy, yes the sidewalks are uneven and cracking, yes the city doesn't care about pedestrians or motorists when it comes to new construction, yes the walk don't walk signs don't give pedestrians time to cross the street, yes the walk don't walk signs are not visible in the glare of the morning and evening sun. I will say the walk don't walk signs on that new street that use to be a walkway are nice.

  • drnc Sep 20, 2007

    Steve, you have my vote.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 20, 2007

    How about we make a concerted effort to curb and place sidewalks on both sides of all streets within 10 years? And add full storm sewers citywide - no ditches. And coordinated traffic lights. And increasing the capacity of Falls Lake and building another water treatment plant. And increasing the number and salary of police and fire personnel. And some really long range planning that involves a (gasp) subway system with integrated bus lines that actually function properly. How about thinking in terms of moving RDU so that it is not taking up prime land. And make the Dix property our new downtown while we're at it. Let's work with the state to move all those NCSU ag research farms a bit farther out as well. Can we please finish I-540?

    But wait, we'd rather have a convention center for a city that is not prime destination for anyone.

    It seems like as time goes on, our city leaders are forgetting more and more about the actual reasons we allow them to manage our city.