Local News

City leaders ponder more Hillsborough Street improvements

Posted May 5, 2008

— City leaders want to take a fresh look at one of the most talked about – and slowest – projects in the capital: the renovation of Hillsborough Street.

City Council members will debate creating a business-improvement district along Hillsborough Street at a meeting Tuesday.

"People recognize that we need to do something to improve the first impression of Raleigh," Councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin said.

More than 200 years ago, Hillsborough Street was built as a thoroughfare to the Capitol. It still serves as a gateway to Raleigh, through North Carolina State University.

However, the roadway's highlights include boarded-up buildings, overgrown grass and a maze of power lines.

"It's dirty. Some of the buildings are decrepit," Cup a Joe manager Kim Jones said.

The creation of a business-improvement district would allow property owners to make collective contributions to the maintenance and development of the area. Planners said it could help rejuvenate Hillsborough Street and get rid of some the empty storefronts.

"I think if the city makes its contribution, the private sector will come forward," Baldwin said.

The district would extend nearly 2½ miles from St. Mary's School, a block east of Morgan Street, to Meredith College, near the Interstate 440 Beltline.

Jones expressed some impatience with the pace of rejuvenation efforts by the city, saying conversations about improvements have been going on for nearly five years.

"I don't believe anything that they say they're going to do, because so many things have been said, and nothing's really been done," Jones said.

In October 2007, the City Council approved a street design for Hillsborough Street, including the construction of at least two roundabouts, adding more than 200 on-street parking spaces and burying power lines in a five-block area. The outlines for that plan were first proposed in 1999.

Despite her impatience, Jones said she hopes the city keeps up its efforts.

"It's never too late," she said.


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  • Fun May 6, 2008

    The Meeker plan for Raleigh traffic-- create congestion to justify light rail. What happen the millions in bond money to synchronize the stoplights?

  • PC is for Losers May 6, 2008

    Huh? Crisp are you suggesting the City take property from all the those home and business owners? You give us a free building after your suggestion and I'm for it!

    Please tell me you aren't talking about the Chapel Hill Franklin St. I would have a hard time seeing how "beautiful" could be used as a discriptor.

  • chivegas May 6, 2008

    "Franklin Street is BEAUTIFUL." I agree, Oakwood is really nice, but we're talking about Hillsborough St., not Oakwood.

  • foetine May 6, 2008

    I rarely go near Hillsborough Street because it is such a traffic nightmare. reducing it down to 2 lanes will only make it worse. I'll take Western and Wake to avoid the lights and jaywalkers. I never use Pullen road to avoid that foolish roundabout.

    Can NC State move any slower than their expansion on Centennial Campus? It's been 20 years since they started on that project. I remember Poulton with his giant map showing off how that place was going to be Epcot Jr. with everything except a roller coaster. And when i cut through there to hit the farmer's market, it seems only slightly used.

    weren't they supposed to convert the old truck yard into an expensive private dorm? There can't be a Glenwood South action on Hillsborough because half the free parking spaces they create will be taken over by night school students.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 6, 2008

    Only in Meekerville would the Mayor and City Council reduce the traffic lanes on a heavily traveled street.

    Where do they plan for the traffic to go once they implement this ridiculous plan.

  • atc2 May 6, 2008

    Franklin Street is BEAUTIFUL. This is the capital city, HillsborHOLE is laugable (the worst college street I have EVER seen). P.S. NO more Bricks, those sidewalks are ugly.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 6, 2008

    Has anyone considered what this will do to traffic on Wade Ave and Western Blvd? When Hills St goes from four lanes to two, with a lower speed limit, traffic counts will plummet. Where are those cars going to go? Can those roads handle the extra volume? How does this affect growth in the area and will this require widening or other improvements to those roads sooner than later? These are questions and costs that must be addressed. We need a comprehensive plan rather than another "throw money at it" quick fix.

    For the record, I use that stupid traffic circle on Pullen Dr daily and it does NOT help traffic flow. It works well when traffic is light, but is terrible when busy. Pedestrians cross at their own risk and too many drivers still cannot smoothly navigate it.

  • well wisher May 5, 2008

    Your right about paying to much in taxes, but our leaders in city council don't care about a rough road when they have a money pit to build downtown and trolleys to pay for. Your wants and needs are secondary to their desires.

  • APPMAN May 5, 2008

    Traffic circle or not, just pave the thing. You driven down it lately? It's like driving in a horse and carriage. I had friends in town and wanted to take them to Porter's, and they said they had never ridden on a road that was in such bad shape. I pay too much in taxes for this.

  • well wisher May 5, 2008

    I have an idea, lets support our police department who are underpaid and over worked so we're not robbed having a good time. The city has plenty of money for everything but the people who work for it. Russell Allen at his best. spend spend, spend.