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Neighbors express concern over frequent Raleigh road races

Posted May 24, 2009

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— Road races through downtown Raleigh happen nearly year-round. As runners and walkers lace up, many times for a good cause, the race can also cause headaches for people living along the route.

Neighbors say more race notice needed Neighbors say more race notice needed

Pam Wilson lives along a popular race route.  She says she often feels trapped in her neighborhood due to heavy foot traffic through downtown Raleigh.

“I had two Saturday meetings with a non-profit organization and I literally couldn't get there,” Wilson said.

Whether it is a marathon or a mile, many races use the same streets, like Hillsborough Street. They can be shut down for hours at a time. Many people in the area say they don't get any notice, and they don't know how to avoid the foot traffic.

“You don't know how to get out, and you keep going in circles trying to get around the race,” Wilson said.

Raleigh City Council is hearing complaints from some residents. No one disputes these road races are important, to raise money for charity and to bring money into the area, but residents say they want more notice.

“People, just not in Raleigh, run in these races with people outside the city, so it brings visitors in. But we need to be able to find a very good compromise in this situation,” Councilmen Thomas Crowder said.

That compromise has its challenges. For instance, some say why not just rotate the race routes. The problem is there are a lot of hills in Raleigh, and that is not always good for runners and walkers.

“I think the most important thing is that we make sure we communicate with the public, (and) neighborhoods know when the routes are going to take place. And more importantly, where are the detour routes,” Crowder said.

Wilson said that would work for her.

“Just tell me where to go. I can't go this way that's fine, just tell me how to get around,” she said.

Council members have directed City Manager Russell Allen to gather some suggestions on how to make the road race situation easier. They plan to discuss possible solutions at their next meeting.

19 Comments

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  • thought May 25, 6:02 p.m.

    I had this problem once- I did not know they had a race every year- I tried to get out - but there was no way out- when I asked the cop how to get out- he said I was stuck for the next hour and a half- when I asked why there was no notice he told me to go sit in my car- next thing I knew I had another cop there asking what my problem was - I explained I never heard of a race and there was no noticed- he then looked around to see about 25 people trying to get out- he was nice and stopped the race- the runners yelled at the police for stopping them- people need to think when they plan things.

  • Axtel May 25, 5:46 p.m.

    anewsjunkie,

    I agree with you 100%. What whiners! Say, Where do you live? I would like to suggest to them they route a race through your neighborhood. I'll show up! Thanks for your support!

  • foetine May 25, 5:02 p.m.

    while the company that owns the N&O is based in California. The newspaper itself is mostly controlled through the Charlotte Observer. They're combined staff and outsourced so much of the elements. It's not a community paper anymore. You can always find a parking spot in front of the N&O building. It's only a matter of time before it gets turned into a bar like The Raleigh Times.

    Was Jayson Williams in town for a charity run through downtown Raleigh?

  • anewsjunkie May 25, 3:55 p.m.

    Give me a break... if it's a problem for you, then move.

  • wa4mjf May 25, 2:40 p.m.

    The N&O is based in Sacramento, CA, not Charlotte. McClatchy owns the paper in Charlotte, too.

  • foetine May 25, 2:24 p.m.

    well at least they're not whining about the trains being too noisy.

    The city should have a list of closed roads posted on the website so people can plan accordingly. That should be an easy fix on that level.

    I'd say that the city should post these warnings in the N&O, but who reads that Charlotte based newspaper?

  • formosan80 May 25, 1:16 p.m.

    Great story. I have written the city complaining about the failure to receive notice. I just moved because of this reason. I used to live north of Hillsborough Street and it seemed that two weekends each month my street would be closed and I could not leave to do errands (I only have one day off). I asked the city to give notice and allow people affected to cross roads when safe or to use different parts of the city. It could help revitalize certain neighborhoods to have races through them.

  • wa4mjf May 25, 12:55 p.m.

    I not a racer, but it would seem to me that hills would add more of a challenge to the event.

  • Deep Thought May 25, 12:51 p.m.

    I live in Durham and my problem is bike races. I live in a sharp curve so getting our of my driveway is always a challenge (and no, the police don't care that this 35 MPH road is a race track)

    The only warning I have is when I see that someone has spray painted different color arrows on the pavement or hung arrow signs on the speed limit sign.

    If I hit one of them coming out of my drive I might as well go ahead and tranfer the deed to my house to the biker's family.

  • tamiya_stars May 25, 12:18 p.m.

    Good story, if you have tried to get across Raleigh especially in the NC State area during one of these races you know how they literally shut down all routes. The people working the race are no help and act like you have no right to want to get by.

    This is a major problem. Why do we even spend millions of dollars for parks like Umstead for these activities if they are not going to be used????

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