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End of construction raises hopes for Hillsborough Street businesses

Posted August 15, 2010

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— Hillsborough Street business owners hope their cash flow picks up as a yearlong construction wraps up and students return to campus.

Businesses have been coping with the chaos of construction since May 2009 when crews began a $9 million project to transform the four-lane street in the heart of North Carolina State University's campus into two-lane avenue with on-street parking.

"When school is gone, plus the construction, it was really bad," said Fredy Alvarez, manager of the El Rodeo Mexican restaurant.

El Rodeo has been losing money for months and nearly closed for good, but the return of students this weekend boosted business, he said.

"Yesterday was the busiest day that we have had in the last year and seven months," Alvarez said.

Hillsborough Street businesses glad to see construction go Hillsborough Street businesses glad to see construction go

Wing Zone owner Joy Morrison said the road construction discouraged traffic along Hillsborough Street and reduced the restaurant's visibility.

"Before when we had all the construction and stuff, a lot of people couldn't see us," she said. "But now it is pretty wonderful."

Morrison said she's counting on more business since the construction is nearly complete, much of it ahead of schedule. She has hired seven new employees for the restaurant.

A few new businesses have already opened along Hillsborough Street.

A community celebration called "Live It Up on Hillsborough Street" will be held Sept. 25 to celebrate the completion of the redesign and construction.


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  • iworkandpaytaxes Aug 17, 2010

    We have some crying and complaining people in Raleigh. Just move!!!

  • SaveEnergyMan Aug 16, 2010

    The two lane roundabouts are just plain stupid. People here don't understand them and by the time you've figured it out, you're through it or you've run into someone. Although regulars will eventually figure it out, it's always the newbies that are the problem. Same thing with the one lane circle on Pullen at the NCSU north campus entrance. Still see people who can't navigate the stupid thing.

    While the new street looks nice (burying the utilities was nice), the street no longer serves its initial role as throughway to the downtown area. This traffic now has to go to Western or Wade Ave. Who will add the third lanes to these roads to handle the new traffic? If not needed now, it will be in the near future. That cost was not figured in, I'll bet. This is the problem with Meeker's bunch - make it pretty and less functional, someone else will pay to fix it later.

  • Thor Aug 16, 2010

    Business slowed down because these places sucked to begin with. I will go out of my way to get to a great place to eat, but to haggle with the nonsense on Hillsborough St, no thanks. The only reason business is picking up is because of the convenience for the students to eat at these garbage places strown about on Hillsborough St.

  • town guy Aug 16, 2010

    This is a huge improvement to a busy street. The roundabout just down Pullen Road was likewise a tremendous leap forward in getting traffic from/to the campus. Next - a roundabout a Five Points!

  • Bendal1 Aug 16, 2010


    When this "improvement" was proposed, the Hillsborough Street business owners were for the most part all in favor of it. They liked the on-street parking, the lower speeds, the improved pedestrian access, and ignored one major point:

    The project would lower vehicular traffic on Hillsborough Street. NCSU wanted it's own "Franklin Street", and they got it, at the expense of west Raleigh's traffic flow patterns.

  • IAMAmerican Aug 16, 2010

    Hillsborough St. is still one of the ugliest streets in Raleigh, run down shops, buildings,etc. They need to do something to revitalize the area. Putting a roundabout near NCSU, huuummmmm!!!!!

  • aspenstreet1717 Aug 16, 2010

    Yet another huge waste of money.

  • research9 Aug 16, 2010

    And when the business owner said "reduced traffic" I'm almost positive they were referring to business traffic (ie. customers) and not vehicle traffic.

  • research9 Aug 16, 2010

    Seriously, people can't figure out a 2-lane roundabout? It's really not that difficult and I have yet to encounter anyone when I enter it that doesn't understand how it works.
    Traffic on Hillsborough was largely caused by the confusion of when you could park on the street and when you couldn't. One side was two lanes until nighttime when you could park on the street and it became one lane, which everyone forgot and got over at the last minute and caused backups.

  • Frank Downtown Aug 16, 2010

    It looks great and should help with the traffic issues. Hopefully, it will discorage people from using it as a race car alley throughfare!