Local News

Planners put pedestrian bridge on wish list for Western Boulevard

Posted November 13, 2012
Updated November 14, 2012

Western Boulevard is a major headache for North Carolina State University students trying to cross it at Avent Ferry Road. Now, campus officials are asking state transportation planners to consider building a pedestrian bridge or tunnel across the corridor, which bisects the campus, housing and shopping.

— Western Boulevard is a major headache for North Carolina State University students trying to cross it at Avent Ferry Road.

Now, campus officials are asking state transportation planners to consider building a pedestrian bridge or tunnel across the corridor, which bisects the campus, housing and shopping.

“I think a lot of people don't realize they're supposed to yield to the pedestrians,” N.C. State senior Parker Johnson said. “Sometimes it's quite scary.”

The busy intersection is complex for both pedestrians and motorists. Once those on foot get the “walk” signal, they must cross two through-lanes and a couple of turn lanes. Then they typically wait at a traffic island in the center of Western Boulevard, hit a button and wait for the signal to cross the other half of the road.

“It’s a lot of lanes to cross,” Johnson said. “Standing there in the middle, sometimes traffic's coming by at 55 mph.”

Brian O’Sullivan, transportation planner for the university, said a tunnel or pedestrian bridge could be a safe solution.

“It’s a busy place, and I don't see it ever changing,” O’Sullivan said. “As Centennial Campus grows, as apartment units grow down at the Avent Ferry complex, there's going to be a lot more movement of people.” Planners put pedestrian bridge on wish list for Western Boulevard Planners put pedestrian bridge on wish list for Western Boulevard

Many students said they would welcome anything that would make the trip across Western Boulevard less dicey.

“I think it's a great idea,” senior Brittany Anstead said. “It would make me feel more comfortable. If it would make me feel more comfortable, it would probably make other students (as well).”

O'Sullivan says planners are studying many possibilities as part of an overall look at Western Boulevard between Pullen Park Drive and Gorman Street. Learn more about the project online.

29 Comments

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  • chrisnrali Nov 15, 9:27 a.m.

    Ilovedowntownraleigh, stop it with the whiny unequal liberal childishness. If there were a bridge put up in southern Raleigh, the planners, you and I all know what would happen. It would get tagged DAILY, people who don't work would cross it to get their smokes and groceries with ebt cards we pay for and most certainly be a drug trafficking highway, I've had people buy NON food stuff with them all the time. If south raleigh wants more money and services they need to stop throwing trash everywhere, they possess trash cans just like north Raleigh. I've seen lazy good for nothings throw trash on the ground within feet of a trash can that wasn't full yet out of pure entitled laziness. BTW it's named SOUTH Saunders st., They named it SOUTH Saunders st because it was SOUTH of Raleigh not because it's direction. There is NO NORTH Saunders st. Both directions are called SOUTH Saunders st. Consult a map.

  • mattcli Nov 14, 7:58 p.m.

    Unless Google Maps is wrong, neither road is carrying a state highway at that point so this seems to be a local issue rather than a state one.

  • Pepe Silvia Nov 14, 4:34 p.m.

    Save the $$$$...use brains....set the lights up like they do in "smart" cities - RED lights in all directions (NO turns allowed when RED) and crosswalks GREEN at the same time (including diagonal crosswalk)....very successful, efficient and the $$ can be used on something really needed.
    tired2

    great idea!

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Nov 14, 4:18 p.m.

    A complicated crossing no doubt - but according to the article, they at least have crosswalks and walk-don't walk signals.

    Over here in south Raleigh, we have 2 miles of 9-lane traffic, on a road called Saunders and Wilmington, and you can be sure that 55 mph is common. What we don't have is a single crosswalk ANYWHERE on Saunders-Wilmington/401 from I-40 south to Garner, Clayton, or Fuquay-Varina. So you can imagine how I feel when I read about skybridges at Crabtree, and pedestrian bridges over Western. I see unequal distribution of funds, and heavily populated areas without even sidewalks or crosswalks, all in a city with a pedestrian-friendly rating of 36 out of 50 large American cities.

  • tired2 Nov 14, 3:47 p.m.

    Save the $$$$...use brains....set the lights up like they do in "smart" cities - RED lights in all directions (NO turns allowed when RED) and crosswalks GREEN at the same time (including diagonal crosswalk)....very successful, efficient and the $$ can be used on something really needed.

  • nomorethanthat Nov 14, 12:12 p.m.

    If this bridge/tunnel is so important for student safety, then have NCSU build and pay for it using the money garnered from its sports program and its boosters after all dodging traffic while crossing Western Blvd is a sport.

  • archmaker Nov 14, 11:04 a.m.

    the problem is that ncsu has sprawled like a town into the suburbs. all of their growth is crossing a major traffic throughfare instead of staying urban at their historic core.

    heck, if basketball actually lives up to its hype this year and ncsu wins something other than bass fishing, i'll bet the students couldn't even find hillsborough street to celebrate.

  • JustAName Nov 14, 9:34 a.m.

    "A tunnel makes sense based on grade, but would be more expensive." - SaveEnergyMan

    Well, if they are going to blow a wad of cash, do it right. At least a concrete tunnel won't rust.

  • I Carry even in Cary Nov 14, 9:13 a.m.

    I hate spending money but this one makes sense to do...tunnels are expensive but not out of the realm of possiblity....but whoever said it would take only a summer is sorely mistaken.

  • dlnorri Nov 14, 9:01 a.m.

    an idea that is 25years behind it's time. A much better use of money (dot) than tourist museams in Podunk....

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