Raleigh council re-thinks race routes after resident complaints
Posted May 30, 2014
Updated July 8, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A decade ago, city leaders in Raleigh had to beg event organizers to come to the Capital City.
That’s not the case now.
Raleigh has become a destination for major road races – such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon that drew more than 10,000 runners April and this Sunday’s IronMan Triathlon – and the city is experiencing some growing pains.
City Council members said they are receiving complaints from residents in the Cameron Village, Hillsborough Street and historic Oakwood neighborhoods who are inconvenienced by the numerous road closures on race days.
“Certain neighborhoods, it feels like every other week their street is shut down,” said City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who chairs a committee that hears many of the complaints.
The city earlier this year capped the number of road races at 100 each year. Now, council members are exploring other possibilities.
“What we're trying to do now is move some of the races to different parts of the city,” Baldwin said. “Spread the wealth a little bit.”
The city also is creating an event management office to handle everything from logistics to neighborhood notification. That office launches in July, and officials hope it will help ease the burden on some downtown neighborhoods.
Organizers of the Ironman Triathlon, which will shut down parts of Hillsborough Street this weekend, say getting the word out to the public is key.
“It entails a lot of mailers and emails and passing out fliers, electronic messaging boards on the roads – alerting everybody we can that we’re coming,” race director Brain Myrick said.
Josh Conger, a runner, said the road closures are a short-lived inconvenience.
“It know it’s probably a burden for a lot of folks living on Hillsborough Street because it’s closed down for a couple of hours, but there’s other roads to get around,” he said.
Streets closed for Ironman event
Raleigh police and other law enforcement agencies will shut down several streets during the Ironman triathalon Sunday:
- Inbound traffic on Dawson Street will be detoured to Jones Street. Drivers can access the southern part of the city by using North Bloodworth Street to Martin Luther King Boulevard.
- Dawson Street will be closed from Jones Street to Morgan Street, but will be open from Morgan Street to Lenoir Street.
- One lane of Wilmington Street will be open from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Edenton Street. All Edenton Street traffic will be directed to turn north on Harrington and West streets where drivers can access Peace Street and Capital Boulevard and the northern, eastern and western parts of the city.
- The lanes going west on Edenton Street will be open to vehicular traffic and will be reduced to one lane beginning at Edenton/Person Street to West Street, where traffic will be detoured north on West Street.
- Motorist will have access to the western part of the city by using Peace Street.
- Lake Wheeler Road at Tryon Road will be closed between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to vehicles heading north.
- Eastbound Tryon Road vehicular traffic will be able to make either a right turn south onto Lake Wheeler Road or a U-turn at the intersection. Message boards will be placed on Tryon Road prior to the Lake Wheeler Road intersection.
- The Interstate 40 West exit ramp at Lake Wheeler Road is open to Farmers Market traffic. Motorists will be able to turn into Centennial Drive. However, the inside lane will be coned off from the exit ramp to Centennial Drive.
Cars will not be allowed to cross the race route during the event. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Western Boulevard, Peace Street and Wilmington Street will remain open.