Local News

Raleigh seeks public input for downtown revamp

Posted April 21, 2014

— City officials are considering various options to update downtown Raleigh, but they want to add ideas from area residents to the mix before drafting a final plan.

Raleigh's last downtown plan was adopted 10 years ago and included recommendations such as reopening Fayetteville Street to traffic, building a convention center and creating a plaza area.

Planning Director Mitch Silver said the city spent $225 million on such projects, and that has led to nearly $3 billion in private capital invested downtown, from restaurants to condominium projects to office buildings.

"Everything you see (downtown) is a result of that plan," Silver said Monday. "But it’s done, and now we’re ready for the next 10 years."

A new 10-year plan will focus on such ideas as connecting different parts of the city, revamping the warehouse district, where the new Union Station transit hub will be located, and redeveloping sites near the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, he said.

"In terms of what we’re looking at, it’s wide open," he said.

Raleigh leaders also would like to see a water feature downtown, and Silver said more people living in the city's center will increase the need for nearby parks and other open spaces.

"We’re looking at more things to make street life more energetic," he said. "Looking to have a more family-friendly downtown is a priority."

Kristen Rietkirk, a Pinehurst resident who often visits Raleigh with her two children, said she would like to see more space to walk downtown without having to fight traffic.

"I think what Raleigh is missing is an opportunity for more families to just hang out and enjoy being downtown," Rietkirk said. "More spaces where kids could play in fountains, opportunities for kids to interact with art (are) always good."

Restaurateur Van Nolintha, who opened Bida Manda near Moore Square two years ago, said downtown needs more resources for people who live downtown so they don't have to leave the area.

"I think we’re a product of a vibrant downtown in general," Norlintha said of the success of his Laotian restaurant. "I think we’ve come a long, long way and everyone is proud of Raleigh, but we have a long way to go."

The downtown area needs to evolve to maintain an edge, Silver said, noting that it can act as an engine to Raleigh's continued growth and prosperity.

"Downtowns are the new golf courses of the 21st century. This is now where deals get done. This is where people meet up, make connections and start a business," he said.

Public hearings on the next downtown plan will be held May 21-22, and the city also is accepting ideas online. City officials hope to adopt a final plan by the end of the year, meaning some of the recommended projects could get underway within two years.


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  • Return of... Apr 23, 2014

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    parking is free after a certain time. I get the feeling you just dont want to walk a few blocks

  • Tim Orr Apr 22, 2014
    user avatar

    Parking is the main concern. Then put Fayetteville street back as a pedestrian area complete with the pond we used to put our toy boats in with our kids.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 22, 2014

    I will not go down there until I do not have to be robbed to park my vehicle.

  • CaptLucy Apr 22, 2014

    predatory parking? there are places to park and there are places you shouldnt park. people most of the time know when they park where they shouldnt. dont blame a tow truck driver for ones lack of good judgement. passing the blame. grow up.

  • rduwxboy Apr 22, 2014

    Send the city planners to Downtown Greenville SC. It's like New York with pedestrian traffic weekdays, weeknights, and weekends. A lot of different and unique shops, activities, but they also have a Publix grocery store downtown with parking above it, and other national retail chains to add to the mix, a baseball stadium, a coliseum, and lots of hotels.

  • Bill Brasky Apr 22, 2014

    I had a friend that was a victim of preditor towing. He parked in the restaurant parking lot on Hillsborough St, ate at the restaurant, than made the mistake of using the bathroom there. In the mean time the tow truck driver entered the establishment, asked who's car it was and since no one answered, proceeded to tow it away.

    Never got his money back.

    For revenge they call the tow truck company regularly to ask for a tow...and makes sure the nonexisting broken down car is at least 40+ miles away from the current location of the tow truck. Guess he got the last laugh.

  • Michael Lashley Apr 22, 2014
    user avatar

    Belk was downtown until '95 or '96...perhaps they or another department store would be willing to return...

  • Greg Boop Apr 22, 2014
    user avatar

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    Maybe you need to research the history of towing in Raleigh, and the business connections that Raleigh council members have with towing businesses.

    The towing in Raleigh is a story of being illegally towed in an abusive manner with obscene fees to retrieve your vehicle. This normally occurs when the vehicle owner is not improperly parked on private property - or is a patron of the associated business. However due to the families of Raleigh council members making huge money from these towing business - the police would never properly enforce the rules on the towing companies.

    I am just one of many people who will NEVER go to downtown Raleigh until this problem is fixed. I will note that downtown Durham does not have this issue - plus Durham has a much nicer revitalized downtown.

    Keep in mind that Raleigh still ranks as one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. for predatory towing.

  • archmaker Apr 22, 2014

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    you do realize that Memorial Auditorium was renovated and expanded in 2001? It has no problems getting traveling performances and seats nearly as much as DPAC.

  • Larry Wiandt Apr 22, 2014
    user avatar

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    I've always found it interesting that people consider being towed from private property as "Predatory Towing". I bet those people would think differently if I parked in their yard every night.