Raleigh street redesign to revive downtown 'dead zone'
Posted July 22, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh is always buzzing with cars and people. But a couple of blocks away on Harrington Street, there’s not much going on.
“We call it kind of the dead zone of Glenwood South,” said Jim Belt, who leads a citizen’s group called Downtown Living Advocates. “(It’s a) five-minute walk to Glenwood South, a five-minute walk to some of the biggest employment areas with the government buildings in the capital district, and yet nothing has happened here in the last 10 years.”
That could soon change.
The state and city are working on a plan to replace the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street. City planners approved an interchange design that could bring the north side of downtown into the development boom.
“What's driving us is looking at extending the downtown development pattern up to Peace Street, so we need a transportation system that facilitates that type of pattern and growth,” said Eric Lamb, a transportation engineer with the City of Raleigh.
The "square loop" design would integrate the ramps into the downtown street grid. For example, traffic on southbound Capital Boulevard trying to get to Peace Street would turn onto Johnson Street, then Harrington.
Peace Street will get two new traffic signals at intersections on either side of the Capital Boulevard bridge.
The design will connect with the Peace Street streetscape plan, which will bring bike lanes and wider sidewalks. It also will work with the city's plan to redesign the Capital Boulevard corridor just north of downtown.
The city and the state Department of Transportation are working on final design ideas, including a bridge that will be attractive for 50 or 60 years.
Belt said the changes should bring life to the dead zone.
“It will create a redevelopment opportunity for those who have bought up this property and are just waiting,” he said.