Local News

Workshop to provide details on Glenwood 'superstreet'

Posted December 6, 2012

— North Carolina Department of Transportation officials will be on hand Thursday at a public workshop designed to provide details about the "superstreet" proposal aimed at easing traffic on the busiest section of Raleigh's Glenwood Avenue.

The workshop will be held at the Elks Lodge on Lead Mine Road from 4 to 7 p.m.

Under a current proposal, the four lane stretch of Glenwood between Duraleigh Road and Interstate 540 would be transformed by eliminating the need for drivers on side streets to wait for traffic lights in order to cross Glenwood. 

Instead, those drivers would turn right onto Glenwood, make a U-turn and then turn right again to continue onto a desired side street. 

DOT engineer Jim Dunlop, who has been working on the project, said Tuesday that removing complex traffic signals at intersections would keep vehicles moving on Glenwood and cost less than adding lanes.

“If we can open up those signals, we gain back that capacity without having to do a lot of construction,” he said.

A similar superstreet project that opened on U.S. Highway 15-501 in Chapel Hill in 2008 reduced travel times by 65 percent, Dunlop said.

There is another superstreet project under way along the Highway 55 Bypass in Holly Springs that will accommodate traffic around a new shopping area set to open next year.

Dunlop said superstreets are new to this area, and drivers would have to get used to it. The project on Glenwood Avenue would cost $101.3 million, and construction would begin in 2020.


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  • skipp2 Dec 7, 2012

    I grew up in Michigan whre this type of configuration has existed for more than 40 years. The traffic flow does not affect businesses negatively. This configuration makes it safe to drive anywhere and may actually help some businesses since everyone is making right hand turns.

  • smcallah Dec 6, 2012

    "Now I live in a neighborhood near Glenwood and Pinecrest that will be affected by this project. Thank God it won't begin until 2020, I'll probably have moved by then!"

    And the light at Glenwood and Pinecrest for people passing through is the biggest waste of time and gas on that stretch of road between Duraleigh and I-540. Good riddance.

  • smcallah Dec 6, 2012

    "It will severely affect the business of any retailer in such a corridor. People will not go to but so much hassle to get across the street or across traffic to get to a store. "

    Apparently you don't know the area of Glenwood from Duraleigh to I-540. There are only a few businesses on that street between those two. Mostly furniture stores, and actually mostly stores you already have to make U-turns to get to.

    That is still the only way to get to the former Circuit City/former CompUSA/current gym that is just down from Duraleigh if you're going towards I-540.

  • unc70 Dec 6, 2012


    When configured as a superstreet, the dynamics of the traffic flow change in lots of ways. In general, those entering from side streets do not encounter the risks you fear in terms of crossing multiple lanes and making a Uturn. In most cases, there are still some stop lights, usually of much shorter duration, that interrupt the main road long enough for traffic to cross lanes and make Uturns. When traffic is lighter, those lights may not be needed -- much like niw with right turn red or flashing yellow left turn signals.

    No claim that these designs are perfect nor that they will solve all the problems. The do allow greatly increase the amount of traffic that can flow freely and for a relatively low cost and without requiring additional right of way.

  • nicolle Dec 6, 2012

    As someone who drives daily straight down Glenwood from west of Brier Creek to down by the mall (so one of those who would "benefit" most), this worries me. As people mentioned, trying to turn into traffic during rush hour and then having to cut across will be dangerous. Turning to make the U-turn is even worse, because people can't speed up until they've completely made the turn. So that's going to mean more slamming on the brakes as people are trying to cut in. On a road like Glenwood, it's going to cause MORE ACCIDENTS. Shaving a few minutes off my drive time is not worth someone getting hurt (as well as it adding a lot of time to other people's drive). Plus, the increase in accidents and fender benders is just going to worsen traffic and make everyone's drive longer. SYNCHRONIZE THE LIGHTS BETTER. That has to be a cheaper and more effective solution. It would also be interesting to see the research on how previous superstreeets have affected businesses (+ or -) along the route.

  • jonnraleigh Dec 6, 2012

    Somehow the good folks who live south of Wilmington toward Leland make the superstreet work for them. Surely we are at least as bright as they are.

  • mmtlash Dec 6, 2012

    taking out the stoplights allows traffic to flow more freely....could be a decent idea here

  • unc70 Dec 6, 2012


    These designs are essentially elongated traffic circles, built mostly within the same rightofway used by the existing street and turn lanes. "Real" traffic circle designs from the beginning would be better, but it's too late for anything except remediation now.

    BTW Many famous traffic circles have interesting uses of traffic lights, too. I am reminded of ones like the Place de l'Étoile in Paris, which is famous for having its own "no-fault style" rules for auto insurance coverage.

  • btneast Dec 6, 2012

    This plan will definitely improve thru traffic on Glenwood, but it will be a disaster for merchants along that section of roadway.

  • unc70 Dec 6, 2012


    I lived in that area some years ago (Foxcroft and Kirkwood). Still go through there fairly often. Before the changes to that intersection, in the mornings you could not go directly from Foxcroft on Dobbins (the access road) and even get on Erwin, much less get on Erwin to turn left towards Durham. You needed to go out the back way from Foxcroft and use Old Oxford to Erwin to Sage. That was why I mentioned Sage previously; no idea if one can now go down Dobbins to the Sage intersection, then turn left.

    We each agree for people passing through, the redesign greatly improves traffic flow through the area. My experience is that the typical trip through that area is 5-7 minutes quicker than before.