More downtown Raleigh streets to be converted to two-way traffic

Posted June 23, 2014 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated June 23, 2014 7:22 p.m. EDT

— Driving in downtown Raleigh will get a little simpler next year thanks to a plan city leaders recently approved that converts parts of two major streets from one-way to two-way travel.

The plan will mean two-way traffic on South Street from South Saunders to Dawson streets and Wilmington to East streets. The city also will convert Lenoir Street to two-way traffic from Wilmington Street to East Street.

Both conversions – estimated to cost the city approximately $2 million – are expected to begin in the spring and should be completed in Fall 2015.

In 2016, the city has planned a $1 million project to switch Jones and Lane streets to two-way between the Oakwood neighborhood and Glenwood Avenue. Designers will be looking closely at how to handle the heavy pedestrian traffic around the museums on Jones Street.

Converting the streets, the city says, will improve navigation and accessibility in the area and reduce delays by removing unnecessary traffic signals. Bicycle and pedestrian amenities will also be improved as a result.

The rest of South and Lenoir street are already two-way after they were switched over in 2008.

Bill King, planning and development manager with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, says that conversion has led to more businesses opening in the area and more customers to those businesses.

“It’s a lot easier for visitors to understand. It’s a lot easier for drivers to understand because they can get to the destinations more directly rather than having to circle around for minutes trying to find the place to get to it,” King said.

That’s important, he said, especially as downtown businesses are competing against retailers in more suburban areas.