Local News

Neighbors Show Dismay Over Peace College's Plan To Close Street

Posted April 2, 2003 12:27 p.m. EST

— A controverisal decision was made Tuesday on Peace College's push to close a short stretch of city street.

People who live nearby say the plan cuts off access to homes and businesses.

Peace College is bursting at the seams of its landlocked campus in downtown Raleigh. Enrollment is expected to grow from 650 to 850 students over the next few years.

School leaders say they could make the most of three acres behind the campus by closing Franklin and Harp Streets and building over them. That plan prompted protests from people who live nearby, who accuse the college of not being a good neighbor.

"There's a lot of traffic coming through there," resident Carl Barnett said. "The Franklin Street cut-through is a relief of that excess traffic."

It's also a public street, and Peace needs permission from the city to shut it down.

For months, council members urged the two sides to compromise. Peace offered to spend half a million dollars to extend Delway Street through campus.

The City Council accepted that deal Tuesday, despite criticism that the college strong-armed its neighbors.

"I think the Delway Street solution was a huge compromise in and of itself," said Laura Carpenter Bingham, Peace College President. "And it was in direct response to concerns that we heard from neighbors about connectivity, pedestrian access and lighting and safety in the area."

The council's vote paves the way for Peace to start growing. Some opponents predict the decision will be an issue during this fall's city elections.

Construction on the Delway Street extension could begin in about eight months.