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Road to Nowhere: Fayetteville Street's Abrupt Stop Confuses Drivers

Raleigh's new premier street is a dead end. That is causing confusion for many drivers.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh's new premier street is a dead end.

People can look down Fayetteville Street from the Capitol to the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, but they can't drive from one to the other. That is causing confusion for many drivers.

"This is my first time down Fayetteville Street, so I had no idea," driver Tina Sullivan said as she tried to turn around where the street stopped.

Every day, drivers are pulling U-turns at the south end of the street -- maneuvering five-, six- or seven-point turns in the middle of the street.

"I've seen as many as six cars at once all trying to negotiate around each other trying to get back out of the street," said Kevin McDaniel, owner of Ninth Street Flowers, whose shop is located near where the street ends.

"It's fun if you have the time to watch it," McDaniel said.

There are no signs to designate Fayetteville Street as a dead end because the city doesn't intend for it to be one.

By the middle of 2008, another phase of the street will be built, stretching another block south to Lenoir Street to go in front of the new downtown convention center hotel. The city is trying to work out details of the second phase with the owner of an underground parking deck that the street would pass over.

"It allows people to drive continuously down the street and get back on the street network at Lenoir. There won't be any turn around or dead end," Assistant City Manager Dan Howe said. "It's a street. It needs to act like a street. You don't expect to have a dead end in the middle of downtown, and that certainly is not our plan."

City officials are even talking of a third phase to take Fayetteville Street all the way to the performing arts center. To do so, the street would have to run through an existing parking lot. Another idea would be not to extend Fayetteville Street to South Street and make the area a large public plaza.

A decision isn't expected until after the convention center and hotel open in 2008.


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