RALEIGH, N.C. — (July 29) After 30 years as a pedestrian mall, Raleigh's Fayetteville Street reopened to traffic on July 29, returning vehicle traffic to the heart of downtown.
An estimated 35,000 people celebrated the reopening at a city street festival called Raleigh Wide Open, which culminated the 16-month, $9.3 million project to reopen four blocks of the historic street.
Downtown advocates believe business will come back along with the cars. Public and private investment on Fayetteville Street alone has topped $400 million.
"The goal was to get the street active and get restaurants on the storefronts," Raleigh Meeker Charles Meeker said in July. "We really had no idea we'd have so much private investment coming in, in terms of office space."
Fayetteville Street's reopening marked the beginning of a number of changes in the area as part of the city's downtown revitalization efforts.
Construction is also under way to build a new state-of-the art 550,000-square-foot convention center, a 1,500-space parking garage and a four-star luxury Marriott Hotel.
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