Local News

Roundabouts May Be Out for Hillsborough Street Plan

Posted January 17, 2007 5:40 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2007 10:14 p.m. EST

— A makeover for Hillsborough Street has been talked about for more than seven years, but the Raleigh City Council remains split on the best way to recreate the street. Now, there's a new plan in the works that may not include proposed roundabouts.

The plan to build several roundabouts on the street has been hotly debated by the Raleigh City Council for several months. The intent of the plan was to slow traffic, make the road safer and make the area more business-friendly.

Without a consensus among city leaders on a proposed revamp of the street, Raleigh Planning Director Mitch Silver has come up with an alternate plan.

“I think the center of the plan should not just be the roundabouts, but what is (being done to help) the revitalization effort. What is the vision for Hillsborough Street? Then all the components fall in place,” Silver said.

City Councilwoman Joyce Kekas has lead opposition to the traffic circles, saying that the focus should be on addressing parking and economic development issues on the street. She pointed to Glenwood South and Fayetteville Street as other major thoroughfares that show signs of success without roundabouts.

“With roundabouts, we are talking about solving traffic problems, not revitalization problems,” Kekas said.

However, most business owners and residents in the area have supported the traffic circles. Property owners have spent countless hours at planning meetings and were convinced a series of roundabouts could work.

“It's going to look better and will draw people to the neighborhood and to Hillsborough Street,” said University Park Homeowners Association spokeswoman Donna Bailey. “It's going to be a win-win situation. I don't understand the argument for not doing it.”

The city Planning Department could present options to the City Council as early as next Tuesday.