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Hillsborough Street To Undergo Major Changes

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Some people say Hillsborough Street is going downhill. Although a few new businesses have moved in over the last few years, some longtime restaurants have disappeared.

"I think restaurants and bars will do a lot to attract more people and businesses to the street," said resident Bradley Newman.

More than 50 people came out for a meeting to discuss revitalization. The city put together a plan that includes adding several roundabouts and more parking.

"Hillsborough Street needs to be a really good front door to the university, a pedestrian-oriented place, traffic slowed down just a friendly place to visit," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.

Last fall, voters approved a $3 million bond to get the project started. Now, the city is seeking input from business owners, residents and North Carolina State University officials about how to spend it.

"We are interested, ready, willing, and able to participate in this project," said business owner James Oblinger. "Really looking forward to it."

One of the key issues the group is looking at is pedestrian safety. Even with the crosswalks, project leaders say Hillsborough Street has one of the highest accident rates involving pedestrians in the state.

"West Raleigh traffic is becoming a nightmare, and this is going to make it worse," said resident Don Ellington.

Ellington thinks the city should consider pedestrian bridges or tunnels instead.

"This may not be the right way to go with this," he said. "I don't think we want another mall project where is was going to save downtown and no, we're tearing it out."

The city plans to consider all points of view before reshaping the street. City leaders say the entire Hillsborough Street improvement project could cost more than $25 million. Work could begin as early as this spring.


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