Vote Kicks Hillsborough Street Renovation Into Gear
Posted April 4, 2006 8:42 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council Tuesday approved a process to design two roundabouts and build one of them in an effort to help ease congestion and increase safety near the North Carolina State University campus.
For more than six years, the city has been working on a plan to make the street safer, while at the same time making it more of a destination for Raleigh visitors. Designers say both of those goals could be accomplished by installing 12 roundabouts on Hillsborough Street.
"They can't all happen at once, so, it's a matter of what goes first, what will create the most momentum for the most investment," said George Chapman, chairman of the Hillsborough Street Partnership. "And we think one of these two can do that."
The first two will be in front of the N.C. State Bell Tower and at Hillsborough and Horne streets.
The city will start by designing both and building one of them with $3 million set aside from the last transportation bond.
Some residents and businesses, however, have been critical of the plan, arguing that roundabouts will create traffic jams. Planners, however, disagree.
"Every time that traffic light turns red, you sit for a minute or two minutes," Chapman said. "At many hours of the day on Hillsborough Street, you have no cross-traffic at that intersection, wasting time, wasting gas. With roundabouts, you are moving all the time, you are moving slowly, but it flows."
The city hopes to start construction on one roundabout project by the end of the year with completion in 2007. Funding is still uncertain for the second.