"Raleigh is becoming more urban, and as we do that, we need to become more walkable so that not every trip is a trip by car. That's the way Raleigh used to be 50 or 60 years ago," Mayor Charles Meeker said.
Ideas being discussed include requiring sidewalks on both sides of the street in new developments and limiting developers that close sidewalks while they work.
"That's one thing we need to work on," Meeker said of closed sidewalks. "Quite often, (when) we have construction, we just close it on one side, and we walk on the other side. But maybe we need to put a covered sidewalk that is actually in front of the construction."
Development specialist Adrienne Schmitz, of the Urban Land Institute, spoke with city leaders Thursday night on the importance of creating a pedestrian-friendly environment.
"It's not about the pavement because nobody really cares if it's brick or concrete or whatever. It's about what's around the sidewalk, what they have to walk to," Schmitz said.
Empire Properties, for example, is developing The L Building at the intersection of Davie and McDowell streets downtown that hides a 1,000-space public parking garage behind retail space.
"When you're on the street, all you see is retail fronts on the ground floor and retail space above," said Andrew Stewart, of Empire Properties.