Local News

Neighbors express concern over frequent Raleigh road races

Posted May 24, 2009 5:35 p.m. EDT
Updated May 24, 2009 9:52 p.m. EDT

— Road races through downtown Raleigh happen nearly year-round. As runners and walkers lace up, many times for a good cause, the race can also cause headaches for people living along the route.

Pam Wilson lives along a popular race route.  She says she often feels trapped in her neighborhood due to heavy foot traffic through downtown Raleigh.

“I had two Saturday meetings with a non-profit organization and I literally couldn't get there,” Wilson said.

Whether it is a marathon or a mile, many races use the same streets, like Hillsborough Street. They can be shut down for hours at a time. Many people in the area say they don't get any notice, and they don't know how to avoid the foot traffic.

“You don't know how to get out, and you keep going in circles trying to get around the race,” Wilson said.

Raleigh City Council is hearing complaints from some residents. No one disputes these road races are important, to raise money for charity and to bring money into the area, but residents say they want more notice.

“People, just not in Raleigh, run in these races with people outside the city, so it brings visitors in. But we need to be able to find a very good compromise in this situation,” Councilmen Thomas Crowder said.

That compromise has its challenges. For instance, some say why not just rotate the race routes. The problem is there are a lot of hills in Raleigh, and that is not always good for runners and walkers.

“I think the most important thing is that we make sure we communicate with the public, (and) neighborhoods know when the routes are going to take place. And more importantly, where are the detour routes,” Crowder said.

Wilson said that would work for her.

“Just tell me where to go. I can't go this way that's fine, just tell me how to get around,” she said.

Council members have directed City Manager Russell Allen to gather some suggestions on how to make the road race situation easier. They plan to discuss possible solutions at their next meeting.