Local News

Hillsborough Street to celebrate reopening

Posted September 24, 2010 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2010 7:02 p.m. EDT

— After months of construction along Hillsborough Street, the road will once again be shut down to traffic on Saturday – but this time for a community celebration honoring its reopening.

Live It Up! will feature music, food and a kids zone, with inflatables and Carolina Hurricanes Slap Shot area. The Canes’ mascot, Stormy, and the Storm Squad cheerleaders will also be there.

Other events include a hot dog-eating contest, farmers’ market and Whole Foods Market’s Iron Chef Competition. Events run from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. Some events require tickets.

The new Hillsborough Street will offer more pedestrian paths and parallel parking.

For North Carolina State University student Tracy Turnbull, the lack of parking spaces available on Hillsborough was a deterrent.

“Before, I would never eat on Hillsborough because it wasn't worth the hassle of fighting through the traffic and finding a parking space,” Turnbull said. “So, I think this will be good for businesses.”

N.C. State student James Maxwell said the streets seem a lot easier to cross now due to new, wider sidewalks.

But it's the street itself that has some frustrated. Its single-lane and stop-and-go traffic have some drivers aggravated.

Businesses along the street say the slow-moving route is by design.

“When you're driving in four lanes of traffic, you have so much going on you never see what's on the street,” said Rose Schwetz, owner of Sadlack’s Heroes, which has been in business on Hillsborough since 1984.

Leah Maxwell said the new street design is bringing in a more diverse clientele to Sugar Magnolia, the women’s clothing and jewelry store where she works.

“It’s really like a melting pot of people. They're starting to feel comfortable with the road, and they're realizing there is actually a lot on Hillsborough Street,” Maxwell said.

Despite the improvements, Mitch Azouri, owner of Mitch’s Tavern, said he’d like to see some tweaks to the way the street is managed.

“I think there’s some room for us to make some changes,” he said.