Raleigh wants input on improvements to Capital Boulevard

Posted October 21, 2021 6:03 a.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2021 11:31 a.m. EDT

— On Thursday, residents have a chance to tell Raleigh leaders what changes they'd like to see along one of the city's busiest corridors.

A segment of Capital Boulevard between Interstate 440 and Interstate 540 is known for its congestion. More than 70,000 people use the stretch every day, and experts say the number is expected to increase to 100,000 in the next 20 years.

The city has completed a three-year study of the corridor looking at opportunities for immediate improvement while keeping future development in mind. Among the priorities are improving traffic flow, bicycle and pedestrian accessibility and transforming some areas into green space.

John Anagnost, senior planner for Raleigh's Planning & Development Department, said planners want to know what kind of housing the community would like to see, along with employment opportunities, services and "amenities in their community that they can access without necessarily owning a vehicle ... that’s available to them regardless of where they live."

The city also wants input from local businesses and residents on factors like amount of green space, trees and vegetation, parks and open spaces.

"One of the most important things we’ve heard from the community was relieving the traffic congestion," said Anagnost. "But in addition to traffic congestion, really there was a lot of specific desires and values from communities that live and work on Capital Boulevard itself."

Anagnost said there are many locations along Capital Boulevard where a high percentage of residents don’t own a vehicle, and some people have expressed concern about crossing the street safely when walking to bus stops or shopping centers.

If you're wondering what will happen to the abandoned Capital Plaza Hotel beside the entrance to I-440, the site will become an apartment complex with 335 units spread across four buildings.

It's crucial the community feels connected to the plans, he said, adding, "It’s incredibly important that the community feels ownership of the plan because they are going to be affected by it for 20, 30, 40 years into the future ... [they'll be experiencing] the construction and the final product in the end."

Thursday will be the first of two opportunities to speak directly with the city before details are finalized and ask City Council will look over the plan.

The virtual session is at 5 p.m., and another will be held Saturday.

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