Local News

To ease confusion, Raleigh splits some one-way downtown streets in two

Posted August 5, 2016 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2016 6:16 p.m. EDT

— Navigating the streets of downtown Raleigh isn't too difficult, but there are a collection of one-way streets that throw a wrench into travel for some.

The city has been working to make things easier by converting one-way streets to two-way for about 10 years now. City planning officials say the changes won't hamper Raleigh's ability to handle increased traffic as growth continues.

Joshua Bellamy, an owner of Boulted Bread near downtown, says he's happy to see the changes happening on South Street.

The bakery has done well since opening two years ago despite being a little tough to get to. Currently, South Street converts to a one-way street about a block from the bakery.

"If you're coming out of Red Hat or Citrix, you have to take this circuitous downtown route to get back here," Bellamy said.

That'll change once work on South Street and nearby Lenoir Street is complete.

Transportation planning manager Eric Lamb said the work is part of a larger plan to convert many of Raleigh's one-way streets.

"The reason why people like two-way streets is that they find them to be a lot easier to navigate," Lamb said. "Some people think they're more pedestrian friendly."

The city disagrees with the notion that cutting capacity on downtown streets is a bad thing for traffic. The reason? Raleigh's unique downtown area.

"This scale of dense mixed-use development is able to handle a lot more traffic because it doesn't all happen before 4 and 6 p.m.," Lamb said.

Bellamy is supportive of the changes, especially those happening near his business. South and Lenoir streets should be two-way by early 2017.

"It should bring a lot more people down here to South Street, not just to our business, but to other businesses as well," Bellamy said.

After the work on South and Lenoir streets is complete, the city will consider converting Salisbury, Wilmington, Morgan and Edenton streets to two-way traffic.