Local News

Traffic changes planned for downtown Raleigh corridor

Posted May 9, 2017 8:01 p.m. EDT

— A multimillion-dollar project to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety on the east side of downtown Raleigh is about to get underway.

City planners have been working on the details for the Blount Street-Person Street Corridor Project for years, and crews will start this summer narrowing each street from three to two lanes from Delway Street to Hammond Road. The project will also include a section of Wake Forest Road from Delway Street to Brookside Drive.

Jason Myers, senior transportation planner for Raleigh, said fewer lanes will effectively slow the 8,000 cars a day that drive along the 5-mile stretch, as will bike lanes that will be added to each street.

"(The bike lane) will help improve livability and move vehicles away from the curb," said . "We’ll be able to add about 10 parking spaces in that district, which is going to help the businesses, but more importantly, maybe will help separate the vehicles going through from the pedestrians who are walking through the district."

Selena Noble, who lives nearby, said she likes the idea of bike lanes for her 11- and 14-year-old children, who often ride their bicycles to meet with friends or go downtown.

"(It will) maybe encourage people, 'Hey, we can bike over there now,' and not be afraid that there’s so many cars," Noble said.

"Anything that promotes less driving is a good thing," said Carmelo Rivera, who works at The Station restaurant on Person Street. "There’s times the traffic goes by quickly, and there’s some concern for the pedestrians."

Both Person and Blount streets will be repaved north of Edenton Street during the project, which is expected to last a few weeks.

"The roads themselves (are) very pitted (and) grooved," Noble said. "It makes for not a very safe environment to be driving."

Planners said the changes should drive more customers to businesses in this area. Rivera said he's hopeful that will be the case.

"When people drive by and see people sitting on the patio, I think it will bring a lot more people to the area and our business," he said.

The changes to the traffic flow are the first part of a three-phase project. The Raleigh City Council is expected to discuss on Wednesday how to pay for the second phase, which would include streetscaping to improve the appearance of the area. The final phase would include installing traffic circles at some intersections north of downtown.