Pic of the Week

The L under construction
The L is under construction and will bring residential units to the corner of McDowell and Davie Streets. It’s kind of fun to watch it fill and be done after so many years.

Six years ago, we watched the parking deck rise and heard about a stalled The L office building.

But seven years ago, the land was being cleared for this parking deck and The L while the convention center was under construction.

Charter Square Crane Rises

Over the weekend, and even on Easter Sunday, crews assembled the tower crane at the Charter Square construction site. The southern tower will be built first while the second is still in the planning stages.

Click the image to enjoy to a multi-stitch, high resolution view of the Charter Square construction site and the southern end of Fayetteville Street.

City Works Through The 2014 Downtown Plan

Downtown Plan kick-off event at the Raleigh Convention Center.

For those that are not aware, city planning is working with a consultant group to create the next downtown Raleigh plan. This plan will consist of a vision for downtown Raleigh and what it could look like in 10 years. Key to it are achievable goals based around a heavy amount of public input.

Recently, the public kick-off event took place at the Convention Center and a good crowd of about 150 residents and business owners met to throw around ideas for the new plan. Downtown as a whole was looked at and from my experience a few themes were clear:

The achievable goals piece seems to be borrowed from the last downtown plan, The Livable Streets plan from approximately 2002. That plan had 5 clear objectives and a path on how to execute them. Goals like building a new convention center and remaking Fayetteville Street were laid out clearly. Planners wanted to avoid lofty goals, which could sound like “create more meeting space in downtown Raleigh” or “revitalize a core street to be downtown’s Main Street.” The clearer goals in that plan were felt to be part of the success we’re seeing now and is hoped to be repeated in the new plan.

This new plan is being lead by a consultant group, Sasaki Associates Inc. from Boston, and with the help of a local advisory committee, consisting of residents from a variety of backgrounds, as well as public input they will release the plan later this year. Make sure to jump to the city’s website to see more details on the consultants and the local advisory committee.

Coming back to the kick-off meeting, participants were taken through a few group exercises to try and get their ideas for downtown Raleigh. We rewrote the downtown mission statement. We drew all over a map, highlighting areas needing attention, open space, or improved connectivity. Our group also listed our top three ideas for downtown, adding them to a list with the other groups’ and later voting on the best ones.

Downtown Plan kick-off event at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Our group wanted more connectivity across Capital Boulevard.

These ideas and maps will be taken by the consultants for input into the final plan. No need to worry if you have not submitted any ideas yet. Here is how you can participate online now and look out for the next meeting.

The city has set up a website using Mindmixer to allow you and I to submit ideas, vote on others, and add comments around a few central downtown themes. The site is up right now and there is a fair amount of activity on it. Jump over to it and start submitting.
Planning for Raleigh via Mindmixer.

District Sessions
The next in-person meetings for the downtown plan will be on May 21 and 22. The visioning sessions will consist of similar breakout exercises to the event in early April but focus only on the district being discussed. Here’s the schedule for each session:

District Visioning Sessions for Downtown Plan

Capital District
Date/Time: Wed., May 21 from 8:30 am to 10 am
AIA NC Building, 14 E. Peace St.
Moore Square District
Date/Time: Wed., May 21 from 3 pm to 5 pm
Cobblestone Hall, City Market, 215 Wolfe St.
Glenwood South
Date/Time: Wed., May 21 from 7 pm to 9 pm
Hampton Inn Hotel, 600 Glenwood Ave.
Fayetteville Street District
Date/Time: Thurs., May 22 from 2 pm to 4 pm
The Stockroom, 230 Fayetteville St., second floor
Warehouse District
Date/Time: Thurs., May 22 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
HQ Raleigh, 310 S. Harrington St.
Person Street/Seaboard
Date/Time: Thurs., May 22 from 7 pm to 9 pm
AIA NC Building, 14 E. Peace St.

As always, the city’s main site for this whole project has it all and is constantly updated as new information is available. This is the first place to look for information.

Downtown Experience Plan via City of Raleigh.

Pic of the Week

Carolina Ale House in Glenwood South
Construction at the corner of Tucker and Glenwood Avenue. The top floor will be a Carolina Ale House.

Spring 2014 Restaurant Roundup

The Hibernian Pub in Glenwood South

Beer, bakeries, and bread might be the theme for 2014. Downtown Raleigh continues to see more openings than closings and while some places close, the spaces aren’t empty for long.

For a complete list of eats, drinks, and coffees in and around downtown, make sure to bookmark the DT Eats page. Try something new!

Decision Time Nears, Final Public Meeting on Capital Boulevard Bridge Design April 22

Peace Street interchange with Capital Boulevard

Peace Street interchange with Capital Boulevard.

On April 22, NCDOT is hosting a public meeting to show off the final designs for the new Capital Boulevard bridge at Peace Street. According to their timeline, after the public comment deadline of May 23, the decision on which alternative to go forward with will be made.

We’ve discussed the details up to this point but if you need a refresher, jump to this November 2013 post:

*New Capital Boulevard Designs Out, Status Quo versus New Connections

In combination with plans for a new Wade Avenue interchange bridge, not being discussed on this blog, the public hearing on April 22 should show off the most up-to-date plans for the two Peace Street alternatives, those being:

The base alternative is a one-to-one replacement of what we have today. A new bridge will be built and the same on/off ramps will exist, just like today. It’s possible that this alternative may get a two-lane on-ramp with northbound Capital Boulevard from Peace Street, the right lane being a right-turn lane for the Cotton Mill parking lot, but that is essentially the biggest change here.

The favored alternative, by the city, the state, and informally from readers of this blog, to the best of my knowledge, is the P5 alternative, also known as “The Square Loop.” This plan brings back the grid and creates an area that’s more attractive to development, more pedestrian friendly, and transitions Peace Street to better urban form.

Alternative P5, or Square Loop, for the new Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street. Click for larger.

The problem here is that The Square Loop plan is costlier due to the need for more property acquisition and street reconfiguration. The $11 million dollar difference between the two plans does not make the favored plan guaranteed. This is where the city has to step up and make this happen as it will most likely be more expensive to implement in the future if not done alongside this bridge replacement project.

More to come after the public meeting.

Capital Boulevard Bridge Replacement Projects Public Hearing

Date/Time: Tues. April 22, 2014 4-7pm (open house format, drop in any time)
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Lobby
2 East South Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

Pic of the Week

Clyde Cooper's Barbecue
The end of one chapter and the start of another. Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue moves out of its original location on Davie Street to a new one around the block on Wilmington Street.

Weekend Reel: The State of the City 2014

City of Raleigh – State of the City address 2014 on YouTube

Embedded and linked above is Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane’s 2014 State of the City speech. Lots of downtown activities were mentioned including major topics like transit and the future of the Dorothea Dix campus.

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