Weekend Video: Capital Boulevard Makeover

From the meeting this week hosted by NCDOT, the video above was being played on a loop at the Borden Building in Fred Fletcher Park Thursday evening. If you can’t see the embedded video, go here.

The video is a great watch for those following this project and construction starts on Wade Avenue first this Fall.

You can find more on the NCDOT’s project website.

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Night shots of bridge look good with the lights

Looks good.. I’m excited to this see this! But am I the only one confused as to why we need “green space” at peace and capital? It’s just a giant field of street locked grass… no use to anyone… and it just a field.. couldn’t we come up with something useful there? #wasteofspace

I thought they said in the video that it’s for future development and will allow for future access points to be built in.

oh.. well if that is the case.. then sounds good.

The land will be put on the market for new development. The new blocks created by the reconstruction of the interchange along with the widened sidewalks will greatly improve the walkability here.

I wonder how the median on Capital Blvd will be planted. The video mentions a ‘grassed median’. Will trees come later?

I thought I read that grassy area is basically a flood plain and making it a “park” is a way to dress it up. But the point was not to build on it since it will flood sometimes.

For Southbound portion between Wade and Peace, why not take the opportunity to close off the 3 driveways of the businesses on Capital and give them new access via West St. Seems like a driveway on the Capital onramp is a dangerous scenario.

@Leo, was there any mention of naming the eastern ramps with new road names? This was something that I mentioned in a previous public meeting held at the performing arts center a year or so ago and they agreed (at that time) that it was a good idea since there were going to be businesses and residents on those roads/ramps that will only be accessible from them and not Capital itself.
Thanks for sharing the video.

John, not sure. I didn’t see a mention of that.

CX – I don’t know if trees are envisioned for the Capital Blvd median at any point. IIRC, I’ve read that NCDOT doesn’t like them for some reason.

@DBDowntowner,
Nothing says “City of Oaks” like having no trees on a gateway entrance to the city. #rolleyes

There are two green areas in the video. One (south of Peace) is where Watkins Shoe Shop et.al. are, and the other is the future Devereux Meadows park. That is a greenway widening point first of all…second (like most other greenways) it is along a floodway and flood plain and under current Neuse River rules, would not be buildable if it were “green” right now. All in all, I think this is going to turn out well…we get more urban blocks south of Peace and more green space and pervious surface along blue line streams (like it should be) north of Peace.

@Mark, The SW corner inside the square loop will be developed. It will not remain a green space.
In my opinion, and given the city’s dependency on automobiles for at least a significant amount of time into the future, this block makes sense as a location for a significant parking garage. The right-in, right-out nature of the traffic flow means that visitors to Glenwood South could immediately park when arriving at the district from the North and then immediately leave the district and head home by continuing the traverse the square loop upon the completion of their visit. All of this would allow increased foot traffic in the neighborhood without adding cars to the road network of the rapidly urbanizing district.
Mind you, I am not saying “only” a parking garage. The project could be topped with entertainment space or event space including a rooftop terrace that would afford lovely views of the surrounds including Glenwood South, and the skyline of the CBD.
Following the completion of the square loop exit, I am not certain who will actually own the land in the middle. Would it be the city or the state?

John, so you’re saying the properties including Rollins and Watkins are being taken as well? Because if you look at where what is green in the video is (SW portion) that is where those properties are located. I’ve not yet seen any indication that these will be seized as construction easement or for any other purpose….just Finches. Can you verify that this indeed the case? Leo? Anyway able to confirm this? I had assumed the video just left it green so we could better see the streets in question….

I don’t THINK this project will result in a complete grassy green space, as the video suggests. I think they just didn’t render any buildings in the flyover visual.

What buildings will be left? I’m not sure but there certainly will be a lot of activity and I wouldn’t be surprised if the easiest thing to do is just knock it all down.

@Mark,
We all know that Finch’s is a goner. The new road is being built to the existing road’s west and will be on top of the existing Finch’s location. We also know that Harrington will extend to Capital Boulevard through (probably) the car wash. We already know that the land to the west of Harrington and south of Peace is the assemblage for Smokey Hollow. This leaves the collection of parcels within the square loop that include, in addition to others, Rollins, Watkins and the upholstery shop that’s also attached. There’s also the building at the corner of Johnson & Harrington that houses a couple of businesses. I imagine that the State Board of Elections building is a goner as well as the building that is attached to the back of Finch’s and houses a scooter dealer and auto repair shop. It would seem to me that all of those parcels have been seized but I could be wrong. It would seem to me that bridge construction staging will require the loss of the buildings on Peace but I am not quite as certain that it would require the lot at the corner of Johnson and Harrington.
Speaking of Johnson, I’d be surprised if the exit to Johnson remained like it is now with that odd shallow C shape road connecting Johnson to Capital. I expect the exit to be more of a deceleration lane since it will become the primary exit.

oops…I meant to say that Harrington extends to Peace, not Capital. Sorry!

I’m betting the staging area will be the old garbage truck parking lot. City already owns it and no need to lay down stone, plus the building on that site is way better than having a construction trailer AND its fenced off and secure already for stored materials, all of which certainly saved/will save some money on mobilization costs.

In reading the linked report, it appears as if there are 12 affected businesses and a right of way acquisition cost of over 19 million dollars.
The documents states that most affected businesses are in the SW quadrant of the interchange. see page 11. This seems to suggest that it’s all going to be blown out but it doesn’t say so directly.
Another notable item includes extending the culvert for the Pigeon House Branch by 46 feet (that’s opposite of the direction that I thought that this was going).
Traffic in all directions will be maintained through most of the project.
Speed on the rebuilt stretch of Capital will be reduced to 35 all the way up to Wade. This is a huge win. I think that the road design was narrowed by a foot to discourage speeding. One never wants to design a wide road and then slap a slow speed limit on it.
The sidewalk on Capital will only cross over Peace on the west side. The east side sidewalk will follow the parallel exit and entrance “ramps”.
Properties along this stretch of Capital will be limited to one driveway access point.
Page 25 seems to show that all properties within the square loop will be affected. The drawn road over the aerial shot pretty much cleans house.
https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/capitalblvdbridges/download/B5121B5317FONSI92914.pdf

For those that have not seen it yet, the tower crane for the Dillon project was erected yesterday and today.

I walked into the Glenwood Pharmacy Market last night for the first time and was sorely disappointed. On so many levels, I think that they made huge mistakes.
1.) They pushed coolers and displays up against the Glenwood Ave. windows and covered them with full-window decals. When you are standing on the sidewalk and looking up at the store, you only see the ceiling….which leads me to #2
2.) THAT CEILING!!!!! Not only does the ceiling look like it’s in suburban warehouse, it has the most basic and glaring type of light fixture imaginable. The Kelvin temperature of the lamps are way too cold. What’s worse is that those horrible light fixtures are the only thing you see when you look into the store at night from the sidewalk on Glenwood.
3.) The volume of the space makes the entire store seem wimpy and impersonal. For an urban market, it doesn’t have any sense of place at all and nothing that makes you feel like you are downtown.
4.) The display shelving is so short that it overemphasizes how horribly tall and uninteresting the space is.
5.) The outdoor patio does not visually connect the outside and the inside space.

How I think it could be improved.
1.) Rearrange the displays so that the decals can be peeled off the windows so that the store visually engages the public realm.
2.) Blacken the upper parts of the walls and the ceiling so that the store doesn’t feel so cavernous and cold. Replace those horrible ceiling light fixtures with pendant fixtures that visually lower the ceiling.
3.) Introduce some suspended trellises to establish different zones within the space to create further intimacy. This is especially true over the coffee bar. As it stands, I’d never want to sit and have a coffee there.
4.) Introduce some sort of “pole lamp” or other defining feature at the end of each run of aisle shelves. This will future establish intimacy in the space.
5.) Add more unique product displays throughout the store. Focus on ones made of natural materials that add warmth.

Now, I know that they are brand new and are still filling their shelves. Over time, it will probably become more “broken in”, but it’s evident that some of their big decisions are not temporary decisions. Hopefully they’ll take some cues from places like Fresh Market in how to establish a strong brand identity and sense of place. If they don’t, they’ll be murdered in the market when the Publix opens in a few years. They need to make being there special and it’s currently everything but special.

John, potentially all true observations and good suggestions (I haven’t been in). But I think they might be more helpful if you shared them directly with the owner of the place and not just us on this blog.

@Jeff. I agree. I am just putting my comments out there to this engaged and concerned community at Raleigh Connoisseur in the hopes that someone might have fewer degrees of separation with the owner. I have already tried to make a comment when asked by an employee for comments. When I stated that my comments were about the space, I was immediately stopped and informed that that was not his expertise. So, my comments will have to wait until I find the right audience for them.

They have a contact section on their website and a Facebook page. Tony Gurley also has a LinkedIn page. I’m sure one of those methods would likely get your insights to the proper person.

I’ve been inside as well, and I agree with all of John’s comments. ESPECIALLY the window decals. You get a HUGE retail spot on GLENWOOD SOUTH and almost completely cover all the windows directly the facing the street??? WHAT?? This is one of the things that kills me about the downtown CVS (besides the fact that they are only open for half an hour, 3 days a week) – they have all the street facing windows completely blacked out, and shelves pushed up against them on the inside. Ruins the urban experience.

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