The Edison Apartments, or more officially the Edison Lofts (official website), are coming along. No reason this project isn’t wrapped up this year, hopefully in the first half. They are now pre-leasing units.
I wanted to share the feedback I submitted about the Wake County Transit Plan, which all readers should take a look at. I think a whole discussion could come about the idea of an invisible east/west barrier that goes right down Raleigh. I am hoping that an upgrade to transit could break down that barrier and really expand mobility choices and access to all areas of the city. Does anyone else see these barriers to mobility around our city? -Leo
I’ve taken a good look through the latest Wake County Transit Plan update and wanted to share some thoughts I had about it. I’ll admit that this may be more detailed than the document shows but maybe it is something that the planning team could consider.
I believe there is this invisible “divide” between east and west Raleigh, where Capital Boulevard, McDowell/Dawson in downtown, and South Saunders create a sort of barrier. Going from parts east to west, and vice versa, by any travel method meets a “resistance” when you hit this divide.
Driving a car across Raleigh, the options are slim due to Capital Boulevard’s lack of cross streets, downtown’s more urban nature, and south Raleigh’s lack of east/west streets. Cycling is in a similar situation. Currently, none of the GoRaleigh bus routes go between east and west Raleigh but rather terminate in downtown’s Moore Square Transit Station for a transfer.
I see this Transit Station as contributing to that same invisible barrier.
My feedback as part of this new transit plan would be for the planning team to discuss this and see if transit could break through this barrier and connect east and west Raleigh more directly. For example, a bus route that does not stop in downtown Raleigh but uses both Hillsborough Street and New Bern Avenue/Edenton Street.
Thanks a lot ahead of time and I very much look forward for the successful implementation of this plan!
Thanks for taking the time to review the Recommended Wake County Transit Plan and for submitting your comment.
Your comment fits very well within the key goal of the Transit Plan to make transit “useful” to as many people as possible. Divides and barriers, real or perceived impact how and if people use transit and the focus of the transit plan is to address and solve these types of issues.
The project team has specifically looked at BRT and bus line corridors that flow through rather than to downtown. The New Bern Avenue to Morgan St /Hillsborough Street alignment has been specifically studied. That said, there are different perspectives on how BRT should flow through Downtown Raleigh and connect with the various destinations. The perspectives differ in how radically they would change existing streets, how vehicles would interact with bus stations and how the different BRT corridors would interact with each other. Moving forward we hope to have a clear community dialogue on the options, benefits and costs of the various ways to implement the different projects shown in the recommended transit plan. We anticipate this dialogue will be open to public ideas and reactions on solutions.
Some of the service realities we are asking decison-makers to consider are: (these parallel your comment)
1) As vehicle frequency increases there is less need to stop and wait at big stations and street based platforms (that allow vehicles to keep moving) make more sense.
2) Routes work best by collecting and combining multiple trips – routes that stop in downtown rather then flowing through downtown limit their usefulness for certain trips.
3) Frequent routes tend to be used for shorter trips and riders on shorter trips tend to have a low tolerance for delay (i.e. they will switch to other modes).
Please keep in mind that the transit plan is positioned to provide vision but also to allow a start and evolution approach if that is needed or best for the community. One question we asked staff from all of our partner agencies to answer on each of the projects was “are there multiple ways to accomplish that and still meet the goal?” The recommended transit plan takes this approach not to get “watered down” versions of everything but to keep an eye toward the larger goal and allow the system to change as needed as community perspectives change. National and local positions on transit, what street should be used for, and what creates a great place to live are changing and evolving in ways we have not seen in previous decades and these positions may/will likely continue to evolve.
If you have further questions on the Recommended Wake County Transit Plan please respond to this email, call 919-856-5477 or visit www.waketransit.com
Last night was the launch party for The Dillon. Outside of the local beer, food, and networking this model may have been the highlight. When you stare at the current Dillon Supply warehouse in the bottom left of the photo it gives you a sense of the real size of this project.
Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.
Downtown Hotel Parking Requirements
If the video above does not show for you, click here to watch it.
If the development of hotels in downtown Raleigh is of interest to you then you first need to jump back to this October 2015 post about the Downtown Hotel Market Study. (if you haven’t seen it already)
A point from that study that was discussed at this council meeting was the fact that the hotel parking requirements in downtown were the same as the rest of the city. One parking space was required for each hotel room built. However, with higher land prices and alternative transit options, that need was recommended to be too high and the city should explore reducing it.
From the council agenda:
At the October 20, 2015 meeting, City Council directed staff to investigate reducing parking requirements for downtown hotels in response to a recommendation presented as part of the Raleigh Downtown Hotel Market Study. The current requirement downtown is the same as the citywide standard: one parking space per room. Staff analysis finds that the parking requirement can be reduced by half or more without adverse impact, which would greatly improve the economics of downtown hotel development.
In the video above, there was some discussion among the council about sending this piece to the planning commission for a recommendation.
Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin wanted the planning commission to explore reducing it to more than half. Councilor Bonner Gaylord even wanted to expand the reduction to other property types. Councilor Kay Crowder suggested that a trial be done first before implementing the changes.
The main takeaway from the discussion was that these reductions are a move that supports mass transit. With momentum building for the new Wake County Transit Plan and a possible referendum this year in order to finance this transit plan, the reduction in parking would further support these initiatives.
City Manager Ruffin Hall mentioned that a downtown comprehensive parking study was underway, looking at hotel parking and other uses so more data will be available in the near future.
It was decided that the request to planning commission would be only on the hotels parking piece rather than all parking due to the fact that some hotels are being planned in the immediate future. They might benefit from a quicker decision rather than wait for a complete parking strategy overhaul for downtown.
We’ll follow this next in planning commission.
GoRaleigh (formerly Moore Square) Transit Station Renovation
No video is attached to this one as this line item was in the consent agenda and approved during the council meeting without discussion. From the agenda:
Bids were opened for the GoRaleigh (formerly Moore Square) Transit Station Renovation Project December 3, 2015. The GoRaleigh Transit Station project will provide a comprehensive renovation to the Downtown Raleigh Transit Transfer Facility. Improvements will include but are not limited to new restrooms, crew quarters, northern stairwell, elevator, and ticket/information office. The facility will have enhanced passenger waiting areas and advanced technologies for customer convenience, such as Wi-Fi-access and real-time arrival and departure information. American South General Contractors Company submitted the lowest responsive bid of $9,560,000; the proposed award contains the addition of five alternates with a final proposed bid award of $9,671,000. American South General Contractors Company submitted the lowest base bid and remained the lowest bidder when factoring the alternate options. American South Contractors Company proposes to utilize 9.9 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and 15.5 percent Small Disadvantage Minority and Women Owen Business (SDMWOB) firms. The Raleigh Transit Authority unanimously recommended this bid award during the December 10,2015 meeting.
I missed the renaming of the Moore Square Transit Station to the GoRaleigh Transit Station. I’m not surprised as the new branding is being pushed pretty hard throughout the system.
The overhaul of this station will be pretty extensive and could start this year. For more, here are two links for you as well as a rendering of the completed station below:
- Downtown Bus Facilities Master Plan on the city’s website.
- Municipography, Moore Square Transit Station, Smartphone Apps, and Smart Cards
Just like I mentioned in my 2015 wrap-up, I think transit will be a big discussion point this year. Parking, as always, is a integral part of that also.
I have a lot to look back on this year. Personally, in 2015 I saw major changes in my workplace and my family grew from a pair to a trio. On the web, the blog has been covering a good balance of currently under construction projects as well as ones in the planning phases.
I’ve found that transit and developments are my go-to topics. I enjoy following the downtown eats scene as well. I want to try and share a little more history in 2016 and not just old photos. Trends are important to point out and with Raleigh changing so fast, important facts from history as recent as a decade ago could be relevant.
Let’s recap on a few things we talked about this year and how it’ll lead into the next.
2016 could be the year that Wake County gets more serious about mass transit. With a new plan in place, created through an extensive public feedback process in 2015, we have our strongest proposal yet to ask residents of the county to tax themselves in order to pay for this new transit plan. It is expected that our county commissioners will propose a half-cent sales tax increase, dedicated to transit, to be added to the November 2016 ballot.
According to the plan, downtown Raleigh is a major hub of higher-frequency buses. New and improved routes would be set in place as well as an increase in destinations compared to our current network. The Moore Square Transit Station should be quite busy.
Speaking of Moore Square, the bus facility there should be getting a major face lift. Still in the planning stages, the upgrade of Raleigh’s busiest bus terminal will hopefully move forward in 2016.
Along with Moore Square, Raleigh Union Station should begin construction in 2016. Not only is the expansion of the train station needed for Amtrak but also for the proposed commuter rail line that may happen as part of the previously mentioned transit plan.
All of this will take place with more planning for bicycle facilities throughout the city. The 2009 Bicycle Plan is getting an update. (more on this soon)
Expect this blog to be very pro-transit in 2016.
Cranes are a-coming
2015 had a few developments in the works but there were also some new ones to follow that worked their way through the approval process. In 2016, we may see cranes in the air for these new buildings.
The Lincoln, Skyhouse Raleigh, Elan City Center, and The L were all completed in 2015. These buildings add several hundred new apartment units to the downtown supply. That’s not all though as we have plenty coming down the pipe.
- The Link Apartments should have residents moving in sometime in early 2016.
- The Edison Apartments are coming along and should be done in the first half of 2016.
- The townhomes at Blount Street Commons are mostly finished and should have residents moving in throughout 2016.
- The Gramercy is mostly built out and I see no reason it’s not up and running in 2016.
That’s several hundred more apartments being built and ready to be opened next year. In the planning phases are apartments as part of The Dillon, Greyhound Apartments, and the north tower of Charter Square.
Outside of residential developments, some taller structures containing offices or hotels may be breaking ground in 2016. Those to look out for is the main structure of The Dillon, a 17-story tower in the warehouse district. Charter Square North is planned to be a 22-story mixed-use building with offices and residential. Maybe it will break ground in 2016?
Other notable projects are The Edison Office tower and Narsi Hotel, a 12-story building for the corner of Lenoir and Wilmington Streets. In 2015, these projects worked their way through the planning process so we’ll continue to follow them into 2016.
As mentioned recently, construction on the Residence Inn hotel near the convention center has started.
One last mention, kind of long shot but perhaps something interesting could happen, is Project Phoenix, the North Carolina governor’s plans for bringing development to the state government complex. Nothing sounds concrete yet from what I’ve read but the idea of turning the expansive complex into a more mixed-use environment would be a fantastic benefit to downtown Raleigh, essentially growing the footprint of interactive space.
They may not be favorites but they at least got the most web traffic. Here are the top five posts of 2015.
- Rendering of The Dillon, Office and Residential in the Warehouse District
- 12-Story Hotel Planned for Wilmington Street Moves Forward
- Multiple Rezoning Requests on the Table
- Pic of the Week for February 3, 2015
- Hilton Garden Inn on Davie Street Rendering, Shows Glass and Curves
Readers shattered my single day page view record this year. It was on the topic of the sidewalk seating ordinance, an emotionally charged and even political topic of the year.
The elections of 2015 can only be described as DrunkTown. I hope to look back on this debate years from now and just laugh.
To close, I end with one bold prediction for 2016: The R-Line makes it’s last loop around downtown Raleigh.
Happy New Year! 😉
I apologize for the bad quality photo but this was more a drive-by snap. Foundation work is starting on the Residence Inn on Salisbury Street and I wanted to throw up this quick post to show that this project is now underway.
The Raleigh Connoisseur is a media sponsor for First Night Raleigh 2016
This year’s First Night Raleigh is set up to be a good one. The theme is “Celebrating North Carolina Firsts” which will include popular and lesser known facts about our state.
Organized by Artsplosure all throughout the year, the event will have something for everyone. Typically drawing over 40,000 people, with a record of 80,000 in 2012, First Night is built on a foundation of Celebration, Community, the New Year, and the Arts.
Everything starts at 2pm at the N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and on the Bicentennial Plaza with the Children’s Celebration. Things really get going with the main stage performances at 5pm and tons of other activities all over downtown Raleigh up until the countdown to midnight.
As always, you can’t miss out on seeing the giant acorn get dropped. It’s kind of our city’s thing, along with a spectacular fireworks display. There will be a drop at both 7pm, to accommodate families with young children, and then the finale at midnight.
What isn’t different about First Night Raleigh year-to-year is that we always make sure that everything that we do is something that our whole community can have access to and enjoy. That’s our mission each year and our ultimate goal is that this event is as inclusive of all members of our community as possible.
Raleigh’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration will bring back some favorites as well as mix in some new experiences. The 90-foot Ferris wheel is always a big draw as well as ballroom dancing in the Sir Walter Ballroom and the People’s Procession. If you want more of a thrill, The Sizzler may be more your speed.
I’m looking forward to Art Putt, a nine-hole miniature golf course created by local artists in the City Market Building. Appropriate as North Carolina is the home to the first putt-putt course. Each course will also highlight another North Carolina first including our #1 in the world salamander diversity and the state’s first gold rush.
Performances during the evening portion of the night include:
- Scythian at City Plaza
- TOW3RS and See Gulls at Vintage Church
- Josh Dumbleton at Edenton Street United Methodist Church
- John Dee Holeman at CAM
Click here to see the entire list of performances planned for First Night 2016.
If you have a smartphone, you can get the free First Night Raleigh app for iOS and Android. It’s a great way to plan your night, showing you a list of events and an interactive map that you can add to an itinerary so you won’t miss anything.
When planning your trip into downtown Raleigh, make sure to consider the free park-and-ride locations. One at the NCSU Park and Ride Lot and another at the Wake County Government Office Park, GoRaleigh will be running buses back and forth between 6pm and 1am during First Night. Parking in downtown Raleigh will cost $5 in most parking decks, hourly rates in others.First Night Raleigh 2016
Date/Time: Thurs., Dec. 31 from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.
In case you haven’t seen it, the facade upgrade on One Hanover Square is finished. The columns from the previous build were removed and the outdoor space feels much larger. It gives City Plaza a modern feel as it more matches the renovations that took place to the plaza, especially the light towers.