Peace Street West Up For a Facelift

Intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Peace Street

Intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Peace Street

Here’s a project that’s moving forward after being on hold for a few years. Peace Street West, referred to as the street between West and St. Mary’s Street, is due for some streetscape improvements. This will include new sidewalks, burying of utility lines, consolidation of driveways, and other enhancements to this part of the street.

To get right into it, go straight to the project page on the city’s website: Peace Street West Streetscape

A lot of talk and focus has taken place over the last few years about improving Peace Street. The street is a major east/west thoroughfare with high traffic counts. Capital Boulevard and the railyards to the north and south have created a kind of bottleneck. No urban street grid exists in this area unfortunately.

North of Peace, the only way to cross Capital Boulevard by any mode is at the crossing where Wake Forest Road becomes Atlantic Avenue. To the south is a pair of one-way streets, Jones and Lane Streets. With so much separation and traffic counts hovering above 50,000 vehicles a day on Capital Boulevard, it’s no surprise that this area is dominated by car-centric development.

Peace Street West could be one-half of the solution as “Peace Street East” is due for some improvements also. Those are coming through the Capital Boulevard bridge rebuild and the Square Loop plan.

Diving into the Peace Street West information from the city’s project page, here are some highlights:

  • “The sidewalk areas along the length of Peace Street will be improved to increase safety and overall appearance of the corridor, in addition to repouring the sidewalks accent paver bands will be added at the back of curb.”
  • More trees will be added to the sidewalks.
  • The number of driveways will be reduced.
  • Traffic signals will be upgraded with mast arms.
  • Some of the overhead wires will be buried.

Intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Peace Street

West Peace Street

For me, the intersection of Glenwood and Peace has always felt like a gateway to downtown Raleigh. If you are driving or walking south down Glenwood, you transition out of the Glenwood-Brooklyn neighborhood and as you approach the intersection you start to see the density, the buildings of downtown Raleigh.

The intersection also sees steady pedestrian activity so it’s a nice reminder that you’re entering a walkable, active place. The improvements here will go a long way towards transitioning single-family neighborhoods into urban walkable neighborhoods.

According to the project page, this project should be completed by Summer of 2016.

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  1. Please tell me they’re adding a protected left turn onto Peace from Southbound St. Mary’s. It would make a real difference for traffic control and safety!

  2. @Jenna ^^ not a bad idea! I would also like to see protected left turns from Peace onto Glenwood, and vice versa

  3. Jake, at Peace & Glenwood, the 2 directions that left turns are allowed are already protected. It would probably slow down traffic alot to add protected lefts for the other 2 directions. Maybe at Eastbound Glenwood to Southbound Boylan it would make sense with that blind hill there.

  4. I live in this hood and am okay with the current lane configuration. Given that the area south of Peace is a grid, one has other options than to turn onto Peace if it’s not ones final destination. For example, a southbound car can continue through Peace and turn left at either Johnson or Tucker. Once on Johnson or Tucker, one can continue onto and through Glenwood if necessary. The beauty of the grid is only realized when one uses it effectively. Frankly, I try to stay off of Peace and allow it to be used for through-traffic.

  5. I too live in this hood…within sight of Peace/Glenwood actually. The changes in this plan are primarily cosmetic but badly needed. Peace Street East though still doesn’t cover all of it. It ends at the railraod overpass. The stretch from the railroad to Halifax Street will be a remaining unsightly, unwieldy cluster. Who knows…maybe McCrory’s Project Phoenix will get at some of this since the State is the primary reason this last stretch sucks….but not getting my hopes up. One bug safety item not getting any attention is the little hump on Peace between McDonalds and Subway….can’t see any oncoming traffic on either side of it. Both buildings are already sunken down a little from the road elevation so shaving say two feet off that hump would get us closer to being able to see from Glenwood to St Marys unobstructed without expensive retaining walls to hold up parking lot elevations.

  6. @Mark, great comments!
    point well taken about the hump in the road. In the end, my fantasy would be that the new McDonald’s would be removed and replaced with development that isn’t suburban in nature. It was a HUGE mistake made by the city to allow it to be developed as such recently. Now we are stuck with this suburban corner right in the middle of that stretch of Peace. It makes me angry every time I think about it or look at it. Maybe a developer will make that owner an offer he can’t refuse by combining that property with adjacent ones to the west for redevelopment to include an urban model McD’s? Well, at least in my dreams.

  7. @Mark, the City can’t tell a landowner what they can and can’t do with their land if it is zoned as commercial site and their plans are approved (meet code) then it will be built. Council doesn’t approve the sites. They only deal with if planning comm etc then council as the Dunn Road site they have been putting off since it is HOT. Lord they are busy enough spending $. Peace St. changes are 8-10 years in the planning stage but I thought the City was broke after Nancy’s state of the City address. 100 million for dix, 7 million for Moore square bus station, Moore Square on hold 10 million, and 1.5 million for market & one exchange plaza. As for this project yes the hump is probably their as to lower the street would require storm, water, & sewer replacement $$$ for the lower grade. It will be a great project to replace curb, street cuts, and sidewalks with some new landscaping. Then the state will work on Capital & Peace interchange. As for the left turns you are all suppose to ride your bikes. :)

  8. The City actually made McDonald’s push a facade type structure to the road in order to conceal the drive-thru lane.

    The best action the city can take to prevent things like the McDonald’s at Cameron Village or Peace Street is to adopt stricter design guidelines for those districts. For instance, NO drive-thru lanes that separate the building from the sidewalk.

    A good example of this was how the city made hampton inn relocate their proposed drop-off lane to the side of their building instead of glenwood, which would’ve seriously disrupted the urban streetscape.

  9. @Brian…I’m not the one who suggested the City could stop a McDonalds from building….that was John.
    Squirrelchat correctly points out that zoning and site modifications are the best a City can do to regulate impacts of any particular building going in. I imagine streetscape improvements will encourage more development along Peace…perhaps the SE corner of Boylan and Peace will have its condo building proposal resurrected or maybe Fallons or Mr Pizzas buildings will get a look from people with deep pockets. My only hope is that the houses on the north of Peace (I realize most of these are businesses now) stay houses and do not get torn down…there once was a proposal to tear down the whole Glenwood/Hinsdale/Peace/Boylan block for three story 750k dollar “brownstones”. I love rowhomes but not at the expense of the existing 80 year old stuff currently there.

  10. @mark@dwight The brownstone project died long time ago. I knew one of the developers. The area that is ready to take off is the area along Harrington and West and between glen wood south and Hillsborough street. Charter square north about to hit :). Charlotte is nice and they were smarter than raleigh and put their sports stadiums downtown.

  11. The city has a Peace Street streetscape plan that they practically ignored as they allowed the “all drive thru” site plan of that McDonald’s. The city didn’t demand the facade be pushed forward to conceal the drive thru as much as the developer pushed the facade forward to “conform” to the streetscape plan that the city previously adopted.
    I am not against a McDonald’s being there. I am against the suburban form of it that is like their new McDonald’s in suburbia “anywhere”.
    Here’s what an urban model McD’s could have been at that location and it would have reinforced the urban streetscape instead of interrupting it at such a prominent corner.
    Guess what? This McD’s is also on a corner and still has a drive-thru too. It’s just buried behind the building and accessed on the side street only instead of completely circling the building and accessed by cars on both streets.

  12. @mike, hahahaha while I do (completely) agree with you, it’s like they say: you can polish a turd….

  13. @Mke. That is an example of how to put a McDonald’s in an urban area. It’s not about the particular aesthetics of the storefront. This is about site planning. That stretch will never live up to its potential with suburban model development. I have very little hope for the stretch of Peace between St. Mary’s and Glenwood without some serious change to how the existing streetscape plan is interpreted and implemented.

  14. There was actually a presentation on this McDonalds a while back. The city admits that this was a lost opportunity due to a lack of regulation already in place. The presentation made the point to other cities to consider suburban regulation in walkable districts before someone comes forward with a plan, because unless that business volunteers, your hands are tied.

  15. @CX – Well, admitting you have a problem is a first step! Did the city admit that, in the process of approving the project, none of the owners/residents of the Paramount were notified of the hearings as required by law and/or city procedure? I know this to be true because I went to the city planning department and investigated it. They couldn’t find any record of this occurring. Needless to say, they had egg on their faces but it was too late by then. What a huge blunder.
    The sad thing is that the city already had its Peace Street Streetscape plan in place with what I presume was a mechanism intended to keep this sort of suburban development from happening.

  16. Peace st could benefit from a trolley / streetcar system from Krispy Kreme to Cameron Village connecting with a trolley on Salisbury from Seaboard to Memorial Auditorium. Don’t waste money on sidewalks and planting trees, let the future developers deal with the aesthetics.

  17. John, you should read the actual streetscape plan from then before complaining about what should or shouldn’t have been done.

    Regardless, this plan by the City is a big step in the right direction. Hopefully the empty lot at Boylan will finally see some development now!

  18. @Bam, I drew up a very similar street car plan! I had 6 lines though with three north-south and three east-west.

  19. Running the R line on that path would be way faster to implement and cheaper… Though not as cool

  20. Actually I was thinking rubber on road but half the size of the R line with more frequency. Like say our little Raleigh Trolleys currently in use for tours and such…

  21. @Mike
    I did.

    There are two empty lots on Boylan. One is the tiny sliver lot behind the McDonald’s that’s owned by Centreline and the one on the corner of Johnson is owned by Raleigh’s Housing Authority.
    The smaller lot was going to be a 14 unit “green” condo before the 2008 crash. I just can’t image that happening now. Whatever might go there is probably a better bet when combined with the other lot on the corner. That said, I doubt anything happens with that lot as long as Glenwood Towers exists in its current form.
    If I was Centreline, I’d be trying to buy that adjacent parcel. As it stands now, I’d certainly not want to develop that sliver given one side is the back of a McDonald’s drive through and the other side is a huge unknown.
    The Gaston side of that block is another interesting collection of parcels; there are 7 altogether on that west side. That would be a lot of work and expense to buy them all out to do something significant and impactful. With that McDonald’s sitting there, I can imagine all those parcels around it just sitting there for another decade before anything happens. I hope that I am wrong.

  22. I think the Rail Road bridge is why the R-Line doesn’t run down there? Do any buses fit under that thing?
    Or maybe it’s cuz you can’t turn left on Glenwood. I dunno. If not the first, then the latter.

  23. Any renderings of Charter North Tower?
    Any updated renderings of the hotel to be built next to convention center?

  24. Along that line Anthony, does anyone know the the remaining percentage of the building needs unleased. That may be an indicator on how soon we expect to see the North Tower b in reality.

  25. Saw a rumor that 518 West on Glenwood is closing because Google Fiber is putting their HQ there. Wonder if there’s any truth to that. Cool space….

  26. With so much news of Development Downtown, What about the others areas of DT like Moore Square or Capital District. I stumble upon a website here (WTVD11) news,That the Govenor wanted federal funding from the State to revitalize some of the Old Buildings around the Capital District near Peace Street. (AKA Archdale Building) According to the Report from the Gov.McCrory these buildings are Half used and Outdated. The news report was back in Sept.2014 He also added that New Offices Restaraunts and Retail even open space would be a welcome addition to the Capital District and expand the Downtown Area.One of many reasons that Downtown is Booming and Booming even more, What Out Charlotte.!!

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