Moore Square Master Plan Updates

Proposed design for Moore Square, April 2015

Proposed design for Moore Square, April 2015. Click for larger.

This week, I was invited to participate in the Moore Square Master Plan Public Leadership Group. (PLG) The group consists of individuals from a variety of organizations that may have interests in Moore Square and the upcoming redesign. This included people from the state, the city, neighborhood groups/CACs, and nearby businesses. I was there as a rep from the Raleigh Downtown Living Advocates and just active downtown resident.

The group met at Market Hall and were hosted by the city and Sasaki Associates, the group behind the Downtown Experience Plan. We all discussed the aspects that we were most excited about as well as most concerned about.

Above is the handout that we got and I scanned it in to share here with readers. Those that have been following along should recognize almost all of it as this is the same plan that has been on hold since maybe as far back as 2010.

The proposed design revolves around four central themes:

  • Gateway plazas – Large entrances that invite people into the square.
  • Event Spaces – Areas for a stage or tent to support events.
  • Street Edges – Along the perimeter, a subtle edge is created to give the square a sense of defined space.
  • Family Spaces – An area of mounds and natural play areas for children to climb and roam.

Uses of the square were discussed, with the intent to gather lots of feedback about what people want to experience in the square so that the design may attempt to accommodate. These activities were broken out into themes as well. They were Food, Health, Learn, Shop, Gather, Art, Relax, and Play.

Activities are more like yoga classes, food carts, history walking tours, or other meetups. More emphasis was put on small-scale, inclusive activities rather than ticketed large-scale events. (something we’re used to seeing now in Moore Square)

Some of the biggest concerns in the proposal from the group were:

  • Design had to promote safety.
  • Concerns over a possible public restroom.
  • Felt that the public sector shouldn’t run a cafe/kiosk with businesses nearby.

The installation of a cafe/kiosk may not even be allowed as the state and/or historic commissions may prohibit permanent structures on the square. If you didn’t know, Moore Square is state-owned land that is leased to the city. If built however, the cafe would be leased out to a private business to operate, similar to the cafe that is in Pullen Park today.

There was an open house yesterday and one tonight but you can still get your comments in about the proposal on this thread over at Your Parks Your Future.

The timeline puts construction taking place in “2016/2017” according to the city’s website project page.

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  1. Thanks for the detailed image and info! Overall I think this looks great, and I just wish they could push up the construction timeline to be 2015/2016. My two thoughts are about the cafe and the safety concerns.

    Obviously if many people at the open house are local businesses, they may not love a cafe to compete with. However, I can see a number of benefits to having something that serves a very limited menu to keep families in the park. It’s not going to be direct competition to Bida Manda or Battistella’s, so why not try for it if it’s possible?

    As far as the safety, I think the elephant in the room is obviously the homeless/drifter population which congregates at the transit center, the park, and the various shelters/kitchens nearby. No one is going to bring their children to play in a park where they don’t feel safe. Was a plan presented how to improve that aspect of the area? Moving the shelters away from the CBD, requiring people at the transit center to actually have a ticket for a bus and not just be loitering, and having police patrol the park and enforcing panhandling, loitering, littering, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct ordinances would go a long way, in my opinion.

  2. Jeff, I should have mentioned that at the meeting, David Eatman was there representing Go Triangle (formerly Capital Area Transit) and his project of upgrading the Moore Square Transit station would have an impact here.

    A couple of things are in play here. This station is overloaded and there are plans on Union Station picking up more bus routes and connections in the future. Lots of planning is going into how Moore Square and Union Station can compliment each other but in the future, service volumes at Moore Square will be handled by only the north/south lanes. (not that lane that goes east/west in front of Moore Square) See this post below for a little more information:

    While there is a desire to keep that pedestrian connection from Fayetteville Street to Moore Square, in the future, new development may occur where that east/west bus lane is today. I think that grassy lot too would be included as well.

    It may not happen overnight but all the pieces are being considered and down the road it may just “click.”

  3. Ha, just realized how long it’s been since they came up with this design. Angelo’s Restaurant and Duck and Dumpling are still listed.

  4. Still remember my sis and I finding a used drug needle under one of the benches where we were sitting at during one of the artsplosure fests of the late 90’s. And can’t forget about my teen years in the early 2000’s switching buses at moore square station. 15 years later, I still would not take children there to play. What are the plans for the homeless population?

  5. I’ve found needles in Cary. Anyway, considering the park is going to be closed and renovated, Salvation Army is out, and rent is going up as a whole, I feel that gentrification will rid anyone deemed ‘undesirable’ by developers.

  6. I’m not a fan of the Moore Square redesign (bit of a tangent here). I think they should’ve gone with a classical look to complement the historic look of City Market. Stone walls, brick and stone sidewalks, etc.

    While a modernist park could look good the design they chose just does nothing for me.

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