Three Plans On The Table For New Park at Devereux Meadow

The city held a virtual open house in May, 2021 about a future urban park at the Devereux Meadow site. The site sits just north of Peace Street directly west of Capital Boulevard. It’s currently being used to store city vehicles but that will all be moved soon. Jump into the video above for the full 2-hour details, or 1 hour and 20 min if you watch it at 1.5x speed, the preferred watching speed here at DTRaleigh HQ.

You can also check out the project page on the city’s website for the slides and contact information: Devereux Meadow Project

There’s even a survey for you to fill out.

Devereux Meadow has popped in and out of the blog over the years as the site has been mentioned for future plans going back all the way to a 2011 Capital Boulevard Corridor study. That street is well documented on this site and I even have a post up about the baseball field that was built in 1938 right next to Capital. Finally, the Devereux Meadow site has been planned to become a park as part of the 2015 Downtown Plan which I covered here.

The session and presentation is quite nice and in addition contains some history. Even more history can be watched in an additional video.

Getting back to the present, the plans for the urban park are starting to materialize as the city is in the process of finalizing the schematic design. The construction of the park itself is still unfunded but could be on a future, this year even, parks bond.

The team is presenting three concepts for your review and I’d like to share each one below. The main points of each plan address the Pigeon House Branch creek in different ways and I think everything else kind of reacts around it.

Line Drive

The Line Drive concept is the first one in the list and does the least, relatively, to the creek compared to the other two plans. The creek “is stabilized in place, with stream shelf and instream structures to promote floodplain connectivity and bedform diversity.” A portion of the creek that is currently covered in concrete would remain.

This plans comes in as the cheapest and the report sums up how it stacks up against the rest with:

“Stabilization in place of the current stream. Aqueduct, site access road and Dortch Street culverts remain, leaving no room for stream alignment or grade manipulation. Incorporation of a stream shelf promotes floodplain connectivity, and instream structures develop bedform diversity. Lowest cost, lowest ecological uplift.”

Sculpt

The Sculpt concept is the “middle” option, for lack of a better word, as this one has some work being done to the stream and the cost is in-between the other two. This plan opens up the creek a bit as that concrete cap on the southern end is removed. The creek “is restored in place, with increased stream bench and instream structures for greater habitat and flood capacity and bedform diversity.”

The high-level states:

“Removal of the concrete cap over the aqueduct and limited manipulation of the stream alignment and profile. Increased extent of stream bench for greater habitat and flood capacity. Instream structures develop bedform diversity. Moderate cost, moderate ecological uplift.”

Meander

Meander would offer the most significant transformation. As you can see, the stream is practically reconfigured on the site and would offer flowing walking paths alongside. In this plan, “Pigeon House Branch is realigned, with stream and floodplain designed to maximize floodplain connection, habitat health and visitor interaction.”

There’s also the most opportunities for programming and public uses of the space. As the report states:

“Total relocation of the stream alignment and profile. Stream and floodplain design are based on bankfull hydrology and maximize floodplain connection and function. Greatest potential for visitor interaction, diverse habitat communities, and incorporation of stormwater treatment. Highest cost, highest ecological uplift.”

Which one do you like? Make sure and take the survey and give the city your thoughts.

For me, I go back and forth between Sculpt and Meander but I think Sculpt gets my vote. There’s a line of oak trees, referred to as the Oak Allée, on the western side where new oaks would be planted as part of Sculpt. The other two plans don’t have that. In addition to opening up the stream on both plans, this just seems like a nice element to have in the future, once the new oaks mature.

Finally, I have to share some old photos I took when I lurked around the area in 2012. You can see the concrete cap over the creek and some of the oak trees. These are around the southwestern side of the site.

What positives or negatives do you see? Come over to the Community and discuss it with us.

Pic of the Week

The old Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street has now been removed.

Torn apart and dismantled during the night throughout the last few weeks, the bridge that was close to reaching its end-of-life and has stood up over Peace for over 50 years is no more.

The “square-loop” traffic pattern is more and more coming into place around the new bridge, which already has traffic flowing in both directions. With the northbound exit to Peace now open, the next major connection should be the new Peace to Capital on-ramp (and Cotton Mill entrance) road.

I’m really hoping to see this project wrap up this year as was planned.

Zooming In Underneath the Capital Boulevard Bridge

On the left, the new Capital Boulevard bridge under construction. Center-right is the old bridge. April 2018.

On the left, the new Capital Boulevard bridge under construction. Center-right is the old bridge. April 2018.

Here are some observations from a walk along Peace Street, specifically underneath the new Capital Boulevard bridge. The photo above shows the old bridge, on the right, and the new bridge, on the left. You can see with the upgraded design that a lot of space is reclaimed when you compare the old “rock mound foundation” versus the “concrete wall foundation” of the new. (like my technical terms?)

It’s almost a vehicle lane, about 12-14 feet, on each side!

This made me pull out the map and below is the one shared from the NCDOT project page. When looking at it, up is West (peace going up/down) with Capital going left-to-right and the dark red being the new bridge.

Map of Peace Street project.

Click for a larger, zoomed out view of Peace Street.

What is great to see is that while Peace is wider, it will still be a two-lane road just like today. The additional space is being given to turns lanes but also wider sidewalks and bike lanes. The bike lanes aren’t very clear on this map but if you look hard, they are there.

I will say that some of the added road space is going toward center turn lanes also. Either way, the road has to slim down because the CSX bridge to the east isn’t getting any wider.

Anyway, it’s cool to see this come together one small piece at a time.

The Second Clearing of Smokey Hollow

Email readers: This blog post has a virtual reality image. Read the post on the blog to see it.
Standing on Capital Boulevard looking west, December 2017.

Click for larger

One day, I was riding south into downtown on Capital Boulevard and caught a glimpse to the west towards Glenwood South. The clearing of so many buildings just struck me and I had to come back to take some photos. This would have really been nice to have a drone for this post but either way the photo above attempts to show how much has been cleared.

Between Johnson and Peace, Capital and West Streets almost all buildings have been demolished this year. With the help of iMaps, I estimate about 6.5 acres have been cleared in just this area.

History repeats itself?

Well, probably not. A residential neighborhood, the late Smoky Hollow, isn’t being cleared again but the state is still flexing its eminent domain muscle for highway improvements. Let’s hope this time it sticks.

Map of area between Peace and Johnson, West and Capital Boulevard.

Click for larger. Note the new Johnson Street connection already planned for. Next, the Harrington connection to Peace.

The photo is from the west side of Capital Boulevard with the new bridge over Peace Street directly to my right. I will probably not be able to get an exact after-shot once that project is complete but I’ll certainly try. (safely)

First to watch is the 12-story residential tower called Peace, formerly Smokey Hollow, at the corner of West and Peace Street. It was announced that a Publix grocery store would anchor the ground-floor space of this project. I bet that’s a huge selling point for more development in this area.

That’s all that’s confirmed at this time but I’m sure there will be more coming and with it all currently zoned for a maximum of 12-stories, an entirely new neighborhood (dare I say Smoky Hollow?) could be created with that kind of density. (by Raleigh standards anyway)

For more views, here’s a VR shot I took while up there. If you can’t see the embedded VR view, try seeing it directly on the blog.

[UPDATE: 12-19-17, a RalCon reader has submitted a different view of the area from the 510 Glenwood building.]
View of the area looking east, December 2017.

Click for larger

A Walk Up Peace Street

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017

Warning! (or treat!) This will be an image-heavy post.

I had the pleasure of taking a walk up Peace Street recently, during rush hour, to witness all the demolition and work taking place around the Capital Boulevard bridge. We’ve all been following the work in this area for awhile but when you walk it, it’s truly at another level.

I’ll write a little and then let the photos do the talking.

The Capital Boulevard work is really in full swing here as clearing for the new bridge over Peace Street takes place. Buildings have been demolished and old foundations chipped away to make way for the Square Loop.

At this time, construction fencing is up around the Smokey Hollow site. Even more demolition should be taking place in the coming weeks for the 12-story mixed-use project.

In the pipeline also is the West Peace Street Streetscape project, adding more chaos to the street in the future.

It’s a swarm of development in such a short amount of time. The end of 2019 should see all the street work wrap up for us to enjoy it.

I’m starting to think that the state’s Capital Boulevard project would be this decade’s most impactful public-funded project taking place in downtown Raleigh. (Fayetteville Street being the clear winner in the 2000s) I wanted it to be Union Station but so much is going on here that I think this edges it out.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. The former Fairway Advertising.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. The former Finch’s restaurant.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

West Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

West Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

Johnson and Harrington Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow and future Johnson Street connector.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

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.

Upcoming: Smokey Hollow, Peace Street, and Seaboard Station

This is what it is like to take a walk downtown with @dtraleigh

A photo posted by Jennifer Suarez (@jenniferraleigh) on

Readers of the blog should not be surprised that there is a lot of momentum coming soon to Peace Street. The Smoky Hollow project near Peace and West, Devereux Meadow park, the new Capital Boulevard bridge, and new developments in Seaboard Station, including a Harris Teeter, are all going to dramatically change the look of Peace Street.

I went out there to take photos and I’m putting some lengthier stuff together, which I hope to finish soon.

Speaking of the bridge over Peace, put August 18 on your calendar as a public meeting about the Capital Boulevard bridge replacement project is planned.

Stay tuned.

Municipography, Capital Boulevard Bridges

Capital Boulevard going over Peace Street

Capital Boulevard going over Peace Street

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.

I recommend email readers click through to the website to see the embedded video.

During last week’s city council meeting, there was a presentation with the latest updates on the bridge replacement projects that are going to take place on Capital Boulevard. This is a topic that’s been covered here on the blog for almost five years and we’re now under a year until construction starts.

If you need to play catch up, I recommend reading about the planned ‘square loop’ design here:

In addition to the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street being replaced, Wade Avenue at Capital is also being replaced.


If the video does not show for you, click here.

Eric Lamb, Transportation Planning Manager for the city, gave a brief overview of the latest updates of the project. Here are some notes I took:

  • The project will remove the Jersey barriers and glare screens going down the middle of Capital and a landscaped median will be put in.
  • Seeing as how this is an NCDOT/City of Raleigh collaboration project, NCDOT will cover base costs with Raleigh covering enhancements like aesthetics, lights, etc.
  • The city’s share for the project is now estimated to be between $12 and $13 million.
  • During construction, one northbound lane on Capital will be closed for about two years.
  • At some times, Capital will be closed entirely but crews will focus on nights and weekend closings.
  • The official detour will be to use Blount Street and Person Street/Wake Forest Road.
  • The new bridges will have an art deco design maintaining a theme with nearby railraod bridges.

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street without columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street without columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street with columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street with columns. Click for larger.

The major enhancements of each bridge primarily revolve around adding either lights or decorative columns or both. As you can see in the rendering, the columns could have public art on top of them of some sort. Only a concept is shown in the rendering not the final art piece.

Of course, the more you add, the higher the cost becomes. City staff broke it down into four available options.

  • Option 1: Full enhancements to both bridges: +$2.4 million
  • Option 2: No treatments at Wade, full enhancements at Peace: +$1.16 million
  • Option 3: Enhance both bridges, including lights but no columns: +$1.61 million
  • Option 4: Enhance both bridges without columns or lights: +$1.21 million

Full breakdown of costs for Peace Street.

  • With columns and lights: +$1.25 million
  • With lights: +$860,000
  • Without lights: +$660,000

Full breakdown of costs for Wade Avenue.

  • With columns and lights: +$1.16 million
  • With lights: +$748,000
  • Without lights: +$548,000

Those figures make it seem like lights are a $200,000 cost per bridge. The columns come in around $400,000 per bridge.

Option 3 seemed to be, according to the light conversation, the one councilors preferred but no decisions were made at this time. There is still more work to be done to prepare an agreement with NCDOT and when those details are more solid, there will be a followup presentation. That will probably take place in a few months.

Construction will first start at Wade in July 2016 with Peace Street seeing work in July 2017. Everything should wrap up during the Summer of 2019.

On a slightly related note, I haven’t covered the Wade Avenue bridge much but I did notice this one little jewel in the renderings. Take a look at the Wade Avenue bridge design below. The right-most portion shows a greenway trail going underneath.

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns. Click for larger.

We know that the city wants to get a greenway to go along Capital and the Pigeon House Branch Creek which is mostly buried. In the future, the creek may be opened up and we all can walk or bike along it starting from a park that sits just north of Peace Street between Capital and West Street.

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns

The rendering suggests that there are plans to keep a connection open here at the bridge for such a future project. Good stuff!