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Hillsborough Street - NCSU Area developments


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^ Good points. That alone would help as much as the storefront renovations or marketing aspects, if not more.

I'm not sure if they'd be legally able to hire private security to patrol public sidewalks, but at the very least they can have roving "ambassadors" like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance has. Even this would help create a presence of authority and surveillance enough that the vagrants would hopefully be discouraged from much of their typical behavior.

And since the proposed district covers way more than the NCSU stretch...including the Ashe Ave intersection area, where things get much more sketchy, I'm glad security is on the top of their list.

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  • 2 months later...

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7-Story Hilton Garden Inn by PNC Arena Not a Hillsborough St location, but a PNC Arena spot (which is NCSU related). Looks like a great asset for the area. Also close to SAS Institute and RDU. 

1912 Hillsborough Street:  The View on Pullen Circle.  35 condos (1 and 2 bedroom options)  https://www.theviewraleigh.com/press-release-the-view-on-pullen-circle-raleigh-nc/

Drive up Hillsborough St and love that classic Arbys sign hope if never falls as I know the city won't allow it to be rebuilt.  that Aloft looks great.  this time of year you can see things behin

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  • 1 month later...

^ Yep, they are building a big metal awning on the right side as you face the property from the street. I guess that will be the parking entrance to the site.

Then, down the street a bit, there's an investor in the Electric Company Mall. He has plans to renovate the bldg and re-lease to coincide with the streetscape project next year.

One of my visions for the street is for someone to buy back the old theater (McDonalds) and reopen it as it once was. Every time I pass that wonderful marquee I just cringe at how it's being underused now.

The other (which would support the first--reduce parking demand) is to reintroduce streetcars from downtown down the street to the multimodal center.

Maybe one day...

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  • 2 months later...

I just noticed that 90% design schematics were posted last month on the Hillsborough Street Partnership's website.

The schedule states that the contract will go out to bid this month, construction will begin in May, and be complete in September 2010.

Just to recap. The first phase covers construction from Gardner to Oberlin, including a roundabout at Pullen, and the Pullen extension. Utilities will be buried as well. From what I can see, the sidewalks won't be widened, but street trees will be added and bulb-outs will be installed at the intersections.

Anyway, this project can't be done soon enough. 2010 sounds like a long time from now, and that's only for phase 1!

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Lulu has completed their renovation of the old NC Equipment Company building and have moved in. On Monday, I noticed a few employees coming over to Cup a Joe (I had the day off...MLK) on their break. The renovation looks great...reminds me of American Tobacco, especially the McKinney & Silver offices. Historic rehab at its best....and this wasn't even a particularly old or significant building other than its sign. It does represent a time when this portion of the City was an industrial focus during the 30's and 40's...all I can say is why would anyone want to work in RTP when they could work ITB within walking distance of a coffee shop, sub shop, indian food, a handful a car repair shops (convenient indeed), a Snoopy's, Arby's, asian food...all right on several major bus routes too.

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^ I noticed that too. It's going to be a nice space for sure, and the whole area will be much more ready for economic development once the street is redone, Stanhope area is redeveloped all the way to the street, and the new BID district takes shape (that will form the DRA-type organization for the street).

I glanced at the plans, and I really think people will like it... the LEDs are going to be a nice touch. Two things will be interesting: how the businesses weather the many months of utility and road construction, and how drivers react to a two-lane roundabout at Pullen--one of the few (only?) in the state of NC.

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I know of one other two-lane roundabout in the state. Not to say there aren't more, but that's all I'm aware of.

IMO the part of Hillsborough Street near Lulu, from Dan Allen to Stanhope, is the part that most desperately needs attention. The power lines are unbelievably ugly, and the poles on both sides of the street are extremely tall, and bend a bit. They look like they might collapse any minute under the weight of the lines they carry. The street looks like it hasn't been properly repaved in 25 years, and the sidewalk probably hasn't been repaired in 50.

The right-of-way is much narrower than the rest of Hillsborough - between Cup a Joe and Capital Comics there's only about 60 feet to work with. I'm curious how they will handle that. I'd like to see parallel parking on both sides of the street, since parallel parking is IMO the best buffer between sidwalk and street, but that will be tough given the constraints. Maybe something like:

10 foot sidewalk, 7' parking, 13' lane, 13' lane, 7' parking, 10' sidewalk

would be OK. That doesn't leave much room for bikes, though.

For comparison, the part in front of the university is planned to have:

8' sidewalk, 7.5' parking, 5' buffer, 11' lane, 7' median, 11' lane, 5' buffer, 7.5' parking, 13-16' sidewalk (74'-77' right-of-way)

The 8' sidewalk is on the university side, the 13-16' sidewalk is on the commercial side.

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If you look at the feasbility study, which IIRC is the only official document that has analyzed that segment, & add in similar dimensions from the current project, it appears as though the concept would extend the median from the proposed Dixie Trail roundabout towards the Stanhope Village area with something close to the following configuration:

10' sidewalk/utility strip, 5' bike lane, 11' auto lane, 7' median, 11' auto lane, 5' bike lane, 7' parking, 10' sidewalk/utility strip... of course that's 66ft, and I guess that wouldn't fit. I'm pretty sure the median is required by DOT to limit access for turning traffic (improve safety), and you probably need 7 feet to make it a legit ped refuge consistent with the current project... so it's possible the bike lane/buffer could be reduced to a 13.5 ft shared auto/bike lane, which is a commonly used dimension and would yield 61 ft, but if you slightly narrowed one sidewalk (NCSU side), you would have this:

9' sidewalk/utility strip, 13.5' shared lane, 7' median, 13.5' shared lane, 7' parking, 10' sidewalk/utility strip = 60ft.

That would squeeze in space for sidewalks/lighting/benches/trees, bikes/cars/buses, & parking on one side (Cup-A-Joe side). It would be a tight fit, but there's limited room & opportunities for much else.

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I guess what I was saying is that I'd rather lose the median for a block and have parking on both sides (because of the buffer effect) but thinking about it, I think you're right that ditching the median might not be possible.

The median in the current design was probably necessary not because of safety, but because it turns every driveway and minor street into a right-in, right-out movement. This is probably what makes a two-lane configuration possible in the first place, from a traffic flow standpoint. The original plan called for a bunch of roundabouts, which were probably put in not because they look cool, but because they would allow U-turns in order to access the minor streets and driveways. The current plan abandons that, basically saying screw the minor streets and driveways. And that should become less of a problem as driveways are eventually eliminated through redevelopment.

But anyway, with no median, there would be nothing to prevent WB traffic on Hillsborough from turning left onto Concorde (next to Lulu) and EB traffic from turning left onto Daisy (next to Cup A Joe).

I kind of think since they're putting in a median, and since it's so wide, why not do something to it to prevent jaywalking? Like plant shrubs or install some sort of attractive barrier. I always cross Hillsborough at a crosswalk, and it never takes me more than 10 seconds out of the way. I don't think such a barrier is planned, though.

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Other than pedestrian issues, the only traffic issue Hillsborough ever has had is left turns. Even with its normal medium-size volume, a single car waiting to turn left heading EB can stop traffic along the entire street. I always thought a simple 2 foot wide median from like Concord to Logan Court with enough parking given up near intersections to allow room for about 3 cars or so making a left in an actual left turn lane, is really all the street needs regarding traffic solutions....

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The median in the current design was probably necessary not because of safety, but because it turns every driveway and minor street into a right-in, right-out movement. This is probably what makes a two-lane configuration possible in the first place, from a traffic flow standpoint. The original plan called for a bunch of roundabouts, which were probably put in not because they look cool, but because they would allow U-turns in order to access the minor streets and driveways. The current plan abandons that, basically saying screw the minor streets and driveways. And that should become less of a problem as driveways are eventually eliminated through redevelopment.

But anyway, with no median, there would be nothing to prevent WB traffic on Hillsborough from turning left onto Concorde (next to Lulu) and EB traffic from turning left onto Daisy (next to Cup A Joe).

I kind of think since they're putting in a median, and since it's so wide, why not do something to it to prevent jaywalking? Like plant shrubs or install some sort of attractive barrier. I always cross Hillsborough at a crosswalk, and it never takes me more than 10 seconds out of the way. I don't think such a barrier is planned, though.

You got it. The initial goals of the plan for Hillsborough Street were to improve economic development opportunities, make the area more of destination, rather than a through street, and improve safety for all modes. For economic development purposes, increasing on-street parking needed to be a part of the equation. But, when you add parking, you take away throughput (given there's only so much space). So narrowing the roadway to 2 lanes made the median/roundabouts a necessary component to control left turns (fewer crashes & less severity) while still distributing traffic to neighboring properties & streets, which in turn improves throughput and safety while reducing vehicle speed.

Of course, in order to get the thing approved they had to compromise on the roundabout at Horne, but I assume an analysis was done that shows it can handle the traffic (~30k vehicles/day). And I'm guessing the median width was driven by standard minimums for ped refuges... with the thinking being if you have to have a median in a heavily traveled pedestrian environment, there needs to be accommodations for peds even if most people can cross the entire width in one signal length... so it couldn't be of the 2ft variety.

My guess on the barrier would be that it would hurt visibility and could be considered a safety hazard, so it might do more harm than good.

I was originally against altering the roundabout plan (Horne), but in any case, I'm confident the project we have is a good one and so long as the university plays a more active role in economic development of the area (given it is the majority property owner-->Brooks lot & North Hall) and the next leg of the project west of Gardner is done in reasonably short order, the comprehensive plan for the area will succeed.

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Other than pedestrian issues, the only traffic issue Hillsborough ever has had is left turns. Even with its normal medium-size volume, a single car waiting to turn left heading EB can stop traffic along the entire street. I always thought a simple 2 foot wide median from like Concord to Logan Court with enough parking given up near intersections to allow room for about 3 cars or so making a left in an actual left turn lane, is really all the street needs regarding traffic solutions....

I mostly agree on that for the NCSU stretch.

For the west downtown stretch, I'd add that the timing of the stoplights for St.Marys/Boylan/Glenwood are absolutely horrible at rush hour. (Almost as bad as W. Peace Street, but without the turning lane.)

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Re: critics of the purported traffic worsening effects of turning Hillsborough into less of a thoroughfare, check out this report from Scientific American (the print edition this month has a more detailed version of this) which describes recent studies showing that reducing capacity and certain "shortcuts" actually improves traffic flow...by changing the behavior of so-called selfish drivers (I guess the same guys who wait until the last minute to merge when there is a lane drop) Link

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  • 4 weeks later...

The first Hillsborough Street Renaissance Festival is March 14. They are closing the street down... games, drinks, food, etc.

Sounds pretty cool. If I've got free time that day I think I already planned to be downtown for the Saint Patrick's festivities...but I definitely wish these folks good luck with this event!

---

Though I am confused by this line from the event's website: "For the first time since its original construction in 1972, Hillsborough Street will be closed for an all day eco-friendly arts & music festival on Saturday, March 14th."

1972?? Don't they mean 1872 or something? :dontknow:

Edited by RaleighRob
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---

Though I am confused by this line from the event's website: "For the first time since its original construction in 1972, Hillsborough Street will be closed for an all day eco-friendly arts & music festival on Saturday, March 14th."

1972?? Don't they mean 1872 or something? :dontknow:

Hillsborough Street is most likely part of the original network of indian paths in this area (US 401 is a known such path). At its worst it was the pre-colonial "highway" from New Bern to Hillsborough.

Edited by Jones133
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They aren't going to do big changes to the building, and they aren't announcing their plans now. I will say, though, that the plan will work quite well in any economy given their new neighbors to the east. ;)

Sandwich/coffee shop to serve the new law school perhaps?

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^That would probably be the smartest use of that building that I can think of. (Not just the law school, but the hotel next door...it makes sense.)

Similarly, if we ever get that downtown bookstore that we've been craving for years, the stretch of Hillsborough between Glenwood and Dawson would make a good amount of sense. Near the law school......decent on-street parking...but also plenty of empty storefronts to choose from.

Edited by RaleighRob
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Yeah, that stretch of Hillsborough has a ton of potential as is. The traffic speed is also slow and conducive to pedestrians, the trees are mature and make a nice canopy, and of course its sandwiched nicely between all the other nameable districts downtown. I never could figure out what to do with the building being discussed but a coffee/sandwich shop would be a good fit I think. I had been trying to think of a good place for one between Helios and Morning Times/Port City, something with a Third Place type feel since Third Place took themselves off the map with the early closing times.

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Yeah, that stretch of Hillsborough has a ton of potential as is. The traffic speed is also slow and conducive to pedestrians, the trees are mature and make a nice canopy, and of course its sandwiched nicely between all the other nameable districts downtown. I never could figure out what to do with the building being discussed but a coffee/sandwich shop would be a good fit I think. I had been trying to think of a good place for one between Helios and Morning Times/Port City, something with a Third Place type feel since Third Place took themselves off the map with the early closing times.

off topic, but did we ever figure out why Third Place started closing early? Were all those hipsters hanging out there at all hours of the evening not purchasing anything? Seemed like an extremely dumb move to me, given the audience they were catering to, but I wasn't looking at their revenue numbers...

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off topic, but did we ever figure out why Third Place started closing early? Were all those hipsters hanging out there at all hours of the evening not purchasing anything? Seemed like an extremely dumb move to me, given the audience they were catering to, but I wasn't looking at their revenue numbers...

Owner was trying to save money by not shucking out for electricity when it got darker.

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Owner was trying to save money by not shucking out for electricity when it got darker.

I think Dave and Jill got tired of trying to get decent help at night. They only cared about their high-end daytime people but 7pm is a pretty dumb time to close. Either close at 2pm after lunch is over, or take it all the way to 10 so the after dinner dessert crowd can get their fix. Lights are cheap. One light bulb costs like a dollar a month. Morning Times has it right with the 10 pm close. If our Hillsborough Street space gets a coffee shop hopefully it goes to 10 or 12 to serve the student crowd...and the displaced Third Place people...and Helios people who would like a wireless router that actually has band width.

Tryst in DC is still one of the top coffee shop business models I have seen.

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