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Hillsborough Street - NCSU Area developments


orulz

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That would be a good spot for an Elmo's. We really need an Elmo's in Raleigh.

Hah! :thumbsup:

Before everyone was talking about Raising Ale going there, I was saying the exact same thing! PERFECT spot for Elmos to open a third location.

Let's all get on the horn and start planting the idea in their heads! :yahoo:

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I have been spending alot of time in Greensboro lately and noticed how nice Spring Garden through the UNCG campus is now. It too used to be somewhat of a dump. Several formerly private businesses are preserved as islands within a sea of campus, brick cross walks were put at every intersection to emphasize the pedestrian nature of the spot, medians were installed and it is just two travel lanes (one each direction) through a good part of the city now. Bike lanes were added west of campus to accomodate the mass of students that live on Spring Garden west of campus. Through campus it is well lighted with bus pull off lanes and new traffic signals......I have long thought the traffic circle concept was an unnecessary part of the Hillsborough St plan, and now have Spring Garden as an example of a well done makeover. I know Spring Garden is not the mass throroughfare that Hillsborough is but still think the work on Spiring Garden would work just as well on Hillsborough for alot less money than traffic circles. Is anyone else here familiar with both streets? Any thoughts on Spring Garden and if its style makeover would be enough for Hillsborough to benefit?

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I'm weary of the all these roundabouts and reducing the street to two lanes. Hillsborough street isn't a "destination", and won't be for some time. In my opinion, slowing traffic and reducing volume will only hurt H. street businesses.

I think building a parking deck or two and some streetscape work would make better use of the money. Eventually, developers will come back to Hillsborough street and we will see quality buildings and businesses. But until then, I think roundabouts will only make life worse.

The bottom line is that revamping Hillsborough street will take money, investment and developer interest. Raleigh is only so big, and all the focus right now is on downtown and Glenwood South.

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"I can't get over how reducing four lanes to two helps reduce congestion," council member Philip Isley said. "I may just be dense."

"I don't think people know how to drive on roundabouts here," said Schlukbier at Buddha's Belly.

There is a lot of confusion expressed in that article. People seem to be afraid of changing the street, and they ignore the fact that there has been a roundabout at Pullen Drive for about two years and people have adjusted fine. The bottom line is that you can't have a street that carries that much through traffic be a pedestrian-friendly roadway. There have to be some compromises, and if the businesses are ever going to recover along the street, something must be done to encourage businesses to locate there.

I think roundabouts will help safety (no left turns, no signals), improve the pedestrian experience (lower speeds, shorter cross-walks), and siphon longer distance travelers off the road over to Western Blvd, which can handle significantly higher volumes of traffic.

Also, I think we need to use Dr. Shoup's theory of charging a variable demand-based fee for parking (such that 15% of spaces are free at any one time) for this area. I know businesses will balk, but if you charge a nominal fee and use that money to finance additional improvements, it would likely generate enough revenue over time to pay for the entire road to be rebuilt, including burying the pricey--but unsightly--utilities, keeping the street clean, and even hiring security for those nasty bums :lol: .

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"I can't get over how reducing four lanes to two helps reduce congestion," council member Philip Isley said. "I may just be dense."

"I don't think people know how to drive on roundabouts here," said Schlukbier at Buddha's Belly.

There is a lot of confusion expressed in that article. People seem to be afraid of changing the street, and they ignore the fact that there has been a roundabout at Pullen Drive for about two years and people have adjusted fine. The bottom line is that you can't have a street that carries that much through traffic be a pedestrian-friendly roadway. There have to be some compromises, and if the businesses are ever going to recover along the street, something must be done to encourage businesses to locate there.

I think roundabouts will help safety (no left turns, no signals), improve the pedestrian experience (lower speeds, shorter cross-walks), and siphon longer distance travelers off the road over to Western Blvd, which can handle significantly higher volumes of traffic.

Also, I think we need to use Dr. Shoup's theory of charging a variable demand-based fee for parking (such that 15% of spaces are free at any one time) for this area. I know businesses will balk, but if you charge a nominal fee and use that money to finance additional improvements, it would likely generate enough revenue over time to pay for the entire road to be rebuilt, including burying the pricey--but unsightly--utilities, keeping the street clean, and even hiring security for those nasty bums :lol: .

I for one am not ignoring the roudabout on Pullen. I just don't think that is a good comparison with Hillsborough.

I'm very curious what the difference in volume is between Franklin in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. Franklin is a very pedestrian friendly in my opinion, and serves as an example that you can have both. Franklin however, draws in development and business by default. In Raleigh, developers are going to go where the money is, and right now there is more to be made in other districts. I don't think reducing traffic or roundabouts on Hillsborough is going to make them change their minds. A parking deck and some streetscape improvements would be a start in my opinion.

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The bottom line is that you can't have a street that carries that much through traffic be a pedestrian-friendly roadway.

That's absolutely not true. I was in DC this weekend and did a great deal of walking up and down Connecticut Avenue - a major thoroughfare that also serves as one of DC's main residential and retail corridors, and carries about 40,000 vehicles per day.

Why is this extremely busy road still attractive and pedestrian-friendly? Design. The sidewalks are wide enough (probably 15-20 feet). The road is 6 lanes at rush hour, but the outside lanes are used for parallel parking outside of rush hour. With this much traffic, jaywalking isn't really a problem, as pedestrians know they'll get killed if they try it. However, pedestrian crossings are frequent, well-marked, and the pedestrian signals are on a timed cycle- they work even when nobody's there or nobody pushes a button.

There have to be some compromises, and if the businesses are ever going to recover along the street, something must be done to encourage businesses to locate there.

I think roundabouts will help safety (no left turns, no signals), improve the pedestrian experience (lower speeds, shorter cross-walks), and siphon longer distance travelers off the road over to Western Blvd, which can handle significantly higher volumes of traffic.

I think the roundabout design is an attempt to turn Hillsborough Street into a "new-urban" atmosphere along the lines of Meadowmont. I would argue that "new-urbanism" has no place on an urban thoroughfare such as this, and that instead, the city should go for a "real-urban" design, borrowing design cues from streets like Connecticut Avenue (or at least Franklin Street) rather than Meadowmont Village Circle.

The best design for Hillsborough Street is, IMO, an exact copy of Glenwood South, Raleigh's best "big city" urban street. That design makes excellent use of its limited right-of-way width. Four traffic lanes with no on-street parking at rush hour; two traffic lanes plus on-street parking out of rush. This reinforces the transient nature of on-street parking spaces. The 10-15 feet gained by removing the permanent on-street parking and left-turn lanes can be used to widen the sidewalks.

roundabouts will also improve traffic flow by eliminating the backups created by signals. Imagine a slow-moving, steady stream of traffic. It will enable traffic to move more efficiiently through the entire corridor.

For this very reason, roundabouts will NOT make it easier for pedestrians to cross. If traffic flows steadily, when do the pedestrians cross in times of heavy traffic?

Edited by orulz
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I for one am not ignoring the roudabout on Pullen. I just don't think that is a good comparison with Hillsborough.

I'm very curious what the difference in volume is between Franklin in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. Franklin is a very pedestrian friendly in my opinion, and serves as an example that you can have both. Franklin however, draws in development and business by default. In Raleigh, developers are going to go where the money is, and right now there is more to be made in other districts. I don't think reducing traffic or roundabouts on Hillsborough is going to make them change their minds. A parking deck and some streetscape improvements would be a start in my opinion.

I agree. For some reason, this project rubs me the wrong way. I think it will kind of take the real urban edge out of that part of town. I actually enjoy the grit of Hillborough street personally.

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I'm very curious what the difference in volume is between Franklin in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. Franklin is a very pedestrian friendly in my opinion, and serves as an example that you can have both. Franklin however, draws in development and business by default. In Raleigh, developers are going to go where the money is, and right now there is more to be made in other districts. I don't think reducing traffic or roundabouts on Hillsborough is going to make them change their minds. A parking deck and some streetscape improvements would be a start in my opinion.

The difference here is that Hillsborough Street has a much narrower right-of-way than Franklin Street. According to Google Earth, Franklin is a 100' wide right-of-way (including the sidewalk), while Hillsborough has 75' to work with east of Dan Allen (by the University) and just 60' to work with west of Dan Allen (by Cup-A-Joe.) That's not to say a 75 or 60 foot right-of-way is hopeless: Glenwood Avenue south of Peace, another street that "just works" is only 60 feet wide!

On Glenwood, the curb-to-curb width is a uniform 40 feet. That leaves 20 feet (33%) for sidewalks and buffers. Sidewalks can get a bit crowded, but they're adequate, and match the roadway width well.

Franklin's curb-to-curb width varies from approximately 55 to 65 feet. That leaves a whopping 35 to 45 feet (35-45%) for sidewalks, buffers, planters, benches, etc. Wide sidewalks for a wide right-of-way.

By NCSU, Hillsborough's curb-to-curb width is between 50 and 55 feet, leaving 20-25 feet (27-33%) for sidewalks/buffer. Near Cup-A-Joe, the curb-to-curb is 45 feet, leaving just 15 feet (25%) for sidewalks. And we only get three traffc lanes out of the deal to boot! We have the permanent parking spaces to thank for that.

My point is, that we need to make the best use possible of the limited right-of-way that we have. Imagine how Hillsborough would look if it were striped like Glenwood. We'd have 40' curb-to-curb width. That gives us 35' for sidewalks near the university (I'd say make that 10' on the south side, and 25' on the north side). We get 4 lanes by Cup-A-Joe, eliminating a rush-hour bottleneck, with 10' for sidewalks on either side - exactly the same as Glenwood South. Preserves traffic capacity when it's needed. Has parallel parking when it's not. Everybody wins! What's needed is dilligent towing to get the cars out of the way before the rush begins. Towing companies would be happy to oblige.

Edited by orulz
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Orulz, I suppose it is possible to have a safe ped-friendly roadway with lots of cars and through traffic, but I still believe that in general, it's not a desirable situation. Hillsborough St is one of the most dangerous roads in NC with some of the highest crash rates, and I think that's one of the goals, to make the street safer.

Some comparisons:

Franklin St: 15-19k vehicles per day on a 5 lane roadway (with on-street parking).

Glenwood Ave: 12k vpd on a 4 lane roadway with on-street parking available offpeak (AM hours only BTW)

Hillsborough St: 22-30k vpd along a 3 to 5 lane (variable width) roadway with on-street parking off-peak and on the north side.

All three of these roads are different in character and function in my view. Franklin St has the luxury of a wide right-of-way with moderately low traffic. Glenwood has a narrow R/W but even less traffic. Hillsborough has the most traffic of all three with the least R/W in some spots (between Gorman and Dan Allen), so any comparison between them must take into account the differences among them.

I found some valuable information on the project from the Hillsborough St Partnership website--EDIT: the attachments aren't working from that site.

Edited by ChiefJoJo
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Chief, just re-read my previous post and I noted it had a condescending tone. I didn't mean for it to come out that way, and (obviously) you know more about this than I do. I'm sorry, and I have edited my message so that it's not so rude. :blush:

Everything about the current design favors vehicles too much, so clearly something needs to change.

The roundabout plan probably won't wind up as a dysfunctional mess. It will reduce accident numbers and severity, though I think it will serve neither pedestrians nor vehicles well. Regardless of whether it functions adequately or not, it will be the perpetual butt of jokes throughout the city.

What's the estimated carrying capacity of the two-lane roundabout design? 12,000 vpd? (my guess based on Dan Allen.) Take 10,000-18,000 vehicles off of Hillsborough, put them on Western, and all of a sudden we're seeing almost 50,000vpd on Western. Can the intersection with Avent Ferry handle that much traffic?

The idea of the Glenwood South-like design is to strike a balance - make a significant increase in pedestrian-friendliness with a narrower curb-to-curb width, while still acommodating some through traffic. Of course the speed limit would still drop to 25, and other cues like street trees, wide crosswalks, and relatively narrow lanes will clue motorists in that it's not OK to go 40mph here. This decreases speed and thereby increases safety.

I wonder if there is any precedent for having time-limited on-street parking during both the overnight and midday off-peak periods?

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The hillsborough revamp is a tricky one i think. The way i see it, when comparing it to franklin st. and glenwood south, it all comes down to parking and easy walkable access.

I'm confident when i say that i visit glenwood south almost every weekend i am in town. but not once do i drive on glenwood to get to the bars on glenwood. if i'm west of the glenwood, the offices and few residents really dont crowd the on street parking. east of glenwood, its nothing but parking lots and you have 2 decks to use (one by the lit up power station and by 510). very rarely do i have parking issues.

the times i've visited franklin street, it always feels like there is similar "space" 1 or 2 blocks away from the st to park. again, no real problems with parking. only visited a handful of times so i'm not expert here.

now hillsborough st feels sandwiched between the university and the housing right behind. I mean the houses go right up to the streetside businesses. it really is just a hassle to find parking and i hear this from a lot of people.

to make hillsborough a destination i believe that parking must be increased somehow. i do not agree with the idea of diverting rush hour traffic to western, or even wade as these roads do get busy. remember, downtown is growing, which means more traffic will come in the near future. i guess an easy access parking deck is necessary, perhaps next to the north hall dorm or next to the kinko's (there may be room there).

just my thoughts. hopefully whatever is done turns out to be the best solution.

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There is one big problem that I have with this new proposal and I'm interested in what others think.

The information provided in the paper shows 2 lanes of traffic seperated by a brick median and parking on one side of the road. Is this going to be parallel parking or angled parking? How in the heck can one park in a parallel space or back out of an angled parking space with the amount of traffic volume anticipated? Sure, there will be no traffic signals, but having to stop for every person vying for a parking opportunity sounds like a huge traffic tie-up.

Also, people will continure to circle the roundabouts to continually search the drag for a parking spot. The amount of people circling the roundabout can tie-up traffic on those progressing down Hillsborough Street too. Heck, it may be difficult to merge onto a roundabout from one of the roads just to get onto Hillsborough, especially during rush-hour.

They would be better off doing some streetscaping, leaving it four lanes and adding some public parking areas.

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Hillsborough Street would be better if it was like Glenwood South. Once upon a time, Hillsborough Street *was* Glenwood South, with bars and restaurants serving college students, the just out of college crowd, and the 20-35 year olds who were too cool for school.

Then the Hillsborugh Street "partnership" stepped up and shut down any bar or restaurant that served alcohol and not Italian. If the crosswalk at Logan, the "pedestiran only" crosswalk near GoPak Bazar, Horne, Pogue, Garndner, Brooks, Dan Allen, and Dixie were synched, timed, not "requested" (and possibly triggered by stopped buses), with a "full stop/pedestrian only" cycle at Horne, Pogue, Gardner, and Dixie, roundabouts would be unnecssary.

The Pullen roundabout handles a lot less traffic than any of the Hillsborough Street ones would. Also, it is *not* easy to cross Pullen at the roundabout since cars *never* have to stop.

If Clark Ave was a true east/west street without the break between Brooks and Dixie, it could compliment Hillsborough the way Rosemary complements Franklin in Chapel Hill, Broad compliments 9th in Durham, and Boylan and West Streets compliment Glenwood South. Clark is a nice, hilly median seperated street with on street parking used by students. I don't know what the traffic count is there, but it is a lot lower than Hillsborough street.

If the neighborhood north of Hillsborough wasn't so close, the whole area could benefit. But they have had sway with the city for years, as evidenced by the ongoing roundabout discussions. None of them are traffic engineers, yet they won't settle for anything other than what they want, which makes life worse for everyone involved.

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There is one big problem that I have with this new proposal and I'm interested in what others think.

The information provided in the paper shows 2 lanes of traffic seperated by a brick median and parking on one side of the road. Is this going to be parallel parking or angled parking? How in the heck can one park in a parallel space or back out of an angled parking space with the amount of traffic volume anticipated? Sure, there will be no traffic signals, but having to stop for every person vying for a parking opportunity sounds like a huge traffic tie-up.

Also, people will continure to circle the roundabouts to continually search the drag for a parking spot. The amount of people circling the roundabout can tie-up traffic on those progressing down Hillsborough Street too. Heck, it may be difficult to merge onto a roundabout from one of the roads just to get onto Hillsborough, especially during rush-hour.

They would be better off doing some streetscaping, leaving it four lanes and adding some public parking areas.

Those seem like legitimate concerns to me. I live off of Dixie and often go to Hillsborough to eat dinner. Parking is the biggest hassle for me. There are a few "go-to" places that I try to grab, but if they are being used - I have to do the whole up and down thing until something frees up. Throw in a few roundabouts and that will turn into a big enough head-ache to keep me from going down there all-together.

Hillsborough Street needs a good, well-lit parking deck. That would help things immensely! I think the roundabout at the Oberlin intersection might be interesting and give the street some character. But to include all of these proposed roundabouts would be too much. The proposed median is also a waste of space that would be better served as a wider sidewalk.

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I still think Logan, Chamberlin and Horne should egress only, instead of dumping cars back on to Hillsborough, take them off at those spots....getting onto H at those spots is always an excercise in people dodging if you are in a car.....let Enterprise and Pogue be the bookend traffic signals for the main commercial strip/pedestrian student area.

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As a long time urchin on Hillsbourgh Street who actually participated in its heyday ( I hung out at Free Advice, Ed Grocery, Barry's and Zacks when it was near Players Retreat before I could drive :alc: ), I have gone back and forth on the plan. First, I am happy they are doing something or at least thinking about it. I too, like its grit, but to be honest, it has a little too much grit. Some is OK, but too much is not. I run into many smack-heads and crackheads near the Bell tower along with average Joe citizen and at night, I am more scared there on the back streets than I have been lost in ghetto's of Prague at 2am in the morning.

At first glance, the round-abouts look good. They work well in places like Hilton Head and people get use to them. I do think the Pullen Street R-A-B is too small and would like to see them bigger, but maybe that can not be done. For me, I would leave the one planned in front of Mitch's off the plan. I think the people, buses and parking there slows down traffic enough. I could live with one by the bell tower as Player's Retreat seems to be coming back and hopefully it would help clean up that area. I also think any work with the overhead lines would be a great improvement. I don't want it to become a Disneyworld, but keep some of the grit but make it so people are not always looking over their shoulder ever time they hear a leaf rustle. I had a friend who lived there by Sadlacks and he was as much a street person as there is and he told me be careful around here and don't walk alone.

That said, today I went to Arby's and pulling out on Hillsbourgh St about 2pm, there was so much traffic, I could not turn left to get back on the beltline. I had to take a right turn and go through the neighborhood to get back toward the beltline. That is the exact thing that the neighbors and people don't want to see. And I think it will get worse when you take out 2 of the lanes.

Edited by Subway Scoundrel
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With Downtown and Glenwood South exploding with developments I don't understand why they would consider taking out lanes for traffic. How can the planners think that the current 19,000 cars a day wont grow when all these new developments are complete. I want to see H Street revitalized but taking out lanes sounds like a bad idea today. In ten years we'll be ripping it up to add more lanes.

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