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Triangle road & traffic thread

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A friend of mine who works in Smoketree Tower (thus, the pictures I've gotten from it, hehe) and lives in northern Johnston County said he has started using it. He says it's great--traffic moves alright and it shaves a couple miles (and more than 10 minutes) off his normal commute.

Okay now... when is the US1 bypass for Capital Blvd going to be built? :D

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Okay now... when is the US1 bypass for Capital Blvd going to be built? :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

More likely than not, never. There's just not enough space space to put a new freeway through there.

You're more likely to see Capital Boulevard turned into a jersey freeway, (a freeway with driveways) similar to Capital below the beltline, or Independence Blvd in Charlotte . Or perhaps Capital might become a more conventional freeway with frontage roads through the strip mall parking lots, who knows. But Considering how expensive and slow the Independence conversion in Charlotte has been, and looking at how the highway funding formulas have changed lately, it ain't happening any time soon.

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Sad but true... If Capital is converted to something else, it will likely displace a lot of those businesses--and that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Capital Blvd (north of I-440) is my least favorite road in Raleigh by far. Even S Saunders St has more charm--it's gritty at least. Capital is just a black hole of absolutely unbelievable traffic (worse than any single non-freeway corridor in Charlotte for certain), and really ugly crap.

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I like Capital Blvd. Once you pass the US1/401 Split it gets nicer and nicer the farther you go out. Plus they just installed those new super- tall street lights at the Gresham Rd. and Capital Blvd Intersection. It's like some kind of Northern Gateway to the City. I wish they would put a sign there for those entering the city from the North. It's 24/7 on Capital and I love it. That area of the city feels so vibrant so alive.

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Well nighttime is a bit different for Capital. My friends and I used to say that if we had to choose a road in Raleigh that would be "the strip", it would be Capital Blvd. There is almost always traffic on the road--even late Sunday night. During those hours, it is very manageable and the really ugly stuff isn't as visible (plus street and sign lights are pretty). During the day it is a mess. And during the summer it gets very hot--on the hottest days (~low to mid 90s) it can be nearly 130 degrees F in the middle of the street. The blacktop combined with all the cars and lack of trees/shade greatly aggrivates urban heating.

For a while import car tuners and such would congregate late at night in some of the empty parking lots, but I think the cops pushed that element out. It's too bad really--they never really seemed to cause any trouble (aside from an occasional street race), and their numbers grew fairly large... was almost like a scene from southern Cali. It was an interesting bit of culture, albeit somewhat juvenile at times. I suppose that is the product of an area with a large concentration of rich suburban kids.

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I find Capital Blvd interesting, especially north of 440 b/c u can basically plot the years of suburban sprawl from Raleigh. I mean things start off looking semi raggedy with a bunch of abandoned stores, and gradually get newer, with alot of the stores that have edged down Capital following the new sprawl. Then it culminates around Triangle Towne Center....with the newest of the sprawl popping up waaaay up there as we speak. How far is Triangle Towne Center from 440 anyway? It feels like it takes forever to get there via Capital, but maybe that's just b/c of all the traffic and constant braking for stoplights.

Edited by NCMike1981

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I find Capital Blvd interesting, especially north of 440 b/c u can basically plot the years of suburban sprawl from Raleigh. I mean things start off looking semi raggedy with a bunch of abandoned stores, and gradually get newer, with alot of the stores that have edged down Capital following the new sprawl. Then it culminates around Triangle Towne Center....with the newest of the sprawl popping up waaaay up there as we speak. How far is Triangle Towne Center from 440 anyway? It feels like it takes forever to get there via Capital, but maybe that's just b/c of all the traffic and constant braking for stoplights.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Very interesting observations. And you're right, things get newer and "nicer" (and sprawlier - huger parking lots, bigger boxes) as you go further and further out. You have to wonder why some of the stuff that's closer in doesn't get demolished and replaced with something more attractive.

It's 5 miles from 440 to 540 on Capital, so it's about the same distance to Triangle Towne Center. Even with light traffic it can take 15 minutes to get there, and to be quite honest that's how things probably should be. We're so spoiled by the idea of freeways and being able to get to anywhere from anywhere at exactly one mile a minute. That's exactly the attitude that got us into the sprawly mess that we're in right now. The truth is, 5 miles IS a long ways, it's just that freeways have conditioned us to think that it's not.

It's quite surprising and a bit disturbing to me how many rather high density apartment complexes are popping up around all the exits on 540. And they all advertise themselves as "a really convenient location - only 1 mile from the 540 beltline! Convenient to RTP and everywhere in the triangle!"

They neglect to mention that the nearest grocery store is 3 friggin miles away. Convenient? Ha.

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Capital blvd in the middle of summer during the evening rush hour looks like those stereotypical scenes you see on tv of city thoroughfares with a sea of cars creeping along in the sweltering heat with a brownish haze in the sky LOL. ... excuse the run-on

Edited by willrusso

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With New Bern Avenue/64 gaining a lot of capacity, doesn't this make it ripe for redevelopment and higher density? There are a lot of big lots there and even some empty strip malls. Hopefully 64 can get it right where Capital failed. (I'd love to see this area increase it's density AND for a light rail spur to go along 64 to Knightdale)

Enter contender #3 for midtown Raleigh?

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Hopefully 64 can get it right where Capital failed. (I'd love to see this area increase it's density AND for a light rail spur to go along 64 to Knightdale)

I know CAMPO, DCHC, and TTA will engage in a long range vision transit planning effort with a couple of years, but I think that the east corridor will be a good candidate, a la EASTRANS, for commuter rail along the N-S (?) rail corridor.

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I know CAMPO, DCHC, and TTA will engage in a long range vision transit planning effort with a couple of years, but I think that the east corridor will be a good candidate, a la EASTRANS, for commuter rail along the N-S (?) rail corridor.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Correct, Chief. N/S operates the Raleigh - Wilson corridor via K'dale, Wend-hell, and Zeb.

Per the initial 2001 Eastrans proposal....The track between Raleigh and Selma has recently been upgraded to allow for higher speed trains and sidings have been built/are being built to add additional frequency. In fact, one of the reasons the tracks were improved is to move freight service off the NS lines between Raleigh and Wilson thus freeing up the Raleigh to Wilson line completely.

In any case, the Raleigh-Wilson tracks are underutilized, but not in bad shape. A relatively small investment would improve the quality of the tracks to enhance the speed of passenger trains making a trip between Wilson and Raleigh just over an hour for a commuter. The premise is that by giving commuters an option - other than their cars - that can compete (or actually beat) travel times by car that perhaps people would chose to live in places like downtown Wilson, Selma, Zebulon, Garner, etc. where there are inventories of underutilized buildings, homes, etc..

Edited by AmericanUrbanDesigner

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An hour train ride from Wilson to Raleigh??? It takes me 40 minutes to get from the far east side of Wilson County to the beltline by car...lol. The west side of wilson by car takes just 30-35 minutes.

I have driven the new bypass several times now. Its safe to say that it knocks off a good 20 minutes during the rush hour. About 10 minutes during slower hours. I am fairly impressed. There is one stretch where we get a nice view of the Raleigh skyline to!

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That's one problem with the knightdale bypass. The bottleneck and congestion on US64 was keeping sprawl in the area in check; if this were a different country or a different age, and commuter rail service had gotten there before the freeway, you would have seen a good deal of denser, more sustainable development happening out that way.

Now, thanks to the bypass, a decade of congestion and all the lessons it should have taught us about exurban sprawl will be instantly forgotten, and the rural/suburban cul-de-sac subdivision will once again reign supreme. 70mph freeways will trick people into believing that a 60 mile commute is perfectly normal and in fact "isn't that far." All will be well and good in sprawly east-land, until 10-15 years from now when the current bypass reaches its capacity. Then, everyone will be used to (addicted to?) the freeway and demand more freeway lanes as the only "real" solution to the problem.

Honestly, I think commuter rail to Goldsboro is much more promising. Why? Several reasons. The railroad is there, it's state-owned, it's straight and fast, and it's going to have plenty of extra capacity. But most importantly, there are long segments of US70 that won't be upgraded to a freeway for years to come.

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I was on Business 64 in Knightdale on Saturday. Amazingly quiet!

Stopped off at a convenience store and they said that the bypass has killed their business. The only busy spot was Bojangles, go figure. Bojangles...if you build it, they will come :)

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Evidently, NCDOT is studying turning US-1 north of 540 into a freeway or expressway sometime in the future, before development gets out of hand.

See this story from WRAL.

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I guess I will put my 2 cents in. Add lanes to 40 from downtown to the wade ave exit. Install lighting becaues no metro expressway should be that dark. Build interstate extension from east 440 to 85 north of Durham.

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There has been talk of doing this for a few years now. Capital Blvd. can be the worst, as seen during the freakish snow storm traffic which happened back in January over only and inch of snow. It wouldnt hurt to get the study underway.

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Capital Boulevard in Raleigh south of I-540 is extremely similar in every aspect to Independence Boulevard in Charlotte. It's a heavily travelled commuter road, with too many stoplights to move efficiently and lots of congestion. There are plenty of malls/strip malls/big boxes, but the stuff closer to town is generally older and dilapidated. The worst intersection, Louisburg Road, has already been turned into an interchange (similar to Albemarle Road in Charlotte). I-440 bleeds off lots of the traffic, and within two or three miles of downtown it turns into a 1950s-era Jersey freeway.

I would say that a freeway upgrade (Jersey Freeway, like Independence - I'm not talking "interstate" here) between I-540 and I-440 is every bit as essential as the Independence freeway in Charlotte.

North of 540 I wouldn't say it's essential yet because things still flow smoothly all the way to the Henderson bypass. But the idea is to make it a freeway before it becomes overrun with development.

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I personally think that they need to go ahead and make the area north of I-540 an expressway before development prevents it. The area around Wake Forest and north of I-540 is exploding (thanks in part to I-540) and it will be just as bad as Capital is south of 540 if they wait. Personally, I hate Capital Blvd and avoid it at all costs. Two months ago, coming home from Richmond it took me 1 hour to go from Wake Forest to I-440 at 2:30 in the afternoon. What a headache!

For the area south of I-540, I don't know if anything can be done about it? This actually might be a good thing as Raleigh grows. It may boost development closer to the city core if people weigh the pros and cons of commuting time. I also see this as a plus to the TTA and plans for future rail lines to northern Wake. I just don't think the answer is to spend billions of dollars on a road system if it will only encourage further sprawl and cookie-cutter developments. Those who work in RTP use 540 anyhow and will continue to contribute to the growth here. It would be nice to displace those persons not working in western wake/RTP by making newcomers re-evaluate their place of residence.

Just an initial thought...I would enjoy feedback if you think this might be a poor idea.

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Here's the Link. I posted some highlights as well (seems like the Triangle got the shaft).

Construct I-540 from NC 55 South to NC 55 North $8,800,000 High Priority

Durham and Chatham Counties, NC Completion

of American Tobacco Trail.

$1,600,000 High Priority

Construct bicycle and pedestrian trails, Durham

and Durham County

$1,600,000 High Priority

US 64 upgrade and improvement between

Raleigh, NC and Rocky Mount

$5,000,000 High Priority

Acquisition of rail corridors for use as bicycle and

pedestrian trails, Durham

$2,000,000 High Priority

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Good luck on US1 north. If progress goes like Independence Blvd. in Charlotte, it will tale 40 or 50 years. The state highway fund has been robbed of over one billion $ by the state to run other programs in the state beside roads. This must stop, and put the money where we voted to put the gas tax in roads not pork for elected officals

US1 should be a freeway from downtown Raleigh to I95.

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I personally think that they need to go ahead and make the area north of I-540 an expressway before development prevents it.  The area around Wake Forest and north of I-540 is exploding (thanks in part to I-540) and it will be just as bad as Capital is south of 540 if they wait.  Personally, I hate Capital Blvd and avoid it at all costs.  Two months ago, coming home from Richmond it took me 1 hour to go from Wake Forest to I-440 at 2:30 in the afternoon.  What a headache!

For the area south of I-540, I don't know if anything can be done about it?  This actually might be a good thing as Raleigh grows.  It may boost development closer to the city core if people weigh the pros and cons of commuting time.  I also see this as a plus to the TTA and plans for future rail lines to northern Wake.  I just don't think the answer is to spend billions of dollars on a road system if it will only encourage further sprawl and cookie-cutter developments.  Those who work in RTP use 540 anyhow and will continue to contribute to the growth here.  It would be nice to displace those persons not working in western wake/RTP by making newcomers re-evaluate their place of residence.

Just an initial thought...I would enjoy feedback if you think this might be a poor idea.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Living close to downtown and having a short against-the-grain commute to work, I have always thought that mass grid lock outside of downtown was great. Pay the price for making poor decisions I say to those stuck in traffic. The mess outside of town will hopefully send the value of my place sky high as people start to vie for limited downtown space, so when I retire one day I can have a nice spread way out in the wilderness with solar panels, pure well water, and all the trappings that allow me to be self sufficient and off the grid.

The likely scenario for Capital Blvd. is one where there are no more stoplights but property access will remain, albeit only on one side of the road or the other.

There is also the 'jug handle' concept that NJ used on US 1 where there are no left turns, making the left lanes truly the fast lane with (haha) Jersey barriers separating the highway all along its length.

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