I got some feedback for a thread where folks can introduce themselves and maybe share a bit where they are coming from. Let’s keep it simple and if you want, just introduce yourself and a few things about you.
I’m Jack, and I’m from Raleigh, or the surrounding suburbs, rather. I’m currently a student at community college, and I plan to pursue a career in city and regional planning.
I’ve always been fascinated by the built environment and how it shapes our lives, so the infrequent trips I take into Downtown are always enjoyed. Just being there makes me happy, and I must admit that walking around the city is for me an experience not unlike that of a child at Disneyland (though I’ve never been there).
I’m very excited for Downtown’s future, and I especially hope to see further transit options made available and more density built to create a true urban environment, with distinct neighborhoods and districts. My wish is for Downtown to become even more of a vibrant, liveable part of the city; a place where I and many others want to call home.
I’m Pierre, 26, and I work full time as a traffic engineer for an engineering/architecture firm called Stantec here in Raleigh. Our transportation group mostly does NCDOT projects and dabbles in some city/developer traffic studies as well.
I don’t live in downtown Raleigh but I’m not far away in the Five Points neighborhood. I’m originally from the Boston area (Belmont/Cambridge area to be exact if you know the area) so I grew up in a pretty urban setting so I’m excited that Raleigh is starting to turn the corner and is heading that direction. From a transportation standpoint, I didn’t get my drivers license or a car until moving down south and walked/biked/took the bus/subway everywhere in Boston so I’d love to see Raleigh become a place where you don’t need a car to survive (though I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to traffic engineers…). It’s also been fascinating to learn about the ways that transportation ties into stuff like land use/planning/zoning, public health, safety etc…
Hi. I’m Greg. I’m a pilot for American Airlines. I’m originally from just outside of Newark, New Jersey and currently live in North Hills.
As far as what I feel DTR is missing, I will say a downtown sports arena. I’m a huge hockey fan and would love to see the Canes move to downtown someday.
My wife and I moved to the area in early 2001, and it has been exciting to see Raleigh evolve from having a somewhat quiet downtown (after hours anyway) to a vibrant place where there is something new almost every day.
I’m Mitch and I’m from Manhattan, NYC…I first moved to Raleigh back in 1985 before heading to California to join the Navy, I became a Machinist Mate for Ten years before heading back to NYC. Never needed a Car until I moved back to NC in 2003 and never looked back. It was indeed a Shock to the system when I realize that I needed a Car to get to just about Everywhere, I had used Public transit from the start and hate it, because there were few Bus shelters with maps indicating where you are and it took so long Just to get to work…the mall…church…even seeing a friend. That was in 2003, now 2018 going into 2019 and to be Honest…very little has changed, But I do see improvements in Transit and in DTR. DTR and Raleigh or the Triangle for that matter needs to step it up a notch…( A very Big Notch ) for Transit to make it more efficient. I had never lived in a state where a Car was so Dependent even in Charlotte. I live in Southwest Raleigh, Near farmers market and Centennial Campus and I love it, it is close to where i need to go and do not really need a Car unless I go to Work. Sometimes I Uber but that gets Old…Quick so I plan to Buy a Car by the first of the new year ( 2019 ) but even with a car i will use transit and not rely so much on a car. I enjoy just being around Downtown and I hope that I get to do more shopping…seeing friends for Lunch or dinner and Hang Out…Banking, or just relax when I am in or around DTR. DTR is missing more and in need of High rise Hotels for Convention Events…Concerts…Etc. Better Transit much needed Transit with Longer Hours of service and…dare I say it…( Light Rail ) been reading a lot of mixed reviews on that topic, But for the Size of Raleigh…I don’t see why not. even a light rail to/from the airport is a start. But that is just me. In a nutshell… Raleigh has and is really Blooming and Booming.
Born in Greensboro, spent a decade in upstate NY, and back in Raleigh since 1987. Education in Civil/Environmental engineering. State employee. Hobbyist historian. Downtown resident since 1992.
DTR has way too many gaps in the commercial streetscape. There is not a critical mass anywhere and for that reason, most commercial enterprises have a tenuous hold at best. Also, the current pro development (read, do nothing to scare away developers) environment places zero priority on historic resources. The cities I consider successful, have thriving, historic cores.
DTR’s best feature is the relatively high percentage of locally owned stores in the core. I put my money where my mouth is and buy as much as I can at Runologie, Art of Style, Taz, Devolve when it was open, etc. Edit to come clean at…44 years old.
I’m 27, was born at Wake Med, and raised in Wendell and Cary. Spent 5 years in Wilmington, one being in a 100+ year old house downtown. (Love downtown Wilmington). Upon moving back to Raleigh in 2014 I realized it was a different city than I remembered from 2009 and prior, and I began to discover all the events, parks, restaurants, etc. that make Raleigh vibrant and desirable.
I work in the family business of high end custom homes and understand a good deal about residential construction and costs. Outside of work I’m a musician and have been in various bands since I was 19. In DTR I’ve played most stages and festivals: [Pour House, Southland ballroom RIP, Imurj, Red Hat, Deep South RIP, brewgaloo, July 4th city plaza, cuegrass, Lincoln theatre, King’s] and as it follows I’m pretty concerned with live music culture and festivals.
More broadly, I am interested in how the built environment influences and nurtures community. It’s wild how people relate to buildings and spaces. Many musicians and artists struggle financially and need affordable services and housing to thrive in a city. More nuanced, they need spaces and businesses that fit their vibe to feel a sense of belonging. I think this is true for everyone - you gravitate to areas and businesses that reflect your beliefs and personal culture, and there you find community. So DTR needs to keep this in mind as we flesh out the built environment and replace the old for the new. Diversity in the built environment is important and I’ll always support developments that cater not only to multiple income levels, but also multiple “vibes”. Keep it interesting, Raleigh.
Will here. 25 year old born in Rex Hospital though I grew up in southern Wake county with a Raleigh address. Graduated from NC State in 2016 with a civil engineering degree and I now work downtown. After college I spent 3 months backpacking Europe where I discovered a love for dense cities and public transit. I used to live in the Lincoln Apartments near Moore Square but recently bought a house near Meredith college. I now ride my bike or take route 4 to work.
I would say the biggest thing I think Raleigh is missing is connectivity. There are some great blocks/corridors but none are connected. This could be retail, bike lanes, apartments, etc.
My favorite thing about downtown is that it seems more local/diverse than other US city centers.
I’m Matthew. I was born in High Point, NC and lived in its suburbs until I started at NC State University in 2011. I was planning to bring my car to campus, but I got a letter in the mail from Amtrak saying they had student discounts… when I found out you could take a bus to the train station, and the train would go straight to High Point, I thought it was worth a shot. I absolutely loved it, and that was my first experience living carfree and relying on walking and transit to get around. I’ve lived in Raleigh ever since (I even picked up summer jobs here rather than heading back to High Point for the break).
I graduated in 2015, and now I work for one of the local governments in this area, doing data analysis and a little programming in support of the planning department. I live in Southwest Raleigh, so my planning interests (both at work and outside work) are less focused on downtown proper and more about bringing urbanism and sustainable transportation to the whole city/region. (And then geeking out about the implementation details of the bus/rail network.) But having a strong downtown is really important for that.
What I like the most about DTR is the variety: grand civic spaces, restaurants, local retail, and our excellent public museums. It’s a lot more interesting to walk around and explore than downtown Charlotte (for example).
I’m a strong supporter of more jobs in downtown. Right now our region’s employment profile is very spread out, which makes it hard to provide transit people will find useful… but that’s changing! There’s a lot of growth in jobs in downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham, which is exciting and I think we should support more of it.
(We also need more trains to serve Raleigh Union Station!)
Steve, 29, grew up in Fuquay but like most people in Fuquay I was born out of state (DC). Have also lived in western NC, Chapel Hill, South Korea, Boston, MA. I never actually lived in Raleigh but I worked there for several years. Started reading this blog when I worked in Raleigh after college but I’m currently getting an MBA in Massachusetts. My fiance and I plan to move back to the Triangle in time for our (currently non-existent) kids to go to preschool. Every time we go back to NC we try to spend time in DTR. My dad volunteers at the NCMNS (he’s the cockroach guy) and I absolutely love science museums, so the MNS is my favorite place in the Triangle, not just DTR.
Some things DTR is “missing” are:
Expansions for the CAM and NC History Museum
Something urban instead of surface parking lots and auto-oriented businesses
A luxury hotel or 2
Other than that, more of the same. I’d like to see Raleigh develop more urban districts with mini “downtowns” that offer the same walkability as downtown with smaller retail spaces and different layouts. Raleigh is the same area as Philadelphia and yet DT is one of the only walkable areas, compared to dozens in Philly.
I’m Nick, 39, dad of 3 kids and 3 dogs. I grew up splitting time between downtown Mount Airy, NC (Mayberry) and suburban Winston Salem from week to week (joint visitation b/w parents). I spent a LOT of time walking and biking all over Mount Airy, but was stuck in the car when in Winston. I loved the independence in my early teens. I got VERY lucky and went to Europe twice in high school and again in college. Two of the trips I spent almost zero time in cars and used Metro/RER and TVGs to get around Paris and all over France. It solidified my love of not driving and opened my eyes to how other cities function.
I went to to NCSU between 1998 and 2002, moved back home then to Richmond, VA in 2004. Richmond is an old city (by American standards anyway) and I love (and miss) the true urban feel of RVA. I moved back to Raleigh in 2008 for a job. I work as a professional geologist and manage several environmental remediation projects (mostly drycleaning solvent sites). I currently work for a large engineering firm in MorrisHell and am hoping we will move back to Raleigh in 2021 when out lease is up.
I live in NW Raleigh, but would love to move to DTR, but finances just won’t allow it. I am an infrequent visitor to DTR, but see a LOT of potential in the city. Top of my wishlist is for a rail or monorail system to connect the “nodes” of development across the city. While we are no where near the density needed to sustain such a system, I strongly believe in the “If you build it, they will come” philosophy. Just look at the DC area around all the Metro stations. You can bet there wasn’t anywhere near that density when the Metro was being designed, but look at it today.
I also would love to see more height in DTR. I can’t lie, I love skyscrapers!! Every time I am in Atlanta, I imagine plucking up their buildings and placing them around DTR. (Full disclosure, I was also a very avid SimCity player until the latest version came out and KILLED the game.)
David - 33 - Originally from Houston, TX - Been here since college at NCSU
I love that DTR is relatively unique and doesn’t just include a bunch of corporate facsimiles. I really enjoy our homegrown restaurants, coffee shops, bars and even retail. Keeping it that way will take effort and hard work, but we should strive to do so.
We need better transit of all modes. We need to slow/reduce the number of cars in DT. These two are obviously related. We also need more walkable urban places at the edges of DT and nearby. This is the real opportunity. DT will grow and be successful with or without our help, but will it be an albatross in the middle of driveable-suburban sprawl or will it be the focal point of a growing city of real places.
Love this I’m Mary, moved down to NC 4 years ago and spent 1 year in Durham before landing in Raleigh - have been here for the past 3 years. I have 2 little ones and enjoy experiencing Raleigh through their vantage. We’re lifers now in Raleigh and plan to be here for the long term - we love so much about the city, I’m also a Raleigh Bicycle and Pedestrian Commissioner so a lot of what I post is centered around transportation and our need to up the game.
On that note … the thing I think is missing most from DTR currently is robust / safe / accessible / premier biking facilities. It’s painfully evident that to date multi-modal infrastructure has been an after thought. I’m ready for a paradigm shift in how we view transportation and spend much of my time advocating for our city to rethink our current system and integrate biking so that it’s a first choice for folks. I also commute in by bus daily and work as a planner for local government, so I’m very interested in our entire transportation system and I’m excited about many of the changes coming online. Admittedly I’m frustrated by the pace sometimes and feel (especially) with many biking investments that there is far too long of a lag in getting things on the ground.
What I love most about DTR right now is all of the growth and exciting things to track. I have a google calendar that’s specific to Raleigh projects and I find it insanely fun to pop everything up on there and track when (and sometimes if) a project comes through to fruition. My toddler and I will regularly pack a picnic lunch and take the R-line to just sit and watch the “daddy cranes” (so he calls the cranes), so I think the next generation is starting out strong with an affinity for Raleigh / urbanism!
Look forward to meeting as many as possible of you IRL! Look for me around town on my bicycle! I’m @RaleighBikeLady on twitter too.
Christian - Born and lived in Switzerland until 9. Spent my teenage and college years in Columbia, SC. Since then have live up and down the east coast including Richmond, Buffalo, Burlington Vt, Frederick, MD, Greenville SC, and now Raleigh for the past 8 years or so.
We live near North Hills in a neighborhood with mostly 60’s era split levels and ranches that are quickly getting torn down to build $750K - Million+ (in dr. eveil voice) McMansions. We moved in right before the boom and could not afford our house if we bought it today.
Even though I don’t live downtown, I think a vibrant downtown is the heart and soul of any successful city. Mostly I am interested in public transportation (or lack thereof) as I make the daily trek from North Hills, Beltline, I-40 to RTP and back. And every day I long for a viable alternative where I don’t fight the traffic. Growing up in Europe, I have seen what well run transportation system can do. I would love to be able to get on a bus to Union station downtown & hop on the commuter rail to RTP. But I can’t. Maybe in 10 years… this is such a missed opportunity for the area. I know some things are in the works. But it seems such a long ways off.
I want to thank and give props to Leo for starting this incredibly lively and insightful community disguised as a discussion board. I feel like I know some of you strangers.
Anyways, how unique do you think this online community is for a city of our size? @dtraleigh do you know of any similar discussion boards from other cities that offer such a breadth of knowledge and “buy in”? It seems really special, and you must be proud. I imagine much larger cities would be too intense for one discussion board to cover all DT related things.
Thanks a lot, @evan.j.bost. I’m definitely in my own bubble here in downtown, even online, so am not aware of similar setups in other cities. Outside looking in, in not even sure how, easy for not, folks are stumbling on this.
When I started it all back in 2007, it was easy to find cause there wasn’t anyone else really talking downtown Raleigh. A few other blogs popped up but they have all moved on and we still keep at it here. That huge depth of content at dtraleigh seems to help bring people here I think.
Thanks again. It’s also possible other cities have just moved to “easier” platforms like reddit or facebook. Those never really appealed to me and I’m glad others like this format better. It’s by the people 100%.
Don’t think I’ve ever actually introduced myself properly on here!
My name is Connor. I’m originally from a small town outside of Pittsburgh called McDonald, and no there is no McDonalds there. I moved to Raleigh in 2007, when I was 4, yeah if you didn’t know I’m actually only 16 years old, I just have had an obsessive interest in Raleigh since this is where I’ve lived most of my life. I want to go into urban planning or some form of government agency that deals with urban development, that’s a lot of why I’m on this forum. I just find all of this stuff so fascinating. Now this might just be something I thing is important to have to be a stand out city is some sort of signature landmark that when you see it you think Raleigh, things like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Big Ben in London. Also I would want to see more height in downtown, we’ve had PNC as the tallest in the city for 10 years, I personally think we should have some taller and maybe with a spire that makes it the tallest. That’s just my opinion!
My name is James and I am 32 years old. Born in Marin County, CA, but moved to Alaska 3 months later, then to Athens, GA when I was 7, and grew up from 10 years old in Gainesville, GA. Graduated with an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and worked out in the SF bay area for 4 years after that. Moved back to Atlanta for 6 months before I started dating a lady who lived in Raleigh. Ended up here and we got married! The job I found up here was at Centennial Campus with Bandwidth while my future wife was living and teaching up in Wakefield. I found a place in an old home on Ashe Avenue just up from Pullen Park. I loved how it was possible to live near downtown (walked from Ashe Avenue) and not destroy your finances. The bay area was not into that. To me that seemed like the promise of Raleigh at the time that got me really excited. All the other major cities were silly expensive to live near everything in. If I was going to end up in a north Raleigh suburb and working in RTP, then I felt like I might as well have stayed in Atlanta. So, I got engaged and convinced my wife to move to a closer in ITB school and move into the Devon on Glenwood South with me. Got a job a Red Hat, and sold my car to pay off the last of her student loans. We started saving up money and looking for a house to buy and ended up in East Raleigh near Enloe because there was a good bus route to get me to work and back there.
For what downtown is missing, I think it needs more districts or neighborhoods that have stuff to do, places to live, and real personalities. I like how the Warehouse district is becoming a kind of real distinct district with its own vibe and stuff to do. Not sure if it has a personality yet. Would be cool to have 10 areas like that instead of the ~4 we have today. I would also love for the mixed use neighborhood idea to spread throughout ITB.
The things I enjoy the most about DTR are the great restaurants and beer. I also really love first Fridays gallery tours, Food Truck Rodeos, and open air street festivals. I also like biking to and around downtown. I used to enjoy run clubs, but I have been to busy doing a part time MBA for the last three years, and I want to get back into those once I finish in May.