Dorothea Dix Park


Waaait a minute, so they want to completely disconnect Ashe Avenue from Western Boulevard. That solves the greenway connection issue but otherwise I’m not quite sure I buy it. What about connecting Ashe to Bilyeu with a bridge over Western and this park connection?

Staying in that area, buying out the Kirby-Bilyeu neighborhood should really be on the table. According to Imaps, it’s just 32 units spread out over 25 single-family structures and one seven-unit condo building (615 Kirby). Having a low density neighborhood like this at literally the nexus between Spring Hill Precinct, Centennial Campus, Pullen Park, and NCSU’s main campus just seems like such a let down. This would be one of the most important gateways to the park. Same for that little gas station across Western Boulevard from there. My estimate for these buy-outs: about $10 million total.

Also I’d really like to see some movement toward getting the railroad out of there, and using its right-of-way for an awesome connection to downtown. I happen to think this is possible, while keeping the railroad happy at the same time, by building a connection near I-40 from the NCRR line toward Clayton, to the NS line towards Fuquay. Cost: about $50-75 million?. A long-term goal for sure, but it definitely should be on the radar.

Other remarks: there’s some really good stuff there. I love the reuse of existing buildings. I like the greenway connection under Centennial Parkway. I also agree with the public feedback that the “Event Hub” in the promenade loop should be something more than just five small parking lots and four basketball courts.

I think they should try (per the Dix 306 vision) to have a “hard” edge on the west side, rather than the jagged edge that is proposed right now.


The promenade loop is an ADA accessible, walking loop only - no cars. It’s kind of hard to see but this loop will actually bridge over at least one road. The access to that strange event hub, parking spoke is on the north end beneath the loop I believe. Regarding parking, the # of proposed spaces is roughly equal to the # of existing spaces, and they have designed parking areas to be much more parklike than the existing parking spaces, including permeable parking to reduce environmental impact, so overall the changes to parking lots should be positive and will not “pave paradise” - in fact it will improve existing parking conditions.


Agree. That was a big gripe at one of the workgroup meetings back in July. Guess that feedback didn’t affect change.

I hope the amphitheater is at least 5k capacity, but it looks more like 1k - 2k on the site plan.


Actually, the N&O is reporting 5k - 7k capacity for the venue! I hope that’s correct~!


Plan does look amazing!
We better not hear about money, make the investment, build it to plan and don’t change a thing the world class architect suggests, or this city will ruin a world class plan.
It has everything, but add tennis courts and a build a ice rink (ice and roller blading), an next to rink a space for outdoor winter ice skating like Central Park, how could they miss that in plan?
Maybe Goodnight can support the effort all at once and this ge down in 2-3 years instead of decades.
SAS Park sounds better than Dix.
Pullen and Dix Parks next to each other, just does not sound right.


I believe Bilyeu is closing at Western once the Pullen extension is completed as they’ll have to access Western though Pullen. Also once the Pullen extension is complete it will open access to the park via Bilyeu which maybe why they feel comfortable in taking the Ashe entrance away.
I’d hate to see the Kirby-Bilyeu neighborhood go away. They’re an extremely tight nit community that is responsible for one of the most fun Raleigh traditions: the Kirby derby. Money for the park is going to be hard enough to come by it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to spend money on the acquisition costs it would take to buy people out and eventually have to litigate because I know several people that aren’t going to budge.


Unfortunately, they’re already there. Especially the north side of Rocky Branch. Scooter highway between NC State and downtown.


Hi everyone, this is Dan from Neighborland … we’re supporting the City and MVVA on public engagement online. As a resident of downtown Raleigh and member of the Advisory Committee, I thought I’d jump in and help answer questions. Note these answers may contain my own opinions as a resident, and do not represent official City of Raleigh policy.

Promenade Loop - the intention is that the Loop is car free almost always. Exceptions, include parks and rec operations, emergency vehicles, and delivery vehicles in the instance of special events

Transportation and parking - specific changes to streets along with the parking strategy illustrated in the plan are still conceptual. Note that the design team has discussed the possibility of phasing out parking over time as our transportation network gets more robust. It’s very helpful for the design team to hear from the community about these specific questions -

Land bridge - the specifics of the connection over Western are currently in discussion … the Master Planning process is meant to set the framework for the design of the park, and any drawings of the land bridge are conceptual at this point

Amphitheater - confirmed that the proposal is for 5-7k. Folks can share questions with the design team about this element here:

The Railroad - there’s not much we can do about this in the near term unfortunately … the plan is working with it as a constraint for the foreseeable future

How will we finance the plan? This is an active discussion on the committee. All options are on the table (public/private partnership, bonds, philanthropy, etc.) and some of the ideas for how to implement the vision will be discussed at the next public meeting. We will also update the project website with these concepts this fall/winter.

How long will it take? There is a phasing strategy that could start as soon as next year … so we could see significant improvements to the park within 5 years … we could see much of this vision come to life in the next 10 years if the residents of Raleigh, and our City Council, support the planning process.

I hope these comments are helpful … I want to encourage the DTR community to share your questions, ideas, and comments openly on Neighborland. An honest and robust critique of the vision is critical to the long term success of the park. Viva Dix Park!


Thanks for the informative post Dan. I’ve been following this fairly closely both through the meetings and through the website. There is a lot to like about what we have seen so far. The Promenade Loop looks great. I really like the idea to restore the Portico Arch, which should also provide something easy to identify the park. Hopefully the combination of restored Rocky Branch and the splash pad on the ridge will provide Raleigh some much needed water features. The Valley Theater looks promising also, though I’m a bit concerned the city will see it as a replacement for Red Hat. And of course the land bridge is a neat idea if that gets built.

I’m a little surprised I have not seen more discussion on a possible anchor institution. I feel like most major US city parks have an anchor institution as part of the park (Central Park has the Met, Balboa Park has the San Diego Zoo and several museums, Forest Park has the St. Louis Art Museum, City Park has the New Orleans Museum of Art, etc.). Obviously often the anchor institution is an art museum and we of course we already have a great one here at the NCMA so Raleigh don’t need that at the park, but I have been wondering if something else could do in there, especially with so many existing buildings that could be repurposed. Anyone have any thoughts?


I would guess that the specifics of an anchor institution would be figured out after master plan. I think a historic asylum turned boutique hotel on a hilltop overlooking the city inside a Disney-epic park is pretty unique!

The farmers market is going to hopefully be a pretty major anchor institution as well. Imagine being known as having one of the coolest farmer’s markets in the country, where one can learn agricultural history, buy produce, eat at restaurants, or visit as a part of a much larger park. Pretty cool.


Do note that there is an apartment development, Overture Centennial, proposed to be constructed on that triangle of land between Western, Bilyeu, and the Pullen extension. I presume construction should be starting sometime soon on that project, since the land has been sold now. But either way, development is definitely a possibility for this area, and who knows what might happen to the Kirby-Bilyeu neighborhood in the coming years.


Given that Red Hat is temporary…it is the site of the horizon-less phase II of the Convention Center…it will indeed need replaced one day. Seems like they have their ducks in a row…
Quite a few major parks do not have anchor institutions and do just fine…Eden Park in Cincy (though it has several support institutions), Cherokee Park in Louisville and Schenley and Frick in Pittsburgh to name a handful…and they do just fine. I suppose they do fine because they are all surrounded by dense urban environments and do not need a ‘draw’, they just need to be green, clean and ‘nice’. Raleigh’s active and outdoorsy culture combined with it’s thirst to be like the ‘big boys’ should allow Dix to survive just fine with out any central namesake steering and marketing things.


It would seem to me that the planned boutique hotel would be a good anchor, though perhaps not as much of a destination as, say, an art museum. But given all of the other uses proposed for the park, I think there will be plenty of draws to make it a popular place year-round. Especially if it can make good use of its proximity to the Farmer’s Market.


I remember once having a discussion with Larry Wheeler about why the NCMA is not located in downtown Raleigh and without missing a beat he said, “the State of NC owns the property on Blue Ridge Road.” Nothing more to say or discuss…
So at this point do we (as citizens of Raleigh) say, let’s move the CAM to this site or perhaps be so bold as to build a RMA (Raleigh Museum of Art) or one idea that I have always liked, combining a museum with a library? Not to compete with the Jim Hunt Library, but a more traditional library where you can actually see the books? But wait, there’s more…have a building that meets the needs of a library, museum and Arts space…???


It’s really just the city parodying itself when the center of our future pride and enjoy, what we as a city are sharing to the world, is a parking lot disguised as a likely not often used ‘Event Hub’. I can totally understand parking at the outer perimeter of the park but this is just comedically ridiculous.


Yep. Lots of complaints about this at the workgroup meeting back in July…


They want a largely hardscape area for hosting occasional events and festivals. They also want it to serve some other purpose so it can be useful and used when there are no festivals going on. Also not a big fan of the parking there. But just saying we don’t like the parking is not really helpful. Let’s try to come up with other better ideas for hardscape areas that would actually get used on a daily basis.

Just making it a plaza would be a big fail. Plazas work in dense urban areas but not in the center of a 300 acre park, especially when other plaza areas in are already planned in better locations within Dix.

I’m not super creative but I’m sure some of you guys are. What do you think? Any precedents in other large city parks like this?


If they just would have mocked it up with a bunch of people walking around it and some tents up or something then put a line at the bottom that said “*optionally used for parking when no events being held” no one would have complained


I don’t know if this is really the right location for it, but it did remind me that in the winters the DRA used to put up an outdoor ice skating rink where the FNB Tower is currently being built. They were unsuccessful in finding another site in Raleigh for it last year. I wonder if that’s a tradition that could be revived somewhere in Dix Park? (The theory being that you’re probably not going to have a lot of outdoor festivals in the depths of winter.) Again, I don’t know if this specifically would be the spot, but just something that popped into my head.


Fantastic idea. This would be super popular in the winter.

Use the space for roller hockey during the warm months? This would be a nice tie-in with the promenade loop which would be a great spot for roller blading.