McDowell and Dawson Streets

I like the development of a pedestrian/people friendly Hargett Street. I can envision a very multimodal connection between Moore Square, Nash Square, and the next phase of the Bus Terminal connected to the West Street multimodal corridor connecting Raleigh Union Station, to Glenwood South and the Peace/Smokey Hollow project. Could lead to an “L” line bus, trolly or tram that runs both of these corridors as a compliment to the popular R-Line.


Dawson Street will have to use traffic calming measures but I would like for the city to use illuminations. They’re very effective in Santa Monica and LA.crosswalk-system


Good point – traffic on Dawson can be rather intimidating for pedestrians. The same could be said of McDowell. Do you think the City should consider reverting both streets back to two-way? I think it would be a logical next step after applying the process to Blount/Person, and it would considerably tame the current drag race that exists along the one-way pairs.

I think a slightly, slightly raised pedestrian crosswalk on Morgan St, Hargett St, and Davie Street cross walk should be enough. I personally saw a car turn into Davie from the middle lane forcing another car that was going over the speed limit to crash into a busy street corner. If it were a busier day a pedestrian would have been killed or severely injured. Having a slight bump on Morgan, Hargett, and Davie would calm the car speed just enough that this accident wouldn’t have happened.

From my understanding the city does not really get much of a say over Dawson and Mcdowell since they are state highways. The state has control there and thier main concern is putting through as many cars as possible.


I am a realist, and I think that I’d rather keep the couplet one-way roads than to subject the core of the city to a study that would eventually plow a freeway through it.
We just need to have the light syncing better managed at speeds that with both move the traffic through the city but not at excessive speeds. In other words, sync them so that faster speeds would cause drivers to eventually stop. I think that most drivers would align pretty quickly to a more reasonable and consistent speed without stopping rather than racing from red light to red light.

Veering off topic, but the best solution for Dawson / McDowell is:

  • Tunnel Dawson from Lane to Cabarrus. (based on current topography and minimal impacts to existing buildings/infrastructure)

  • Tunnel McDowell from South to Lane. (b/c of topography, etc…)

  • Three lanes of thru car traffic in the tunnel

  • Surface street with 1 car lane, bike boulevards, pedestrian bumpouts, and 1 dedicated lane for either BRT or light rail.

Rather than tunneling roads… why not just make pedestrian tunnels under Dawson and McDowell? It would keep pedestrians separated from traffic and cost WAY less money to construct.

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Obviously the tunnels would be very expensive. But sometimes the best thing to do is expensive. Yes, there are other ways to address the problem that are cheaper but they are inferior so why settle? I thought the overall sentiment of this group was people are tired of Raleigh not dreaming big and then actually acting on big ideas?

Don’t get me wrong, I want great things to happen in DTR. But unless there is another way to get 6 lanes of through traffic (IE S Saunders-Dawson/McDowell-Capital Blvd) through town without running through on the surface street grid, there needs to be separation of pedestrians/bikers from vehicles. It is ultimately about safety. At this point the two one-way streets are a necessary evil to keep the city moving along the north/south axis. To the west you have Dix/prison/NCSU… to the east you have many blocks of residential and historic neighborhoods…so the only route appears to be straight through the city.

Still sounds like my idea solves all the problems you bring up.

An addition to the idea, for both streets, ramp up to and down from Hargett Street to provide a mid-way access point to and from the tunnels.

McDowell St cross section at Martin:

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They are NEVER going to build tunnels in Raleigh. It is much more less expensive and practical to build an elevated highway through some part of downtown Raleigh that would allow for the through traffic to flow more freely…


Shudder ran through my spine thinking about Raleigh/Triangle drivers in a long underground tunnel.


They can do the Las Vegas solution where each intersection has pedestrian bridges across them and barricades that force the pedestrians to use the bridges.


I guess we’ve officially taken this off topic, so maybe I’ll stop, but just wanted to say, yall have said nothing that convinces me of a better idea. All I’ve heard is cost too much which is pretty much an excuse against anything.


This probably should be in one of the transit threads but I’d have a ton of questions about even if a Raleigh Big Dig would be helpful.
How many cars travel McDowell/Dawson a day? How many would use the tunnels and how many would continue to use the street level roads? Where would the tunnels emerge, how much infrastructure would be needed at those locations? Is moving traffic under Raleigh a better solution than investing in some sort of mass transit or alternate North South route? (Raleigh Blvd maybe?)
I think everyone seems to agree tho that McDowell/Dawson in their current states are not conducive to a liveable walkable city core.


Still more logical to do an elevated highway… for example start it south of downtown where the train tracks cross over Dawson and McDowell at Western Blvd (or even start it at Wilmington St or Hammond Rd). Elevate it over the train tracks and keep it above the tracks northward following the tracks around north back up to Capital Blvd. I have lived in other cities with these elevated highways and they work great. Probably about 10 times cheaper than a tunnel and does the exact same thing.

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But wouldn’t that take out a big piece of the Warehouse District and Glenwood/Smoky Hollow area??? We all forget how much land expressways eat. The Downtown Freeway in Richmond literally took out an entire city block (more at ramps) between I195 and I95. It sounded great at the time, I’m sure, but it came with a huge price tag and isolated neighborhoods to the south of the freeway. And honestly… I never really saw that much traffic on it during my time living there.


No because it would be above the train tracks. Would not take up any land whatsoever in my way of thinking… and this is very short bypass really as it would only take about 12 blocks to get through downtown…

New topic devoted to the McDowell/Dawson pair. Go crazy.

Personally, I would want the streets buried underneath downtown going all the way through. (no exits at all) Towers of the future that build underground parking decks could access these streets underneath as well for easy and in and out.

The land above becomes open green space with cycle tracks, leisure spaces and maybe even a lane for buses. Casual yet transit functional in some spaces.