Raleigh City Council: Jonathan Melton AMA

Jonathan Melton returns to the Community for an AMA next week. He’ll be answering questions on Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 12pm to 1pm.

Feel free to post questions ahead of time right here.


Welcome back, we’re glad to have you!

Alright, so you probably can’t say too much here, but a lot of us are dying to know: what changes do you expect to see from this new council? Do you anticipate anything that the previous council worked on being reversed, or do you expect continued progress in terms of density, transit, and the like? Again, I don’t want to put you in a compromising position, so feel free to say as much or as little as you like.

I’ll follow that with something more pleasant: what are you most excited about with this term?

Thanks for coming back, wish more city leaders would do this!


Congrats on your reelection! For reference, I came by and introduced myself when your campaign had that meet-n-greet at the NC State Football tailgate.
My question is in regard to public sidewalk access during construction of new buildings downtown. As the city grows, more and more folks are walking to their destinations (as we had hoped). However, construction projects continue to close vital pedestrian infrastructure for months if not years. In some cases like the 400H project, the sidewalk is closed on both sides of West St., making north/south walking particularly challenging and annoying through this vital N/S corridor on the west side of downtown. It didn’t use to be this way. I specifically remember when 510 Glenwood was being built, the developer maintained a protected walkway through the construction site along Glenwood Ave. Today, I never seem to find a protected or even designated pathway along construction sites. Even a simple jersey barrier separation would be good to have vs. having nothing for pedestrians.
So, my question is…What should the city do to prioritize pedestrian access during construction projects as the city center grows more walkable? I am attaching two photos of the sort of access that I think the city should be requiring. The first of the two photos is similar to what 510 Glenwood provided during their construction.


Congratulations on your reelection! I think pretty much everyone on here supported you.

We’ve noticed a lot of the planning commission meetings, council meetings, and public hearings for in progress rezonings have been deferred and delayed recently. Is there something bigger going on, or was there just too much on everyone’s plates?

On a related note, we’re hearing a lot of projects that were approved for rezonings have gotten stuck for months (or even a year) with backlogs due to city staff shortages. Is there a plan to actively reduce these backlogs, and when do you think this might be noticeably improved?

Thanks for coming back on here to engage with us again!


Just out of general curiosity, any updates on the proposed ‘Waterfront District’? Feel like I remember reading there was going to be another study or something of that sort.


Has the city considered adding a library/civic center to the City of Raleigh campus plans or anywhere else?

Is it too much to ask for the basics like a library? Cary has a new main library, Durham has a new main library, Charlotte is building a fancy new library in their downtown. Downtown Raleigh has a tiny basement library at Wake County Office Building.

I mean the library system being county-wide is no excuse–the new Cary library is right in their downtown and is part of the same system. I mean we’re not investing in anything at the moment–no sports facilities, barely funds go to transit projects, and yet we have no money for even a library/civic center?

Forum Groningen is a good example of the type of library/civic center I would love to see in Raleigh–preferably as part of the Civic Campus.


Speaking of the Civic Tower, is there a confirmed date it’s supposed to break ground? I feel like nothing has happened with it in a long time since it was announced.

Just taking questions at this time.


Unfortunately I won’t be able to join the live AMA but I’ll drop some questions below, and congrats on your re-election! The effort you put forth as a counselor for our city is much appreciated and I’d love to see that level of effort from all sitting counselors, though I know it’s rough carrying a full-time job AND serving the city.

This was touched on earlier/above, but is the city looking to something to help push some of these ASRs/permits/etc through the funnel? I’m not sure I know exactly what the issues are, so I wouldn’t be able to speculate on a solution, but it’s been suggested city staff is the bottleneck. If that’s not the case, would love to know more!

Can you provide any information on what the DRA has planned in '23? I believe they’re looking to expand their territory which has a direct impact on the residents in those territories. For the record, I FULLY support any expansion and the associated tax to bring the DRA services to more downtown residents. If that needs to be more of a DRA answer, perhaps @dtraleigh can get an AMA set up with them.

I think the micro-mobility we have with Cardinal Bikeshare and the scooters is great, but as John spoke to, Raleigh could be much safer for those modes of transportation around downtown and beyond. I’d love to hear what continued improvements are planned for '23 around this.

Please tell us more on Smoky Hollow Park! I know we need to be patient. Thank you for helping get that amended in the Parks Bond so it was more palatable and gained approval from the other counselors. Also excited to have the skate park in place, though you won’t see me out there except as a spectator perhaps. :joy:

Have a great new year!


Can you ask Jonathan this question for me here it is. Jonathan I recently visited Austin, Texas and I saw a traffic light specifically for bike lanes would you consider implementing that here.

Also why are you guys not working to Merge the Raleigh-Cary Durham-Chapel Hill MSAs. It really crucial both Metro being reunited. Are you guys working with government?

Last question: Why not work with the chamber of commerce to incentivize developers to attract companies here? Or at least partner with them.


One more question, sorry if someone else asked already:

How confident are you that the TOD rezonings will pass? A lot of us are certain that BRT will fail without them, and it sucks seeing us lose key parcels like the abandoned Kmart. I know the city has to be super careful with this process, as it has the potential to leave a lot of interest groups feeling alienated or unheard, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little worried.


And following up to Colby’s question: how do you balance the need to protect specific parcels for big investments for the far future versus bringing new developments and amenity upgrades to Raleigh as soon as possible? Do you think your newly-elected colleagues are aware that those interests could be diametrically opposed?

I ask because that’s a big philosophical debate for TOD rezoning cases, but there’s also a similar need to think about this for commuter rail and the Southeast Corridor/SEHSR. For example, 501 N. West St. was bought by investors in 2020, and they’re expected to submit an ASR for a new boutique hotel (according to the Triangle Business Journal). The hotel seems really nice, but it would directly block the right-of-way that the state would have to buy for the future rail corridor. Despite this, many users on this forum seem to think that it’s not worth it to preserve the corridor when the trains may never come.

This sort of short-term pessimism also extends to other big investments, including BRT lines, Dix Park, and densifying the PNC Arena area. In light of this, how do you wrap your head around these sorts of dilemmas?


Hi Jonathan, thanks for doing this!

Two quick questions for you.

  1. Much of our completed and upcoming bike infrastructure is in the form of paved “multi-use paths” adjacent to the road. Would you consider raising an effort to start marking the multi-use paths, maybe like the one on each end of the Gorman St. bridge? I think that making sure new bicycle infrastructure is recognizable is an important part of getting new folks out of their cars and onto bikes, especially for those who aren’t actively looking for it. The “bike + ped” markings and/or the striped median would go a long way to help people realize it’s not just a big sidewalk and “hey, look, I can ride a bike over there.”

  2. I’ve heard talk of a potential urban street protected bike lane UDO text change; I know one for large streets was already passed, but are there plans for smaller urban streets too? Do you have any updates on its status, if so?

Thanks again!


Hi Jonathan, thank you for joining us here.
Today we received a call from a consultant working on behalf of Wake county Planning, Permits, and Inspections to ask what feedback we have for the departments and what they can be doing better. Our feedback was mostly positive, because Wake Co. Planning/Permits is actually running extremely smooth right now. Are there any efforts to share improvements from the county offices to the city offices? Is CoR considering a consultant to help with staffing/training/process development in the Planning/Permits departments?

I recognize that having 3 rounds of review in the county vs. ~10 in the city is a huge advantage for their processes… Maybe we are trying to juggle too many processes? Thoughts on that?


Thank you for taking questions!

I think one of the most valuable things we have in the city and area as a whole is the greenway system. I live right off the Crabtree Creek greenway and it is a useful tool for walking to and from SOME places, but there are restaurants and breweries I would love to get to, but the greenway connection just isn’t there. Downtown should be about an hour walk and North Hills a 30 minute walk, but currently the sidewalks are either nonexistent or dangerous.

I think about Charlotte’s Rail Trail and how busy I’ve seen it on weekends with people walking between apartments, breweries, and restaurants. Is there any plan to prioritize urbanizing the greenway to make it a destination in itself? Linking between up and coming areas inside the beltline. Right now most of the expansions seem to be focused outside the downtown area, signaling to me that the priority is recreation and commuting.


So, I’ve never attended one of these AMAs here. Is there going to be a web based call or something?

No, the idea is that you can post questions ahead of time -but you can also ask him follow-up questions/responses, too, and he could reply to that as well (as long as he has gets to it in his scheduled time).


A post was merged into an existing topic: Show Off Things From Other Cities

Does the city’s gift policy prohibit me from sending educational books to council members? Many seem to have good intentions, but might need some wisdom.
(I’m having trouble reading Jenny Schuetz’s book because I keep having to take notes!)