West Street Corridor


#1

Considering all the activity along the West Street Corridor that is underway or planned, its hard to imagine this two lane road being able to handle the incoming traffic. The folks at the Planning Department rightfully see West Street developing into a bike / pedestrian friendly corridor with BRT, but how? Those traffic engineers who prioritize automobiles over all else must be laughing at the thought.

Here’s a graphic I made to illustrate all the new activity that will drive vehicle traffic. Imagine thousands more residents living, working, and shopping along West Street, along with the influx of visitors heading to Union Station or the new city parks who travel into downtown on West Street once the street extensions to Wake Forest Road and under the Boylan Wye are in place.

Ensuring West Street develops into a bike / pedestrian friendly corridor is going to require some new thinking.


#2

All the city plans that put the BRT on West Street (there was only one that did IIRC) called for moving the cycle track to Harrington. So basically, the city doesn’t think that it is wide enough for both a bidirectional BRT and bikes.

Last decade there was a big movement against one way streets and we converted a bunch of them to two way. Looking back, the motivation was to deprioritize traffic engineering, which is a sound motive, but it didn’t change the fact that at least 2/3 of every downtown street is still allocated to cars. On the other hand, if the reason to do a one way conversion is something other than to expedite traffic, for example, something like cycle tracks, wider sidewalks, or bus lanes, then I think one way (re?)conversions should be squarely on the table. West Street would certainly be a candidate.

I agree that this will be an awesome corridor in the future. Just as important as Glenwood if not more so.


#3

Interesting idea to make West one way. While I can’t imagine how that would function north of Peace St., I can imagine it from Peace to Hillsborough (save for the BRT).
Having West one-way would also make crossing it easier/safer by foot, bike and car from the future Johnson St intersection as well as from Tucker, North & Jones.
Now, the question is, would it be better to have it one way north or south? I’m thinking south.


#4

I think from Peace to Martin would be workable, in a southbound direction, with Harrington serving as the northbound counterpart. It does complicate the connection to the West Street extension south of Martin, but not too badly- just force northbound traffic to turn onto Martin. Same for Peace. Just use Peace to jog over from Harrington to West.

By removing one direction of standard vehicular traffic, you save room for something else, be it a cycle track, a bus lane, or street parking where it would not otherwise be possible.


#5

Going northbound on West from Peace doesn’t actually get you anywhere because all exits lead to southbound Capital! It’s like a deadend. For people, like myself, who live outside of downtown, it’s an alternate route from Wade to Glenwood South and the Warehouse District.


#6

Good point! That’s kind of funny. There was talk as part of the Capital Blvd corridor study of bridging West over Wade and connecting it up to Fairview, Wake Forest, or even Atlantic, but I have no idea of when, or whether that is even still under consideration.


#7

Patric, it’s for that reason that I can’t imagine that stretch of West being one way. You take it southbound to avoid Capital, but it needs to also go northbound to connect it to Glenwood South and Smokey Hollow. There just isn’t a reasonable alternative to accessing it from Peace by car without really going out of ones way.


#8

Turning West Street into a southbound one-way street is certainly new thinking. To address John’s point re access it could be part of a one-way pair, with Harrington Street going one-way northbound. Businesses normally don’t like to be adjacent to one-way streets, but if cycle tracks, wider sidewalks, or bus lanes are a priority it could be an alternative worth considering.


#9

It’s not. The design option at the time was to disconnect West from Wade and build an overpass over Wade.


#10

@John completely agree with you.


#11

From “@RaleighBikeLady” on Twitter. Looks like the cycle track will shift to Harrington St.
" Due to some identified constraints, corridor shifted from West > Harrington. This allows for @ RaleighMoves to get a pilot on the ground in next few months, and first (permanent!) segment in soon after"


“Phase I would be short 3-block segment from Davie > Morgan. BPAC suggested merging Phase II & III into one project phase, to expedite delivery. This would connect all the way down to new Devereux Meadows park and connect @ MordecaiCAC w/ Warehouse District.”


#12

Thanks for sharing this, Drew!


#13

“Staff proposing to switch cycle track corridor to east side of Harrington Street”

So all of the traffic coming off of Capital to get to Peace will cross the cycletrack before turning onto Harrington?


#14

Seems like it would be better to have the cycle track on the west side of the street, so only traffic going straight through on W Johnson Street would have to yield to bikes and scooters.


#15

Totally! Maybe they’ll get their heads screwed on straight and revisit that decision after thinking a little bit about that.


#16

https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2019/01/17/developers-buy-downtown-raleighbuilding-thats.html

The “Auto Interiors and Tops building” at 303 N. West St will be redeveloped in mixed use - office and restaurant space open by September 2019! Developer Atlas Stark who did some redevelopments on West St north of Peace already.
https://atlasstark.com/projects/


#17

super cool! I’ve been waiting to hear that something cool could go into that space.


#18

Great news. There is lots of potential with that building, including an outdoor seating area near the tracks.


#19

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess they’re going to paint it white (based on their other similar projects) ; )


#20

Properties along West Street are a hot prospect these days, thanks to Kane. The former Ornamentea building may be next.