Wild Ideas for Raleigh

At least two loops around town were identified in the original 1976 greenway plan:


Nice. Thank you for this.

In a way, there is 2 different loops around the city. They are a bit disconnected, but I posted two different maps about them here (Click here). Once Crabtree Creek Trail West is completed, which in a way kind of is, Raleigh will have 3 loops with the west one going through Umstead State Park. I would like to make some sections between these loops as they are some pretty large loops (30-40 miles). This would allow for shorter rides and links to the greenway system in areas that are not currently served by them in Raleigh.

The last major part is connecting the greenway loops to shopping areas. I would like to see a multi-use path going up on Lake Boone Trail from the greenway. There’s restaurants there and groceries. It would also benefit the nearby apartments/residences who may want to bike to Food Lion, or restaurants, without needing to be on a shared road space. The speed limit is high here at 45Mph.

NH needs a better connection to the Greenway. I know the eastern section is going to be eventually connected with the new bridge, but we already talk about how bad crossing Six Forks Rd is.

Wegman’s has a decent connection from the Greenway. Creekside crossing shops is right on the greenway. McNeil point has some restaurants. I would love a connection to RIW.

Gateway Plaza is also pretty close to the greenway.


A Lake Boone Trail greenway connection + road diet is already in the works!


Do you have the plans? I know the one on the east side, but it’s just the east. I would like a connection to the stores on the west.

Ah, I think it is actually just the east side upon further investigation.

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I’m pretty sure the Pullen road sidewalk is coming very soon… the bridge crossing is another story but the section that is bordering the NCSU property should be getting a sidewalk in the very near future.


I would like a tunnel, maybe electric street car only, from the creek behind the Village District, where Clark bends into Peace, to Smoky Hollar/Pigeon House.


I’m generally skeptical of “branding” as a concept but the main problem with this is branding. We have 2-3 (could be 4!) overlapping trail loops around the City that not a lot of people really appreciate or even realize.

Atlanta is still scraping to piece together their Beltline, which still has gaps, but developers flock to it. Meanwhile we basically have the same thing jammed between the couch cushions but: (1) it’s segmented between the Rocky Branch Trail and the Walnut Creek Trail and the House Creek Trail, etc etc etc; and (2) our zoning doesn’t support higher density development near most of our Beltline.

Just call it the Raleigh GreenLoop or Beltline or consistently call it the Greenway. All subsets can be divisions of the greater whole. No City material should refer to the “House Creek Trail”, at best it should be the “House Creek section of the Raleigh Greenway”.

The rezoning piece is harder but the first part helps. If you do this incrementally and let the buzz do the rest there won’t be as much friction. Just compare the rezoning process of Dix edge with TOD - once the Dix edge community saw the park as a cash cow, the opposition all but disappeared because they had almost all sold out!

Once that’s sold most neighborhoods should realize the benefit of having stuff like this close by, whether for their lifestyle or their property values:

Once that happens you can upzone the shit out of existing higher intensity areas like Gorman, New Bern, Sunnybrook, and North Hills Drive, and then hope that the rest falls into place. Honestly between “Downtown South” and Midtown/Hodges Street this is almost done.

If the City does this right (lol, sorry) we should have a major selling point for the region as an attraction and a landing spot, as well as a self-propelling growth engine. Get excited dummies.


Agreed, we really should really be up zoning around pedestrian pathways where possible. Charlotte has a similar situation as Atlanta it seems. I was presently surprised when I went for a run on Charlotte’s Greenway south of Uptown and saw all the retail/mixed-use that had pedestrian focused fronts facing towards the Greenway. A surprising number of people were out using the trails for both recreation and travel.


The Beltline in Atlanta and Rail Trail in Charlotte have the benefit of having both been built primarily on a former rail right-of-way instead of within the floodplain like many of the older greenway segments (Walnut Creek, Rocky Branch, etc) in Raleigh. In addition to having fewer environmental constraints to building around the greenway, those trails also have a lot of existing industrial buildings that were served by the railroad and can be adaptively reused for trail-oriented development or redeveloped. If I understand correctly one of the original goals of the greenway system in Raleigh was flood protection and to find a use for land that could otherwise not be used.


Yeah and in some sense I agree with that motivation. Can’t really build structures on a lot of Raleigh’s Greenways because they’re floodplains. Aka put the greenway on land where the opportunity cost is lowest, there’s no real other use for it and if it floods, the worst thing is that someone can’t go for a walk in the woods for a few days. I’ll give credit where credit is due, some of the green spaces along the greenways are really nice.

On the other hand, it’s played into this design practice where the only use is for recreation. It’s not really designed to be a way to get from point to point AND you can’t build along large segments of it because it lays in flood plains.


Take the windowless AT&T building and put Times Square style displays all over it to liven it up.


My personal idea for that AT&T building was to give each “window” to a different artist and let them paint murals on them as if looking into a window of their creativity. So for instance, someone could paint a window looking into a rainforest, one could be looking into a cartoon world, one looking into the ocean, etc.


An observation tower in Dix Park. I’m not sure about the height. At first I was thinking a modest 600’… good enough to see anything in town as well as Durham and UNC Hospital and some hills west of that.

But then I became a bit mad and started wondering about 1000 ft. What if we made a statement? What if you could see Charlotte and the Uwharries from the top?


Homie 1000ft would put it among the tallest structures in the United States of America lmaooo


I’m sure the NIMBYs would complain about shadows and what-not. We would hear about boondoggles and admittedly, this is one. Bear in mind the Stratosphere in Las Vegas is 1000 ft. It’s not that outrageous for observatories. Well, I acknowledge that that height has little chance of happening. But 600 ft? Very typical for many cities.

If it’s done right a really good public viewing tower can elevate a city’s popular image majorly.


Sorry to disappoint but a 6ft observer standing atop a 1000’ tower in Dix Park at ~400’ elevation would not be able to see Charlotte’s tallest building, the Bank of America tower (871’ +746’ elev.) as it is 127 miles away. Due to the curvature of the earth, it would be below the horizon, even accounting for atmospheric refraction. Someone check my math.


I’ve never been able to see Charlotte from a window seat upon take off from RDU. I think you’re pretty safe in your math and assumptions.

Actual formula accounts for nuances like sea level elevation differences and height of both viewers eyes and top of viewed object.

But this online calculator yields a close approximation:

600 feet equates to approximately 30 miles to horizon (Hillsborough). Could see Occoneechee Mountain on a clear visibility day. :mountain:

From 150 feet above street level at Skyhouse I had a calculated 15 mile horizon view. But the visibility index and the ridge that Knightdale is on limited that range to the east.

On a clear visibility day with late afternoon sun could see pretty much all of a rural fire department’s water tower 15 miles to the southeast.


Those factors actually make a big difference. Distant tall objects like the Bank of America can be visible beyond the horizon. So it would theoretically be possible to see Charlotte from Raleigh given perfectly ideal conditions but you’d need a tower at least half a mile high – basically the tallest structure on Earth. And even accounting for all that my calculations assumed zero elevation at the point of tangency. Need some better topo maps but I think that puts us somewhere in Moore county, which isn’t at sea level. So looks like at best you might be able to see Pinehurst.