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City leaders on Tuesday finalized rankings for 36 planned street improvement projects. Facelifts for Oberlin Road and two stretches of Hillsborough Street topped the list.
The Raleigh City Council signed off on the priorities proposed by the appointed Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. First up is the next phase of the Hillsborough streetscape project, extending the new look a few blocks to Rosemary Street at the Reader’s Corner bookstore.
The project – which calls for sidewalk repairs, traffic circles, trees, buried power lines and fewer driveway cuts – was already next up before the new ranking criteria. “The good news is the top priority project, we’re already working on,” said transportation planning manager Eric Lamb.
BPAC members have spent months looking at the 36 proposed streetscape projects, most of them inside the Beltline, and ranking them using new criteria. Among the questions each project faced: Does the road have a history of pedestrian crashes? Do pedestrians use the area? Can the road work fix infrastructure issues and improve appearance? Will it improve the street’s business climate? How heavy is traffic? Will bike lanes be added?
The projects that topped the list all ranked high in the transit support category, Lamb said. Those are areas around bus lines or within a half-mile of future transit stations.
The list left off one project that’s been a high priority for groups such as the Downtown Living Advocates: West Peace Street improvements between Glenwood South and Cameron Village. That’s because it already has funding. The 36 others don’t, Lamb said. “Since the money for that has been put on hold, really that’s ready to pull the trigger on,” he said.
But another project missing from the list won’t happen soon. Councilman Thomas Crowder said many residents in his district want to see streetscape improvements in the South Saunders/South Wilmington streets area. More studies are needed there.
“We’ve yet to conduct a corridor plan for that area,” Lamb said. “It’s premature for us to be able to add a project in at this point.”
Rounding out the top five projects:
Oberlin Road north from Cameron Village: Oberlin is set to get fewer traffic lanes as part of a “road diet.” It will have new sidewalks, on-street parking, medians, landscaping and a traffic circle at Clark Avenue.
Hillsborough Street east of the bell tower: The third segment of Hillsborough will look similar to the first streetscape, running east to Morgan Street with various traffic-calming measures.
East Cabarrus Street from Wilmington Street to Chavis Way: This gateway to Southeast Raleigh will get wider sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, landscaping and signage.
New Bern Avenue/Edenton Street corridor: The one-way streets leading east from downtown will get new sidewalks, on-street parking and better transit stops.