So here’s a bow to Raleigh City Council members for efficiently agreeing to a plan to change some one-way streets to two-way in downtown. Time was, such action would have been forever in the making. But these days, city council members and business leaders recognize the need for green lights on ideas to maintain the momentum on redevelopment.
South and Lenoir streets between Boylan Heights and Shaw University will be converted to two-way, and the same change will be made to Jones and Lane streets, which connect the Oakwood neighborhood to the Legislative Building and Glenwood South.
Said David Diaz of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance: “It’s one of the fundamental things you do in revitalizing a downtown. It’s more conducive to building on both sides of the street and slowing down traffic so that potential customers can look around and see a restaurant, a bar, a hotel or a retail shop.”
Yes, happily, the main job of downtown streets is no longer just to get people in and out of the area quickly. Downtown Raleigh today is a place where people live, enjoy leisure activities and visit as a destination. The city’s core continues to expand in terms of the number of residences, both apartments and condos, and foodies can go a month without duplicating their dinner fare.
The pace of change has been breathtaking in some ways. It wasn’t that long ago that the ill-designed Fayetteville Street Mall was a downtown downer. Now it’s a lively artery. There’s more than one way to get things going in central Raleigh.