A walk or bike ride down Peace Street near Glenwood South can mean dodging traffic as cars enter and exit the shops that line the road.
Raleigh city planners are hoping that a long-delayed plan to improve the stretch of Peace from St. Mary’s to North West streets will make the trip easier – and better connect downtown to Cameron Village.
The area is growing, with several new apartment complexes under construction in the blocks south of Peace.
The $2 million plan will include building new sidewalks, burying some utility lines and consolidating the number of driveways that front Peace Street. The plan does not address bike lanes, which could be part of a future resurfacing plan for the street.
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“When you walk along the corridor, you seem to always be in a driveway,” said Chris Johnson, a design and construction manager for the city.
The plan also calls for planting street trees with grates and new traffic signals. It’s a different plan than a N.C. Department of Transportation project that will overhaul Capital Boulevard and the bridges at Peace Street and Wade Avenue.
The streetscape plan had been delayed for years by funding shortfalls during the economic recession, but was included in the city’s 2013-14 Capital Improvement Program, allowing it to move forward.
Johnson said the design has been mostly complete for some time, but planners are giving the public a few more chances to take a look before bringing it to the city council for final approval in March or April.
“We didn’t just want to take the council a project that hasn’t been vetted by the public in several years,” he said.
At a meeting on Thursday, business owners and residents had questions about how the project would unfold.
At the meeting, several members of Oaks and Spokes, a group that promotes cycling in Raleigh, said the streetscape plans could limit the bike lane options when it comes time to resurface the road. They don’t want planning for cyclists to be an afterthought, especially on an important east-west corridor.
“We can’t tell if there will be any accommodations for bicyclists at all,” said Kristy Jackson, chairwoman of the group.
Mark Najafie, the owner of Peace Street Market at the corner of Peace and St. Mary’s streets, said he would lose several parking spaces under the plan. He’s pleased with the overall improvements, but he wants the city to be conscientious about how new trees will affect the market’s signs and how the appraised value of the property could change.
“I want the city to play fair,” he said.
Construction is expected to begin in spring of 2016.