A stretch of Peace Street will get more pleasing to the eye and easier for pedestrians to navigate under a plan that aims to spruce up the northern end of downtown where new development is in the works.
The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday agreed to spend $2.1 million to widen sidewalks and add trees along nearly one-third of a mile of Peace Street from West to St. Mary’s streets.
The heavily traveled corridor, which connects the Seaboard Station and Cameron Village retail centers, has caught the attention of developers. Kane Realty plans to build a mixed-use project with apartments and retail space at the corner of Peace and West streets, and Harris Teeter announced last year it will open a grocery store in Seaboard Station.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation is rebuilding the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street, which will redo the gateway into downtown.
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Raleigh’s streetscape project has been in the works since 2005, but the city put it on hold in 2008 because of the economic downturn. City leaders revived the plan in 2014.
In addition to adding trees and repaving cracked sidewalks, the city plans to add bigger trash cans, eliminate some business driveways, reconfigure utility lines and add a bus stop at the corner of Peace and Glenwood Avenue. The project is expected to be finished in mid-2019.
“It’ll be worth the wait,” Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said.
The city wanted to create a single entrance to Peace Street Market and Fallon’s Flowers near the intersection of Peace and St. Mary’s streets, but a deal could not be reached with the owners of the businesses.
Buildings that house the businesses sit so close to the street that customers sometimes back into traffic when they leave. City staff wanted to angle the nine parking spaces in front of the market to ease the problem, but they said the owner is “strongly opposed” to the idea because he would lose some parking.
Fallon’s Flowers plans to make improvements to its property at some point and does not want to commit to a plan with the city, said general manager Frank Campisi.
“We’re in the process of determining what to do with the property,” Campisi said, adding that Fallon’s will maintain a presence there. “We know we’ve got to make some updates to it. It definitely needs a facelift.”
Raleigh plans to plant trees in front of the businesses.
“We need to go ahead and do it because it’s a mess,” Councilman Dickie Thompson said of the intersection at Peace and St. Mary’s streets.
The city does plan to block off the Peace Street entrance to Sherwin-Williams Paint Store, eliminating three parking spaces.