New Bern Avenue will see the first major improvements since the city approved a corridor plan for the area three years ago.
The North Carolina Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization gave the city $2.8 million to help improve pedestrian safety in some parts of the city, including New Bern Avenue in East Raleigh.
Crews will build wide sidewalks along New Bern Avenue between Tarboro Road and Raleigh Boulevard, said Todd Delk, an engineer for the city. Multi-use paths will be built from Raleigh Boulevard to WakeMed hospital.
Multi-use paths, designed for pedestrians, bicyclists and more, are set further back from the road than typical sidewalks. Western Boulevard near N.C. State University features multi-use paths.
The work is the first major step in implementing the New Bern Avenue Corridor Study, which the Raleigh City Council adopted in 2012. The plan aims to improve the busy street and its surroundings.
Since the plan was approved, the city has made minor changes along New Bern Avenue, like planting trees and replacing signs, said planner Dhanya Sandeep.
The plan’s major goals aim to promote economic revitalization in the area, improve bus transit and increase pedestrian safety.
When the city develops a corridor plan, there isn’t always money in place to fund every project. The city will complete projects along New Bern Avenue as money becomes available, Sandeep said.
The New Bern Avenue Corridor Study is one of the city’s oldest corridor plans. It jump-started other such plans, including the Blue Ridge Corridor Plan, Sandeep said.
Residents who live near New Bern Avenue say they welcome the changes and are eager to see the next steps.
Deborah Cox, chairwoman of the East Citizens Advisory Council, helped create the plan and said she’s looking forward to economic revitalization.
“The next step should be helping the businesses directly – offering them some sort of money to make improvements or something,” Cox said.
Trailwood Drive in southwest Raleigh and Leesville Road in northwest Raleigh will also see improvements from the CAMPO money.
Crews will build sidewalks on Trailwood Drive to give pedestrians a safe way to walk under an Interstate 40 bridge.
Leesville Road will get sidewalks, medians, crosswalks and bike lanes in an effort to make it easier for students to walk to school. The project will be part of the Safe Route to Schools Initiative.
The city has budgeted about $4.2 million to fund all of the projects.