Residents and business owners got their first glimpse Tuesday of a new plan that will set recommendations for how Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village grow.
Both areas are ripe for further development, and planners want to know what the people who live and work there want to see in their neighborhood.
“It’s about getting in front of the next wave of development and making some decisions that will allow the city and community to take a proactive approach to the growth of the area rather than being reactive and ad-hoc,” said Ken Bowers, Raleigh’s interim planning director.
The area has been a hot spot for debates about development, including a number of apartment complexes that some residents have argued against because of their height or the traffic they would bring to the area.
Bowers said the area is unique its its mix of residences and businesses and its various modes of transportation.
“So many daily needs can be satisfied on foot right here in the Cameron Village area,” he said.
Small area plans for Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village are being considered under one planning process run by consultants. The plan is in the early phases, with a final report expected in late April.
Stan Harvey, principal at consulting firm Lord Aeck Sargent, said those in the neighborhoods should consider what they feel is essential to preserve in the area and how they want to see likely changes take shape.
Through interviews with stakeholders and surveys, the consultants intend to build a vision of what the neighborhood wants.
“Our hope is to build some consensus,” he said.
One key component of the plan will be a look at transportation in the area for vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit, such as buses.
Mike Rutkowski, a consultant with transportation firm Stantec, said the plan will look at how to link Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village for all modes of transportation, not just cars.
“We need to figure out how to balance it,” he said.
Plans for the area last got an update in 1999, in a consensus-driven process that focused on Hillsbrorough Street.
City councilman Russ Stephenson said the plan was a catalyst for reinvestment. In that case, a focus on publicly funded projects for the road itself led to private investment in the area.
The new plan will be a continuation of those efforts, as the area continues to grow. Stephenson said transportation will be key in the area, so the increased density that’s already underway doesn’t snarl traffic or push it onto residential roads.
He said he’s hopeful renewed talks about public transit at the county and regional level will also be beneficial to the city.
“The market is rushing ahead of transit, so we’ve got to play catch-up,” Stephenson said.