Wake County

Traffic patterns, pedestrian safety part of Six Forks Road corridor draft plan

Two years ago, residents and business owners on Six Forks Road told city planners what they wanted the corridor near North Hills to look like as the area continued to grow.

They imagined an attractive, welcoming place where traffic flowed freely but pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit also could move through the area easily and safely.

On Thursday, a team of consultants will unveil a draft of the Six Forks Corridor Study that tries to make good on the residents’ and business owners’ vision.

If approved, the plan would be a guide for sidewalks, intersections and traffic lanes on Six Forks, from Interstate 440 to Lynn Road.

The area is home to mixed-use developments and high-rise apartments, as well as churches, banks, schools and houses. More growth is expected in the area, where developers are aiming for downtown-style density.

Tara Lightner Robbins, executive director of the Midtown Raleigh Alliance, said the plan is a critical one for the growing area if it’s to be a walkable, urban area.

“Smart planning requires us to stay ahead of mobility challenges that come with increased density,” she said.

Carter Pettibone, an urban planner at the city’s Urban Design Center, said the draft will be detailed, with information on where sidewalks would be located, how wide traffic lanes would be and how close buildings would be to the road.

Meeting participants will be able to check out maps and comment on the draft plan. A public comment period will be open until the end of February.

Then, city planners will help prepare a final draft of the plan that includes initial cost estimates and more details about implementation. It would go to the city council for final approval.

Bonner Gaylord, general manager of North Hills and a city councilman, said that for years, Six Forks was simply a thoroughfare. As the area has changed into one where people both live and work, they want to be able to walk, bike and use public transit as well as drive, he said.

“The business owners and neighbors want to get around safely in the way in which they choose, so everyone will be looking to see how the plan affects their daily lives,” he said.