Glenwood South would see slower traffic but potentially easier parking under a proposal that goes to the Raleigh City Council this week.
Currently, parking along the downtown stretch in certain morning or evening hours – between 7 and 9 a.m. or 4 and 6 p.m. – can earn a driver a quick $20 parking ticket.
The council on Tuesday will consider a petition to eliminate those limits between Tucker Street and Hillsborough Street. Jim Belt, the man behind the push, said the change could make Glenwood Avenue more pedestrian-friendly by slowing traffic and making the street more accessible.
“A number of merchants had indicated to me that it would also help business,” said Belt, who is president of the group Downtown Living Advocates.
“This is a notoriously bad stretch for business,” said Councilman Wayne Maiorano.
City officials have warned against the change, citing potential traffic delays during the peak commuting hours. The road sees 8,000 to 12,000 vehicles each day.
Wait times at the hardest-hit intersections, such as Glenwood and North, could double during those peak-hour periods, according to staff research. Information about the current wait times wasn’t immediately available.
“If you reduce the travel lanes, it means your delay is going to increase,” said Mike Kennon, transportation operations manager.
He also noted that construction of a new Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street could put thousands more cars onto Glenwood, causing still more delays. That project could begin in 2016 and last more than two years.
Members of the council’s Law and Public Safety committee converged on a compromise: The city could keep the peak-hour restrictions on the two northernmost blocks of Glenwood, near the delay-prone Peace Street intersection.
That change could soften the blow, according to staff, who recommended denial of the original, broader proposal.
“Any lane reduction at that (Peace Street) intersection would be difficult,” Kennon said. “The rest of the intersections would be simpler.”
Under the current proposal, the city also would re-examine the parking pattern once the Capital Boulevard bridge project gets underway.
The full council will hear and potentially vote on the matter at its 7 p.m. session on Tuesday.