The city is seeking feedback on designs for a plan to extend Pullen Road southward, connecting N.C. State University’s two campuses.
Pullen Road slithers from Hillsborough Street to Western Boulevard between N.C. State’s main campus and Pullen Park. The university’s Centennial Campus, home to many research buildings, is located less than a half-mile south of Western Boulevard.
Now there isn’t a direct connection from Pullen Road to Centennial Parkway, which runs through Centennial Campus. Southbound Pullen drivers often weave through traffic on Western and turn left across it onto narrow Nazareth Street to get to the parkway.
The city last year announced plans to connect Pullen Road to Centennial by extending it south to Bilyeu Street, a dead-end neighborhood road that planners also want to extend south to the parkway. Before starting construction next year, the city wants to hear from residents about the plan and reach a consensus on some details that remain to be ironed out.
The second of a two-part public meeting series will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday in room 305 of City Hall, located at 222 W. Hargett St. The meeting will have an open house format so residents can stop by any time within the hour and speak with city planners.
Raleigh wants to extend Pullen Road as a two-lane street with bike lanes and a speed limit of 25 mph. A proposed roundabout would connect Pullen with Bilyeu. The city is also proposing a 10-foot multi-use path and sidewalks.
The project is a joint effort by the city, N.C. State and the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. Raleigh will pay half of the estimated $3 million project while the university and diocese will split the remaining costs.
The diocese is building a new $41 million cathedral just off Western Boulevard, and the new Pullen extension will serve as an entrance to its parking lot.
Residents so far are offering mostly positive feedback, said Eric Lamb, the city’s transportation planning manager. But those who live in the Kirby-Bilyeu neighborhood are divided on how to deal with new traffic.
Initially, the city planned to close the connection between Bilyeu and Western after it finished the Pullen extension. But some residents are considering leaving it open so they can avoid traffic on the Pullen extension, said Will Hooker, who lives on Kirby Street. Others say exiting Bilyeu onto Western is too dangerous because oncoming traffic travels downhill from around a corner.
“It’s very difficult to make that turn,” Hooker said. “Eventually we’d like to have that intersection rectified, whatever that means.”
Lamb said the city is “pretty flexible” and looks forward to hearing from more residents.
“We’ve got multiple options in our holster for this one,” Lamb said.
Residents are also disappointed the Pullen Road extension doesn’t include plans to renovate the bridge over Western Boulevard. Because of that drawback, Lamb said the city will not allow north-bound drivers on the extension to turn left onto Western. They will instead have to turn right onto Western and make a U-turn.