A Capital Gateway Idea

Every once in a while an idea for improving a corridor comes along that seems almost self-evident.

The City of Raleigh’s efforts to improve Capital Boulevard between 440 and 540 — and its current recommended design concept — fit squarely in that category.

Currently, no one I know enjoys traveling to or through Capital Boulevard in that area. However, if the City’s proposal becomes a reality — and RTA hopes that it does — our collective view of Capital could change dramatically for the better.

The City proposes to create a new “multiway boulevard” with separate local and through lanes.

The local lanes, on the outside, would continue to serve businesses and cross streets, just as Capital Boulevard does today.

The through lanes, adjacent to the median, would gently rise over all cross streets, via bridges. Carrying all Capital Boulevard through traffic over the side streets via new bridges will also make it simpler and safer for pedestrians to cross Capital, while saving an estimated 25-50 minutes in through travel time between 440 and 540 in future years.

At today’s RTA Leadership Team meeting, the team endorsed the City’s recommended improvements for Capital. The regional business community plans on referring to the proposed improvements along Capital as a “multimodal gateway” to Downtown Raleigh.

Here are some of the elements of the multimodal gateway design concept:

  • Separated through lanes (near center median) and local lanes (outside)
  • No traffic signals for through lanes
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) via dedicated or priority lane adjacent to median
  • Safer pedestrian crossings by bridging through lanes over cross streets
  • Pedestrian / bicycle path or sidewalk on both sides

And, here are some of the expected benefits:

  • For through traffic:  all-day delay reduction, incredible congestion relief
  • For local traffic:  maintain access to businesses, improved corridor accessibility
  • For pedestrians:  safer, simpler, faster pedestrian crossings
  • For regional connectivity:  maintain/enhance N. Wake – Downtown linkages
  • For land use:  multiple targeted focused growth areas
  • For overall aesthetics:  Improve corridor appearance throughout

The RTA Leadership Team was pleased to endorse this concept today, and we applaud the City’s work on this project, along with excellent consultant work from RTA member firm WSP.

The regional business community encourages the City of Raleigh, NCDOT, Wake Transit partners, and all stakeholders to identify and secure funding sources to accelerate this project, and bring our multimodal gateway future to life for our capital city.

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

post reference: th3.2019.46

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