“Raleigh Time”

When I was at State in the late 1980s and early 1990s I had two fraternity brothers from West Jefferson, NC that became two of my closest friends in the world. (Even today these gentlemen and their families live just a couple of miles around the corner from my family).

These two guys were notorious for being consistently late to EVERYTHING. It wasn’t a fashion statement. It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t a big deal. But, it was constant. You name the event – other than tip-off of an intramural sporting event – and these guys were rolling up late. It was so consistent that we termed acts of arriving late as being on “West Jefferson time”.

Today, I ran across and article in the N&O that reminded me why Raleigh is one of the most frustrating places in the world to live. Don’t get me wrong, Raleigh is a wonderful, wonderful place and is the focal point of the world for an old Eastern North Carolina boy like myself.

BUT, after living in numerous other cities over the last 20 years, I can think of few places whose projects and “plans” move as slowly and as painfully as things move in Raleigh. The ‘benefit’ of doing anything in Raleigh rarely seems to outweigh the political and bureaucratic nightmare that accompany the ideas. Does anyone remember the nightmare of trying to get the ESA off the ground?

This article in the N&O discusses some ‘new’ improvements near the NC State campus that are also highlighted in this more comprehensieve link.

Seven years after it was proposed as a cure for Hillsborough Street’s ills, the roundabout is coming to N.C. State’s main corridor.

The Raleigh City Council voted 6-2 Tuesday to install roundabouts — as part of a $6.3 million redevelopment — at Pullen Road’s intersection with Hillsborough and where Groveland feeds into Oberlin Road just north of Oberlin’s intersection with Hillsborough.

The design calls for installation of a pedestrian median and the creation of 100 parking spaces along one of the city’s main east-west thoroughfares.

Yep. SEVEN YEARS ago it was proposed; it was approved now. Let’s wait and see when it is completed.

The adopted plan is a modified version of a proposal that has been around since 1999, when a group of neighbors and state and local officials called for the installation of 11 roundabouts along Hillsborough

To be fair, the “seven years” estimate is actually being generous. I remember in the mid 1990s – at least TWELVE YEARS AGO – a volunteer group focused on Hillsborough Street redevelopment that proposed a grandiose plan for the area that was partly based on the concept of these traffic circles. The Hillsborough Street Partnership was launched in 1996.

So, twelve years later we finally get the traffic circles approved while NOTHING has been done regarding the overall health and appearance of Hillsborough Street in the aftermath of losing multiple dozens of business in the last decade.

So much has changed around campus that reviving Hillsborough Street may not even be worth any effort (not as though anyone has put any effort into it). About a month ago we ran this key piece that discusses a lot of these campus topics. The comments section of that entry is absolutely fantastic and includes the following

“In addition, the growth of the Centenial campus and all of the growth on the other side of Western Blvd has served to make NC State less intimate and cozy, and further marginalize Hillsborough Street.”

^ This is actually a FANTASTIC POINT.

There is NO DOUBT that there is a shift in this dynamic. And, with this shift comes an awesome opportunity to really make the situation better for everyone (including the residents behind Hillsborough Street who don’t welcome natural extensions and consequences of buying property where they chose to buy property).

SO…what kind of work/partnership/strategic plans have the University worked on to optimize and re-develop the Mission Valley/Western Blvd/Avent Ferry Road cluster?

This looks to be a wonderful location to bring more vibrant commercial, retail and housing ideas to the table. It would/could be the defacto center of the ‘new’ University and also convenient to the (supposed) future redeveloped fraternity court. I’d love to hear what Stafford and the Univeristy have been working on the last 15 years.


Campus News General NC State Administration

65 Responses to “Raleigh Time”

  1. Rick 02/21/2007 at 10:13 AM #

    How is a rounda bout supposeed to make things better?
    In my experience they are a slow pain in the rear end.

  2. packbackr04 02/21/2007 at 10:15 AM #

    roundabouts?? i was stuck going around and around on one of those for 12 hours in london once.

  3. packbackr04 02/21/2007 at 10:16 AM #

    want to make things better in Raleigh??? give Lee a golden hand job and show him the door

  4. Jeff 02/21/2007 at 10:23 AM #

    I think that it is more about the fact that they are doing SOMETHING than exactly what they are doing. ANYTHING that shows some progress/attention to the area.

    Roundabouts may be slow…but at least they keep things moving. Excessive traffic lights also make things slow…and create just as large of a mess of traffic. Roundabouts at least keep cars moving (to the next stop light).

  5. Tracy 02/21/2007 at 10:26 AM #

    Interesting….. I am in West Jefferson right now. And have a brother that was at State during that timeframe?

  6. foz 02/21/2007 at 10:38 AM #

    Look kids, Big Ben, Parliment.

  7. LRM 02/21/2007 at 10:43 AM #

    I just had a flashback to my high school years when a “wild” Saturday night meant driving up Hwy 16 to cruise in W. Jefferson.

  8. packpigskinfan23 02/21/2007 at 10:43 AM #

    the added parking spaces and look of something new and fresh are a bit more important then the actual addition of roundabouts. however I personally like to think of the roundabouts like this: they will eliminate some of the thru-traffic from the beltline to downtown plus some of the student/staff traffic will be sent the Western Blvd way as well. this allows for slower and clamer traffic wich is a royal pain in the ass if you just want to cross the street for a quick smoke at the huka bar between classes.


  9. Jeff 02/21/2007 at 10:44 AM #

    Tracy, neither of these guys have brothers.

  10. packpigskinfan23 02/21/2007 at 10:44 AM #

    hooka?! i dunno…

  11. RickJ 02/21/2007 at 10:45 AM #

    Fantastic entry – I particularly like the point about the Western Blvd. – Avent Ferry area. I have not ever thought about the growing importance of this location.

    Given the history of Raleigh – NC State partnerships it is hard to be optimistic.

    In the mid 80’s, Charlie Bryant & Steve Stroud made a concerted effort to partner with the city to build an arena downtown. V was very much in support of the initiative. They got nowhere with the city which made it all the more galling when in the final stages of completing the ESA, the city starts screaming it should be downtown.

    Years ago, the city of Raleigh voters passed a bond issue to build a baseball stadium next to Carter-Finley. The idea was to build a Triple A level stadium where NC State would also play. The Durham Bulls should be playing there right now but the city tried to screw Miles Wolf and give the franchise to someone else. If my memory is correct, Wolf was able to stop the deal because they were encroaching on his rightful territory. Anyway, it ended up a big mess with the Bulls remaining in Durham and eventually building a new stadium and the Mudcats playing in Eastern Wake County. Someone may remember this better than I do.

    The Dix property is another example that screams for a Raleigh – NC State partnership.

    The problem seems twofold – lack of innovative leadership at NC State and the fact that there will always be people in Raleigh that will be against anything they view as helping NC State.

  12. Mr O 02/21/2007 at 10:49 AM #

    I can’t figure out the fascination with roundabouts either.

    Can anyone think of an area that is a roundabout where lots of people for entertainment? Maybe the theatre district in London?

    What exactly is the concept behind the roundabouts? Hillsborough Street’s biggest problem is that there is close to zero parking.

  13. Mr O 02/21/2007 at 10:51 AM #

    Totally agree on the Mission Valley area. It would be nice to see something like North Hills there.

  14. buttPACKer 02/21/2007 at 10:54 AM #

    i, too, think they are a good idea. . . if only for the aesthetic improvement.

    it (the hillsborough project as a whole) may slow traffic, but if the area were more pedestrian oriented and beautiful, it will draw students back to the area. And, with the students, come others. . .

  15. RickJ 02/21/2007 at 10:55 AM #

    Mr. O – Hilton Head and I think Pinehurst have lots of roundabouts. The ones in Hilton Head work pretty good.

  16. buttPACKer 02/21/2007 at 10:55 AM #

    Mission Valley is a fantastic idea, too!! but i think that hillsborough needs to be fixed first.

  17. packpigskinfan23 02/21/2007 at 11:05 AM #

    thats what I was trying to say in my post about the roundabout Buttpacker… the students are the ones that need to be inticed to spend the money first… and for some(not as many as used to be as we discussed in the last entry on this topic) that is just a walk away… the roundabouts make it easier to cross the street… and SOMEHOW(I dont really understand how) they are gonna get an extra 100 parking spaces as well!!! thats exactly what is needed.

  18. packbackr04 02/21/2007 at 11:09 AM #

    packpigskin^ hooka bars in raleigh? wait a minute? are we back talking about Matt Simms and his swag blunt again. but seiously hookas suck becuase someone is always pulling harder than someone else and it makes it hard to get a good milky hit…. thats what i have heard of anyway… with me having no prior experience with the subject matter…. im going to shut up now

  19. old13 02/21/2007 at 11:12 AM #

    “want to make things better in Raleigh??? give Lee a golden hand job and show him the door”

    I couldn’t agree more!

  20. packpigskinfan23 02/21/2007 at 11:17 AM #

    there were not only 2 hooka bars on hillsborough at one time, but also the Tabacco Shop sells that damn things! the one bar shut down(I think), but the other is here to stay as far as I can tell. they do a ton of buisness. they arent really my thing, but I have gone and enjoyed a few times. a strange little place. I dont really know what was there before it but it is that little cottage looking place with the high sloped roof. right by what used to be the Q shack.

  21. packpigskinfan23 02/21/2007 at 11:18 AM #

    its right beside that nasty ShangHi!!! I refuse to eat there… with corn in the eggdrop soup!!! makes me sick. Golden Dragon is BY FAR the best Chinese near campus.

  22. Red_Terrors 02/21/2007 at 11:21 AM #

    Ok, I graduated several years ago, and no longer live in the area. Can someone tell me if El Rodeo is still open on Hillsborough St? Best mexican food by far!

  23. packpigskinfan23 02/21/2007 at 11:22 AM #

    sure is… Golden Dragon is beside it… great food. good drinks. I love ElRodeo!!!!

  24. Red_Terrors 02/21/2007 at 11:24 AM #

    I was last down there for the Heritage Game at Reynolds and didn’t get a chance to go down Hillsborough. Thanks for the heads up packpigskinfan. I remember when they first started talking about revitalizing Hillsborough St. What a joke. I guess thats why that round-a-bout ended up over near Leazar Hall.

  25. TNCSU 02/21/2007 at 11:29 AM #

    Okay, since it’s been a while since I’ve been at State, I’ll ask — When did Darryl’s close? And why is it just sitting empty?? Why is there not a good microbrewery close to the campus? or if there is, where is it??

Leave a Reply