Raleigh wants input on Capital Boulevard changes

June 21, 2010 4:19:21 PM PDT
If you wanted someone who had never been to Raleigh to have the best first impression possible, would you bring them into town on Capital Boulevard? If you answered no, you're not alone.

That's why the city wants to make some big changes.

There are plenty of problems with Capital.

"It's very congested and it's hard to navigate," Raleigh resident Tammi Williams told ABC11.

Williams should know. She lives near Capital Boulevard and drives on it every day. And it's not just the traffic. Like many, she thinks it looks seedy and dingy.

"You don't see improved buildings like downtown - has all these new structures and things. And it still looks run down as it hasn't improved with the times that Raleigh has. So it just needs some upgrades," she said.

The City of Raleigh's planning department agrees. It is working on a plan for improvements that might include sidewalks and greenways, housing, street, and environmental improvements.

Many business owners along the road say it needs something.

"It really does welcome people to the downtown area. It's very important to have it look the best it can," offered Debbie Van Pala.

Van Pala and her husband own Auto Shape - a body shop on the southern end of Capital Boulevard. They believe the corridor is such an important gateway that they've recently redone their building. They've added stucco, awnings, railings, and landscaping.

Van Pala was glad to hear that another potential part of the corridor plan would be to try to attract other businesses to Capital - especially to abandoned and rundown buildings.

"Anyone that takes possession of a property has an obligation to its customers to make it be the best in appearance," she said.

If you'd like to let the city staff know about your ideas for Capital Boulevard, all you have to do is show up at Bobby Murray Chevrolet on Capital Boulevard Thursday night between 6:30 and 8:30. The workshop is the first in what will likely be a number of public meetings that may one day make Capital Boulevard a beautiful gateway to Raleigh. Some expect a large turnout, so additional parking will be available at the flea market mall next door to Bobby Murray.

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