Fayetteville officials looking at ways to transform Murchison Road

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The journey to bring life to Murchison Road in Fayetteville is underway, as city council continues to hear suggestions from consultants.

On Monday evening, a representative with Urban Design Associates gave a presentation on ways the city can approach growth within downtown Fayetteville and their corridors, including Murchison Road.

Murchison Road, also known as the "Murk", has been neglected for decades, according to Mayor Mitch Colvin.

Hafeena Ali-Martinez ran her business, along Murchison Road, for nearly 16 years.

Her shop, NJ Smoothies, sits right across from FSU in Bronco Square.

In that time span, the businesswoman hasn't seen much change and believes things need to start speeding up.

"Small Murchison road can't grow too fast but is growing too slow," Ali-Martinez said.

UDA's presentation included the recommendation to possibly cut down on lanes and reduce speeds in certain parts of the corridor.

This change would apply to the Fayetteville State University area. According to consultants, this would allow for the creation of bike lanes, parking, and more space for businesses.

In addition, the consultant also recommended creating more housing options for students near the university.

Ali-Martinez understands a lot needs to be done to keep university students or residents from going elsewhere in the city. "How could I get people to come back when nothing else is here for them? Why shouldn't they go to the mall?"

Those adjustments to parts of the road would help facilitate a safer pedestrian environment and allow drivers to slow down and see what the area has to offer.

"Narrowing the road, slowing down the traffic, allowing people to walk and explore the businesses has actually helped in the downtown area," Colvin said.

Murchison Road is one of eight opportunity zones in the city, which means investors can come in and receive tax benefits.

Ali-Martinez has seen small business owners come and go and believes more needs to be done for the little people.

Mayor Colvin said the city is looking at every option to transform the area.

Council members acknowledged that those kinds of closures could bring more traffic; however, the UDA consultant said, as of now, around 15,000 drivers make their way through Murchison's four lane road on a daily basis.

The UDA did say that more studies needed to be done in reference to traffic flow.

The city looks to start garnering more public opinion on the matter in the coming months.
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