Raleigh launches Five Points Glenwood Avenue Study following crashes, concerns

20 April 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Transportation officials with the City of Raleigh met with business owners and residents in the Five Points area on Tuesday night in light of traffic safety concerns along the stretch.

“My main concern is people getting injured out here that are sitting outside. So we want to protect them the best we can. Maybe changing the traffic pattern would really help a great deal, because if we can slow the traffic down, it’s less of an issue,” said David Benson, owner of The Third Place, a coffee shop on Glenwood Avenue.

Benson, who’s owned the coffee shop for 18 years, said he believes safety has become a greater issue in the past few years, pointing to a number of incidents that have damaged his and nearby businesses.

“This last summer, a guy was racing another guy up here, and he lost control and he was going 80 mph when he hit the curb over there and he plowed through all this, and he ended up in her windows next door and took out all our furniture again, our umbrellas again,” Benson said.

Across the street, Dr. David Hailey, pastor of Hayes Barton Baptist Church, shared that their property has been involved in several crashes.

“They’ll just miss that bend, and they’ll come right up over the walk here. We had them come up one time, push one of those columns back, push the doors in. It was almost like they thought this was a drive-in church,” Hailey said.

Tuesday, the church hosted the kickoff of the Five Points Glenwood Avenue Study.

“There have been people hurt pretty severely and we just want this to be a safe area,” explained Hailey.

Benson would like Raleigh Police to increase its presence in the area to crack down on speeding and suggested implementing a roundabout.

“What I’m looking for is a solution. An action. All we’ve got is rhetoric,” Benson said.

Don Ellison has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years. He said at the meeting that there are more crashes than what they were used to.

“We really like the area and the Five Points intersection really needs to be fixed,” Ellison said. “It’s always been dangerous, but since COVID, there’s been an increase in high-speed traffic Some of our neighbors used to walk their kids to the elementary school and had near misses with the children walking them in the morning.”

Ellison said he thought a roundabout would be a good idea.

“People are thinking about that, but my concern is that development has to be considered because if someone decides to build a 20-story building at Five Points, all bets are off,” Ellison said. “All the clubs and things that are open late on south Glenwood, and they’re continuing to develop that, continuing to add new high-rise buildings.”

A Raleigh city official told ABC11 that Tuesday’s meeting would introduce the planning project and team to start the process, though substantive work has not yet been done. While the presentation included conceptual images from the consultant team’s project proposal, no plans or proposals were shared.

The city official added “(t)here will be substantial engagement with NCDOT on the alternative development and analysis stages of the study,” as they maintain Glenwood Avenue from Wade Avenue north to the city limits; the city cannot unilaterally make changes to this stretch.

At the meeting, Jason Myers, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Raleigh, said the City can do a lot, but it is still trying to figure out a timeline.

NCDOT will have to be involved on a technical basis to go over different solutions. Residents and the city council have to decide what the recommendations are; but then they need buy-in from NCDOT to implement those things, Myers explained.

Myers added that he isn’t certain a one-lane roundabout will be a solution, and it might require something different that functions with actual traffic patterns. He also said the City is mindful of making traffic move too slowly.

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