Blount Street - Person Street Corridor Study
On July 16, the Raleigh City Council approved the Blount Street/Person Street Corridor Plan. The Blount Street/Person Street corridor extends more than five miles from Capital Boulevard to I-40 and includes Wake Forest Road and Hammond Road. The core of the corridor is the pair of one-way streets Blount and Person streets.
The Blount Street/Person Street Corridor Plan was developed with public input at workshops held in October and December. The draft plan was available for review and comment at an open house held in May. The Blount Street/Person Street Corridor Plan is a phased approach to balance the variety of uses to create a corridor that is safe and attractive to motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and transit users. The corridor provides needed access to Downtown, adjacent neighborhoods and major regional destinations. Yet the speed and behavior of vehicular traffic can be managed.
The plan examines the existing conditions and provides one-way and two-way restoration alternatives. The phases were developed based on stated themes and vision for the corridor:
- Business and economic development;
- Neighborhood and historic character;
- Traffic and mobility; and,
- Walkable and multi-modal.
The first phase proposes road restriping that would have an immediate effect on traffic behavior, provide pedestrian comfort and traffic calming. The work would define the two travel lanes, add bike lanes and define on-street parking on Blount Street and Person Street between Hoke Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Phase one would convert the four-lane section of Wake Forest Road to a three-lane section with a center turn lane and add bicycle lanes. Person Street would be restored to two-way traffic from Delway Street/Mordecai Drive to Peace Street. Also phase one would define the lane configuration of Blount and Person streets from Peace Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to a consistent two travel lanes, adding bicycle lanes and on-street parking on both sides.
Phase two proposes streetscape improvements throughout the corridor. In the South Park neighborhood the improvements include landscaped bulb-outs at intersection corners and selected mid-block locations. Landscaped medians and pedestrian crossings would be added at locations from Brookside/Automotive Way to Delway Street. Phase two would include the completion of missing sidewalks on the west side of Wake Forest Road from Sycamore Street to Cedar Street. It is proposed to add landscaped bulb-outs at intersection corners and selected mid-block locations to better define on-street parking, narrow pedestrian crossings, add street trees and landscaping to visually narrow the streets to encourage traffic calming, through the downtown area from Peace Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Phase three proposes analysis of the restoration of two-way traffic to Blount and Person streets. Should a two-way restoration be desired and prove feasible, phase three would add roundabouts at the transitions with Wake Forest Road and Hammond Road and add new traffic signals at all signalized intersections on Blount and Person streets. Two potential roundabouts would be added north and south of Capital Boulevard at Wake Forest Road as a part of the long term plan for Capital Boulevard.
Blount Street and Person Street date to the original 1792 City of Raleigh Christmas Plan. The corridor runs through industrial, residential, institutional and commercial areas.
Blount Street was extended above North Street in 1872, stretching the City's boundaries northward. The 1959 Thoroughfare Plan for the City of Raleigh called for the conversion of the streets to a one-way pair. The work was completed in the mid 1960s. The 2002 Livable Streets plan for Downtown Raleigh calls for consideration of returning the streets to two-way traffic. In 1966, plans called for an expressway on the east side of Downtown. The 200-foot right of way would have cleared the blocks between Bloodworth and East streets, just east of Person Street. The plan was never implemented, and Person and Blount streets continued to serve as important north-south connectors on the east side of Downtown. Blount Street was lowered in 1967-68 at Shaw University in order to accommodate a pedestrian overpass connecting the two sides of its campus.