Blue Ridge Road District Study Implementation
The Blue Ridge Road District study developed ideas and generated consensus for optimizing opportunities to create a 24/7 urban place stretching from Edwards Mill Road to Western Boulevard. In the short term, the study's examination of land use planning, transportation, housing, public and private open space, public health, and economic development establishes a range of next steps and actions. Creating the conditions to fulfill the promise of the conclusions reached and actions identified in the Study begins with establishing a foundation informed by agreement among stakeholders, amendments to master plans already in place, and formulation of action plans for a range of priority projects.
Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance
The Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance (BRCA) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created in 2014 through a partnership that includes the City of Raleigh, NC State University, Centennial Authority, Rex Hospital, and the North Carolina Museum of Art and is supported by property owners, businesses, and residents of the Blue Ridge Road Corridor.
Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance Vision
The BRCA’s vision for the Blue Ridge Road corridor was established by the state master plan and the City of Raleigh Blue Ridge Corridor Study, adopted by City Council in 2012. The BRCA is committed to the Corridor becoming a distinct destination in Raleigh in which its major existing institutional assets (health and wellness; museum and research; entertainment and education institutions) are connected by safe, walkable, pedestrian/bicycle friendly, mixed-use, transit-oriented development projects. Working in cooperation with public agencies to achieve this vision, the Alliance promotes complementary public and private investments that will result in new jobs, increased tax revenue, needed safety features and amenities; and ultimately an attractive new destination in Raleigh – North Carolina’s capital city.
Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance Mission
The BRCA’s mission is to coordinate public and private investment connecting the major institutional assets of the Blue Ridge Corridor with complete streets infrastructure and mixed-use developments, focused on creating jobs, a pedestrian-friendly environment, increased property value, and a vibrant destination.
The Blue Ridge Corridor Alliance meets monthly to discuss corridor initiatives. Stakeholders and the Board meet bi-monthly to share information about implementation and organizational activities among the interest groups.
The scope of work below follows a traditional planning trajectory: inventory and analysis, public outreach and visioning, plan preparation and refinement, and adoption. However, it also includes the following modifications:
- The public and property owners are consulted up front to establish a vision, define the study area, identify key questions, and refine the scope.
- The plan contents will work backwards from implementation to ensure that the recommendations can realistically be carried forward.
- Intra- and inter-governmental coordination is built into the process given the overlapping jurisdictions along the corridor, public ownership patterns, and interrelated nature of the issues.
The project is expected to take 9-12 months, and at least two public meetings will be held to engage the public and property owners in the district.
History and Background
The Blue Ridge Road District Study is being undertaken to develop a blueprint for collaborative, integrated systematic planning and development along the corridor. Study goals are to: develop better connectivity to and through the corridor; leverage State and local policies and investments to support coordinated growth; and guide development in order to conserve natural systems and landscapes.
The purpose of the study is to develop a plan to improve vehicle and pedestrian connectivity and to leverage state and local policies and investments to support growth and to guide development in order to conserve natural systems and landscapes.
Extensive groundwork has been completed over the past three years to organize and engage more than 200 interested parties in the area's future. To build upon this groundwork, the planning process has begun (informed by the visioning session results) by engaging an outside consultant with funds secured from stakeholders and the recently awarded Sustainable Communities grant.
The final study will include a detailed summary of all the work and findings from the process, along with detailed recommendations on coordinated land use; transportation projects; housing; open space and greenways; infrastructure planning processes across jurisdictions and within agencies; an assessment that captures the benefits of sustainable development; economic development; and zoning and comprehensive plan amendments.
On-going outreach efforts are intended to ensure input from the State, City, institutions, business interests, property owners, neighbors, and interested residents. The public visioning workshop on April 2, 2011 was publicized through a City of Raleigh initiated press release to news media and an email, using both the City's system and the database compiled by the stakeholder group over three years of meetings and outreach. Turnout for the workshop, estimated at about 90 participants, fully utilized the capacity of the venue. The study will continue over the next nine to 12 months.
In June the Raleigh City Council has approved the receipt of a $40,000 grant from the North Carolina Sustainable Communities Task Force. The grant will be used to partially fund the Blue Ridge Road District Study. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has pledged $50,000 to the project. A group of core stakeholders have been meeting for three years and individually have contributed a total of $68,000.
The City released an RFP on June 20. Proposals were due August 1. A selection committee met on August 10, and by mid-September the committee interviewed the short list of three - five front runners for the contract. The City team currently is compiling an inventory of the area that includes economic and market data, urban design, social, cultural and historic resources, along with the physical conditions of transportation, environment, and infrastructure. The project kicked off in December 2011.
The consultant team includes:
Urban Design Associates, LTD: Urban Design and Public Process
Robert Charles Lesser & Co (RCLCO): Market and Implementation Tools
JDavis Architects, PLLC: Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Martin/Alexiou/Bryson, P.S.: Transportation
Long Leaf Historic Resources: Social, Cultural, and Historic Resources