Southern Gateway Corridor Study
South Saunders / South Wilmington Streets
South Saunders Street and South Wilmington Street form the southern gateway to Raleigh, an entry point into downtown that is known for its iconic skyline view. These sections of road are home to churches, businesses, schools, and shopping with several established and new neighborhoods adjacent to the area. New mixed-use development and apartment living are now part of the landscape. These roads are also major transportation corridors that connect the community to Downtown and I-40.
The Raleigh Urban Design Center is currently engaged in planning and design efforts focused on land use and transportation improvements along the corridor that will benefit businesses, residents, motorists, transit riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The first phase of the project resulted in identifying the issues and vision for the area around South Saunders and South Wilmington Streets. The next phase focused on design ideas and to create an implementation plan. In the last phase, the updated final study report and corresponding comprehensive plan amendments were reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council and both bodies recommended unanimous approval of these items.
City Council Adopts Southern Gateway Corridor Study and its Recommended Comprehensive Plan Amendments CP-4-16.
On February 7, 2017, City Council scheduled a public hearing in which the Southern Gateway Corridor Study Report and its attendant Comprehensive Plan amendments CP-4-16 were heard. Council recommended a minor edit to the report to clarify affordable housing as a short term priority for implementation. Citizens, who attended the hearing, spoke largely in favor of the plan and its successful collaborative process, and requested Council to adopt the great vision for major infrastructure investments that could transform Raleigh’s Gateway Corridor into a vibrant, revitalized corridor of opportunities. Following the hearing, City Council unanimously voted in favor to adopt the study report and its attendant Comprehensive Plan amendments.
The study report and recommendations were the outcome of a 2 year collaborative planning effort that engaged city staff, consultant team, citizens, stakeholders, community leaders, residents, and businesses to work together to create a common vision for revitalization of the Southern Gateway corridor: South Saunders Street and South Wilmington Street.
- Continue coordination with Department of Transportation and Engineering Services to prioritize and acquire CIP and other sources of funding to implement the different phases of infrastructure improvements identified in the plan.
- Continue work with Wake County and Triangle Transit to initiate the planning and implementation process for BRT services along South Wilmington Street (also recommended by the Wake County Transit Plan). Also see the Smart Growth America Technical Assistance Grant for Revitalization without Displacement.
- Encourage citizen leaders to convene a Citizens Group/Alliance to promote, track, and provide community stewardship for the implementation of the plan in a timely manner.
Planning Process Overview
The Urban Design Center hosted the third public design workshop for the Southern Gateway Corridor on September 22nd. The meeting focused on discussions around design alternatives addressing transportation, transit, and urban design issues. The meeting was well attended with 50+ participants. The consultants gave an elaborate presentation reviewing the project scope, summary of issues and opportunities, design framework, and details of design solutions for the 4 different geographic focus areas. After the presentation, the public had the opportunity to go to each booth focused on the four different geographic areas to further discuss design alternatives with city staff and consultants. Overall, the proposed design alternatives received positive feedback from the meeting attendees.
If you missed attending the meeting, please review the overview presentation for information.
The summary maps showing proposed transportation, transit, land use, and design recommendations for each of the focus areas can be reviewed below:
A Community Workshop and presentation was held on May 7th that was attended by 70+ participants. Project consultants shared some initial design framework ideas and concepts that emerged out of the visioning sessions held in early March along with a Preliminary Market Assessment. The four emerging themes and supporting concepts are:
City staff extends their sincere gratitude to all citizens who were engaged in this planning process for their enthusiasm, commitment, patience, and dedicated interest. The plan is the outcome of a successful teamwork. With the adoption of the plan, the challenge ahead lies in its successful implementation. We look forward to continued collaboration with our community and private partners to help implement this vision.
Regulatory Actions Overview
On January 3, the Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole reviewed and recommended approval of the study and its corresponding CP-4-16 amendments.
On January 10, the Planning Commission received the committee’s recommendation as well a recommendation from staff for some minor revisions to the proposed street network. Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the study and scheduling a public hearing for the CP-4-16 amendments that integrates the staff-recommended changes.
On January 17, City Council unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on February 7th for the CP-4-16 amendments, and for the study to be presented and considered in tandem with the amendments.
On February 7, an official public hearing was held for the Southern Gateway Study Comprehensive Plan Amendments CP-4-16. After the hearing, Council took separate actions on both the study report and CP-4-16. Council voted unanimously to approve both these items. City Council recommended a minor edit to the report to clarify affordable housing as a short-term priority for implementation.
Progress since Public Draft Release:
The online draft of the study report was released for public review in early July, 2016. Online comments were open until August 8th. Over summer, overview presentations were made to CAC’s, several Boards, and Commissions for feedback including Southwest CAC, Central CAC, 2 Public briefing sessions, District D Alliance, RHDC, Appearance Commission, and Raleigh Transit Authority. All comments and feedback received to date have been evaluated by consultants and the report updated subsequently.
View the changes to the Draft Report after the August public notice.
The first major public outreach for this effort entailed a series of six mobile Information sessions held at sites throughout the Southern Gateway District in March 2015. Half of the sessions were specifically targeted towards business owners and investors in the corridor in order to better understand what drew them to locate their business to this part of the City and their unique concerns and needs. In summary, many of the assets and issues that local business owners experience daily also resonate within the broader community and neighborhood residents.
South Saunders Street and South Wilmington Street form the southern gateway to Raleigh. These sections of road are home to churches, businesses, schools, and shopping with several established and new neighborhoods adjacent to the area. New mixed-use development and apartment living are now part of the landscape. These roads are also major transportation corridors that connect the community to Downtown and I-40. Could the corridor relate better to the surrounding uses? What steps should we take to make the corridor more transit, pedestrian, and bike friendly? Help the City craft a vision for how the corridor should evolve in the coming years.