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Midtown-St. Albans Area Plan

Last updated Dec. 14, 2018 - 8:22 am
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Midtown Raleigh is a rapidly emerging district, serving as a nationally-recognized example of a suburban place retrofitted and redeveloped as a walkable urban center. The transformation began in 2003 with the redevelopment of an aging enclosed mall and strip center into a mixed-use development featuring retail, hotel, office, and residential. In recent years, the expansion of North Hills on the east side of Six Forks Road has continued the area’s evolution. More changes are expected in the coming years, including millions of square feet of new development.

St. Albans Drive currently serves as a transition line between the existing and proposed mixed-use development to the south and older, primarily residential, areas to its north.

As places evolve, the questions and challenges to be addressed evolve as well. In the Midtown-St. Albans area, many of these questions now involve transportation demand created by current and future development.

The St. Albans Drive area is poised to see significant change as this part of Raleigh continues to grow and transform. Neighborhood streets that connect into St. Albans could see traffic spillover from increased trips to and from the area.

More broadly, while an interstate highway and several arterial streets serve the Midtown area, it does not have the type of connectivity found downtown, creating a set of transportation challenges. Traffic is concentrated on a few heavily-traveled streets, bus service is slow, and safe and comfortable options for people walking or biking are few, particularly across I-440.

The study area is adjacent to two other current and recent area plan efforts. The Six Forks Corridor Study is considered transportation and land use along that corridor. The Capital Boulevard North Corridor Study, which will take place along the same timeline as the Midtown-St. Albans plan is looking at transportation and land use along the portion of Capital Boulevard between the Beltline and I-540.

For more information about the project area, please see the briefing book, which contains maps and images documenting current conditions.

Status Update

The “Understanding the Area” phase of the project is underway. This phase builds on the initial visioning work and seeks to create a shared understanding of current conditions and top priorities for the future.

The first portion of this phase involved three in-person meetings held on Dec. 1, 3, and 5. More than 100 people attended to hear the results of initial transportation and land use analysis and to provide feedback on issues and priorities.

The second phase involves an “online open house” that is designed to provide an opportunity for people who could not attend the meetings or simply prefer to participate online. We know people are busy and not everyone has the time to attend a planning meeting. The Midtown-St. Albans online open house aims to bring the meeting to you. The survey seeks to understand what and where the biggest issues and opportunities are and what the top priorities should be for the area. It will be open until January 6.

If you’d like to review the materials from the in-person meetings, please see the “Understanding the Area” box to the right.

If you have any questions, let us know. You can contact the city’s project manager, Jason Hardin.

The visioning event summary is available

More than 400 participants completed the online survey or took part in one of three in-person visioning events in June. The events were aimed at providing information about the project, gathering data about places people like and places that need work, and better understanding stakeholders’ vision for the future of the area.

Input from those events has been compiled into a summary report and supporting appendix. Transportation-related considerations, including the impact of traffic on local streets, the ability to comfortably and safely walk or bike in the area, and improved transit options, represent primary issues. However, many other issues also emerged during the process and will be closely analyzed during the planning process.

Next steps for the plan include a detailed analysis of transportation and other highlighted issues. Another set of public input events will take place following that review.

Confirmation Group

The project’s Confirmation Group, which is charged with ensuring that the planning process invites and includes input from all relevant stakeholders, met on November 14. Minutes and meeting materials from the group’s meetings are available in the “Confirmation Group” box on the side of this page.

What is an Area Plan?

Area Plans are intended to provide detailed information and solutions to guide the future physical and regulatory characteristics for particular area of a city.

What are the Goals of an Area Plan?

When a particular area or corridor within the city limits is identified as a location for additional study, City Council directs City Planning staff to initiate an Area or Corridor Study to clarify, provide further detail, or to provide more in-depth analysis of the implications of proposed policy changes to an area.

Generally, the goals of an Area Plan seek to:

  • Involve the community in developing a long-term vision for that corridor
  • Define policies and actions that will guide how the corridor should be maintained or changed in the future
  • Identify future land uses in an overall community wide context
  • Recommend future infrastructure improvements to sidewalks and the street network
  • Provide urban design guidance
  • Provide implementation guidance for private and public investments and strategies that should be pursued to realize the vision for the corridor

An Area Plan will lead to a series of recommendations which will be presented to City Council. The recommendations of an Area Plan may take the form of:

  • Land use amendments
  • Zoning amendments
  • Plans for open space
  • Updates to the Street Plan Map
  • Updates to the Greenway Map
  • Future transportation Studies & projects
  • Capital projects
  • Renderings and sketches depicting urban design guidelines for the area
  • Items requiring further study

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