The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) and the City of Raleigh Planning Department recently examined pedestrian traffic in key downtown areas. The pedestrian study was conducted to support economic development programs and infrastructure planning initiatives in strategic areas. The objective of the study was to develop a tool that downtown stakeholders and City officials could use to more accurately target growth areas and help resolve design issues with sidewalks, streetscapes, and pedestrian connectivity to on- and off-street parking locations. It will also serve as a baseline pedestrian count data for future trend analyses.
Fayetteville Street District
According to the report, a large pedestrian population uses and navigates the Downtown area. The lunch period attracts the largest amount of pedestrian activity, as employees, visitors, and residents dine out in Downtown restaurants and cafes. Fayetteville Street between Hargett and Davie streets is among the busiest areas, with the block between Hargett and Martin having the highest average of pedestrians per hour over the 11-hour count period. The same block has the highest counts for the morning and lunch periods.
Nearly 18,000 pedestrians during weekday lunch hours
An overall comparison of all 11-hour count locations illustrates a clear increase in pedestrian traffic during the typical lunch hours of 11:30 am to 2 pm with a total of 17,912 pedestrians recorded in this time period, accounting for 41 percent of the total 11-hour count volume. During the busiest stretch, more than 2,000 pedestrians traverse the area in just fifteen minutes, from 12:45 pm. to 1 pm.
The pedestrian study also looked at the Glenwood South District and Warehouse District. The two areas offer significant entertainment and nightlife options and cater to a late-night crowd with a mix of restaurants, bars, clubs, and other activities. Both areas were examined over a period of six hours on the weekend from 8 pm to 2 am.
Over 17,000 pedestrians twelve hours later on weekends
Glenwood South recorded a total weekend evening and late night traffic of 17,400 pedestrians, with a spike in pedestrians from 11:30 pm to 2:00 am. The block of Glenwood Avenue between Tucker and North streets had the highest level of pedestrian activity.
The Warehouse District was also examined over a period of six hours during the evening, and recorded a total count of 2,654 pedestrians over the six hour period. However, unlike Glenwood South, the Warehouse District experienced an overall decline in traffic from 11:30 pm to 2:00 am.
Analysis of the total volume of pedestrians in the Capital City’s center parallel to other cities evidenced the strength of activity on downtown Raleigh’s sidewalks. The volume of traffic in the Raleigh study area tends to exceed the volume of small and even larger cities, including San Diego. The findings and conclusion of the study illustrates a clear link between Downtown’s booming pedestrian environment and opportunities for commerce in the area. This supports efforts by the DRA and the City of Raleigh to encourage future public and private investments in the walkability, livability, and economic development of Downtown Raleigh.
The counts are part of a city-wide Pedestrian Plan that is expected to be competed in early 2012.
Information taken from Raleigh’s Weekly Newsgram, published July 29th.