Author: Leo Suarez (Page 2 of 4)

DLA Photo Contest, We Have Great Prizes

Hoping For Trains
Photo by Leo Suarez

The DLA is hosting a photography contest. We need photos to display on our website, especially the banner, and we want residents to contribute. If picked for the site, winners will receive some great prizes including:

  1. A Free party (w/ food) for you and your friends at Joel Lane’s Public House
  2. Pair of IMAX tickets
  3. Dinner for 2 at Five Star Restaurant, $25 value

We’re in the process of re-doing our website and this is how residents can make it their own. Are you a DLA member? If not, sign up today, it’s free!

*****See the Photo Contest page for more details.*****

Good luck to all entrants. See you around downtown!

Thing To Do For Earth Day, Guest Post

This is a guest post provided by Sandra Simpson at Greetings from Green NC, a new site about sustainable practices and food around the triangle. I challenged Sandra to come up with a list of things to do for Earth Day and here is her list.

Downtown Raleigh NC rocks, and when it comes to observing Earth Day, there are many choices to be enjoyed-not just on April 22nd, but all month long. Here are my top ten picks for saying, “thanks Mother Earth.”

10. For a short stroll, park your car and take a walk around City Market and Moore Square. This historic downtown area provides visitors with an urban earth ambience. There is nothing quite like the comforting sound of footsteps on the cobblestone streets while trekking between City Market Produce (the old fashioned open-air produce) and Benelux Cafe, just to name a few businesses. Visitors can enjoy this as an Earth Day event or put this destination on the calendar as a reminder for visiting on many of our beautiful days in downtown Raleigh.

9. Earth Day is a great day to explore Raleigh by bike. Save the ozone and reduce your carbon footprint by taking a bike rather than cranking up your carbon-emitting vehicle. Feel safer in numbers? Check into the Tuesday night bike rides organized by Boylan Bridge Brewpub or Benelux Cafe at the City Market.

8. What better way to enjoy the bounty of Mother Earth than by growing your own produce? No need to allow small spaces to limit your gardening possibilities; Logan’s Trading Company at Seaboard Station in downtown Raleigh has taken the container garden idea one step further by including pallet gardens, vertical gardens made out of cinder blocks, EarthBox containers, window boxes, etc. When you are enjoying the fresh basil and tomato sandwiches all summer long, fresh from your own garden, you will have Earth Day inspirations to thank.

7. Soak up the sun or enjoy Mother Earth’s moonlight when dining out-of-doors. When searching for outdoor seating for dining or looking for a good home brew, check out these spots for dining-out-of-doors in downtown Raleigh. Roof-top Busy Bee, freshly brewed beer at Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Raleigh Times, Flying Saucer, and my all-time favorite dining and drinking establishment with outdoor seating-Humble Pie.

6. Raleigh is rapidly becoming more pedestrian-friendly, and the 2-mile downtown Raleigh “Sustainability Walking Tour” is a great way to see what Raleigh is doing to preserve Mother Earth. Taking the walk will help you feel good about how your city tax dollars are being spent and you can get some exercise at the same time. Sustainable Raleigh has already measured and mapped a trail for your convenience. If you want to specifically check out what Raleigh is doing to help sustain our environment, Raleigh has 24 points of interest from the preservation of historic Shaw University to the area’s only solar-powered Electric Vehicle Charging Station. You can print the brochure or click on the “app map” for a self-guided-mile trek. For the Google map and more information, please refer to Sustainable Raleigh Map is on the right side.

5. Take time to educate your children about ways to save the earth. Start by reducing your family’s carbon foot print by unplugging the TV and the video games and heading outside for an eco-friendly picnic at Pullen Park. A great way to teach sustainability by example is to pack the picnic with reusable utensils, tablecloths, thermoses, cloth napkins and dish towels. A yard sale is a great way to purchase slightly used picnic supplies. If you have to buy utensils choose those made from recycled paper and do not forget to recycle! Reuse and Recycle, save our trees!

4. When selecting ways to celebrate Earth Day and beyond don’t forget the major recycling centers at Five Points. The time honored tradition of antiquing has long been a way to reuse and recycle other than using valuable resources to make new furniture and household items. Not in the mood for antiques? Villa Consegna is Five Points answer to gently used designer outfits.

Two establishments have chosen to retro-fit and maintain the original buildings. NO FO is a charming re-invention of the Five Points Piggly Wiggly grocery store and part of the original Hayes Barton Pharmacy is now an upscale dining establishment with the most generous portion of really good chicken chicken pot pie. The lunch counter is the perfect spot to enjoy the generous homemade desserts.

3. If tree hugging is your way of celebrating Earth Day, then you might want to visit the 400 plus acres at Dorothea Dix. In the early 1900’s Dix was home to a dairy, a vineyard and a greenhouse. No longer producing and growing their own food and spirits, the site maintains an old stand of oak and pecan trees. On a hot day you can feel the temperature drop as you enter the canopy of old growth trees. The future of Dorothea Dix is often a hot topic. Stop by and see for yourself how this shady spot improves the environment of the Downtown.

2. Stop by an urban garden, kinda, the NC State Farmers Market offers visitors to “pick their own” from the variety of fruits, vegetables and plants that are brought there by farmers from all over the state. My favorite sustainable farmer is Erin Weston at Weston Farms, all the way at the north end of the building stop by and here Ernin’s story of sustainability.

1. We all have been watching The Daily Planet come to life and now we can see what is inside. The grand opening of the Nature Research Center at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is the number one thing to do to warm up for EARTH DAY. The NRC is a day-in-day-out salute to discovering how to keep our planet alive and well and most of all stir the minds of the school children all across our state. In addition to the research projects that can be observed at the museum, live feeds from studies off the coast of NC will be broadcast to NC schools. The head of the New Nature Research Center is Margaret D (Meg) Lowman, affectionally and professionally known as Canopy Meg. Thanks Canopy Meg for choosing Raleigh as your base camp for saving our planet.

Introducing Link Peace Street, A Resident Backed Alternative For Capital Boulevard and Peace Street

Peace Street with Capital Boulevard bridge

There’s a new project that’s growing some legs in downtown Raleigh. Link Peace Street is a vision from Raleigh residents for a more walkable environment on Peace Street. It coincides with the Capital Boulevard Corridor Study and hopes to put another alternative onto the table that is currently not being considered. I’m helping out with the effort and the core focus of it revolves around creating a plan for an at-grade intersection at Capital Boulevard and Peace Street.

Over the next few days, more information will be put onto the vision website of Link Peace Street so I encourage readers to check out the site we’ve built and sign up for updates.

Link Peace Street revolves around three main goals,

  1. Economic development in a form that fits into downtown Raleigh.
  2. Strengthen the connections between neighborhoods.
  3. Deliver on the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

The Capital Boulevard Corridor Study, taking public comments at this time, targets private investment in the area using several projects. Some of those include an expanded greenway, a park at the old Devereux Meadow site, and multiple tweaks to Capital Boulevard itself. We’ve mentioned before that the state of North Carolina is going to replace the bridge over Peace Street within a few years. The study wants to piggyback on that project and is considering some alternative routes to getting on and off of Peace Street. You can read about those alternatives on the Peace Street Vision document in the sidebar on the city’s website. These ideas are what planners think will help spur private investment in the area.

All plans being considered so far include the new NCDOT designed bridge and Link Peace Street wants them to consider the ‘no bridge’ option. We feel that the upgrades to Capital Boulevard, outlined in the study document, only promote more speed and will continue keeping vehicles moving through the area rather than stopping at a destination. Peace Street is the northern border of downtown Raleigh but most people don’t see it that way as the built landscape is not meant for a downtown at all. It’s possible that an environment that balances pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles can promote development that is appropriate for downtown Raleigh and is a much better use of land.

With vehicles speeds kept the same and not increased, a walkable Peace Street will connect the neighborhoods rather than be an obstacle between them. In March, the Blount Street Commons project was asking the Raleigh City Council for a zoning change to allow for more density. At the same time, there is an apartment boom near Glenwood South. Both neighborhoods are so close yet feel much farther because of the uneasy walk down Peace Street in its current state.

It is a half mile walk from the Mellow Mushroom to Tyler’s Taproom yet so few people make that walk. In comparison, Fayetteville Street from one end to the other is a half mile. Peace Street may never have the towers and historic structures of Fayetteville Street but we think that we can atleast set up Peace Street for the same walkable experience. To have it, it starts with people and not vehicles.

The 2030 comprehensive plan specifies that this area is in the Core Business District category. It states:

This category applies to the Raleigh Central Business District, and is intended to enhance Downtown Raleigh as a vibrant mixed use urban center. The category recognizes the area’s role as the heart of the city, supporting a mix of high-intensity office, retail, housing, government, institutional, visitor-serving, cultural, and entertainment uses. Multiple zoning districts apply within the CBD, corresponding to the different character and vision for its various neighborhoods. The maximum residential density in this area would be 320 units per acre with densities tapering off towards edge areas adjacent to established residential neighborhoods, but not falling below 40 units per acre.

The Capital Boulevard study wants to widen lanes and help the flow of traffic. This does not fit with the description above and Link Peace Street feels that goes against the plan adopted just a few years ago.

How can we continue to do what we’ve been doing here in the corridor and expect different results?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

-Albert Einstein

We’re hoping to build support for the idea before the study is brought to the city council before the May 1st meeting.

February Mixer at Spy Raleigh

DLA members came out to Spy Raleigh on February 1st to mingle with neigbors and participate in a raffle for discounts at nearby businesses. This mixer was special this time because it marked the three year anniversary of the Downtown Living Advocates.

At the mixer, participants also had the oppurtunity to pre-order the first DLA t-shirt designed by CityFabric.

Make sure to keep an eye on the event calendar for future mixers and other meetups in downtown Raleigh.

CityFabric was set up to take pre-orders for the upcoming DLA t-shirt.

First Meeting of 2012

DLA members met for the first meeting of 2012 at the Urban Design Center this month. This January is special because it is the three year anniversary of the DLA. What started with just a few members has now grown to over 540 members. And the momentum continues.

At the meeting tonight, we went over a few topics:

  • A new draft of the Unified Development Ordinance is out for public review
  • Be on the lookout for new DLA shirts
  • In the near future, the DLA website will be redesigned with new features to keep you engaged with what is going on downtown as well as take your feedback on any issues you can think of

Two events for you to put down on your calendar are:

  • The next DLA mixer will be at Spy Raleigh on February 1st at 5:30pm
  • The next Moore Square cleanup will be on Saturday, February 4th at 11am.
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