Category: Warehouse District (Page 1 of 5)

At the Wheel of the BEST Dillon Mural Train

Carolyn Williams poses for her portrait.

Carolyn Williams posing for her portrait

With BEST Dillon’s theme of Moving Forward Together, who could be better to fill in the mural’s train driver seat than Triangle Transit bus driver Carolyn Williams?  From the beginning, BEST’s vision was to express community through a wide range of artists and volunteers, as well as the subjects pictured in the design, culminating in portraits of local residents and businesses whose contributions have made the mural a reality.

At the top of that donor list is Triangle Transit, who provided the enormous stretch of vacant warehouse space as a canvas for the 200 foot mural on the facade of the Dillon Supply Company building at 216 S. West Street.  Asked who should represent them on the mural, the board quickly reached consensus.  It was the bus drivers who were the real face of Triangle Transit.  When supervisor Tammy Romain put the names of bus drivers into a hat, Carolyn Williams was the name she pulled.

After serving as a bus driver and dispatcher for nearly a decade, Carolyn serves as a perfect model for the dedication and experience it takes to provide safe and dependable transportation for the hundreds who ride her bus each day.

Angela Zappala paints Carolyn Williams’ portrait, joined by Nola Johnson, Donna Belt and Patrick Shanahan.

Angela Zappala paints Carolyn Williams’ portrait, joined by Nola Johnson, Donna Belt and Patrick Shanahan.

Carolyn’s portrait in the driver’s seat of the BEST train will soon be finished.  She looks forward to bringing her twelve year old son, Kamozie and her mother down to the Warehouse District to view herself as BEST artist Angela Zappala has captured her.  Asked what she sees for her future, Carolyn doesn’t have to think twice.  She’d like to be a train driver.   We picture that for her too.

DLA Adopts Downtown Bus Shelter: early adopter of new city-wide program

The Downtown Living Advocates has adopted the R-Line (R9) bus shelter located at the corner of Dawson and Morgan Streets.

The City’s shelter adoption program began in September, and the DLA quickly volunteered to be one of the first adopters.


About the Adopt-A-Shelter Program

Adoption requires maintaining the shelter and assisting in removing trash in and around the shelter area on a monthly basis.  The City of Raleigh provides trash bags, disposable gloves and safety vests to assist in the trash removal around adopted shelters.  Volunteers are also asked to notify City of Raleigh staff of any special maintenance needs and report vandalism or suspicious activity.

Residents can sign up for a one-year commitment to keep the adopted bus shelter clean for CAT riders, and all of the 184 bus shelters throughout the City of Raleigh are available for adoption.

Code for American web application makes signing up easy

Code for America has stepped up to offer an interactive web web application to encourage participation in this City program.  The online application displays which Capital Area Transit (CAT) bus shelters are available for adoption.

The URL for the app is

Code for Raleigh includes volunteers from CityCamp Raleigh, who advocate for existing applications and technology created by Code for America, a national non-profit focused on improving government through technology.
Race for Reuse Campaign targets 20 adopted shelters by December 6th

The Raleigh brigade has entered the Code for America Race for Reuse campaign, which is looking to have 20 new shelters adopted by December 6 to meet its success criteria.

We think we can double the existing adoption rate from 20 adopters to 40 adopters during the campaign,” said Jason Hibbets, a Code for Raleigh brigade captain. “Over the coming weeks, we hope to drive awareness of the bus shelter adoption program and host a ‘civic-athon’ on December 1 to sign-up new users, add new features and create Triangle Wiki pages about each adopted shelter.

Civic-athon Event December 1st

Register today and save the date for Saturday, December 1 to Adopt a Raleigh bus shelter and address bug/feature requests to the web application.  The event will be located in downtown Raleigh, but the exact location has not been announced.

First Phase of Union Station in Downtown Raleigh Moves Forward

Joseph Szabo, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration, visited Raleigh’s warehouse district this morning to announce that the Federal Government had awarded Raleigh with the final amount of funding needed to complete the cost of a $60 million replacement for Raleigh’s Amtrak station.

  • $43 Million: Federal
  • $ 9 Million:  State
  • $6 Million: City
  • $2 Million: TTA
  • $60 Million: Total

The first phase of Union Station will be in the former Dillon Supply Viaduct Building near the corner of West and Martin streets, just a block from the planned Citrix Systems headquarters office, and around the corner from the BEST Raleigh mural now being painted by a group of local artists.

This first phase of the city’s Union Station project will serve as Raleigh’s new Amtrak depot, replacing the cramped and busy station a few blocks away on Cabarrus Street.  Project design will begin in January, with construction starting in January 2014.

Planned expansions in the future would establish Union Station as a hub for commuter trains between Durham and Raleigh as part of the Wake County Transit plan.  As you may recall, funding for the transit plan was delayed by the recent decision of the Wake County Commissioners to put off having a referendum on the transit bond.

Eventually, Union Station could also serve as the hub for inter-state High Speed Rail  (route pictured here) and a local Light Rail service that would run between Raleigh and Cary.

Associated posts:

County Transit Plan Moving Forward

Vote YES for Raleigh’s Transportation Bond

SPARKcon and BEST Raleigh Invite Children to Paint the Dillon Mural

SPARKcon and BEST Raleigh are joining to invite children of all ages to come and make their mark on downtown Raleigh!

Where: Dillon Supply Co building at 210 S. West St.

When: Friday and Saturday, September 14 – 15 (10:00AM – 3:00PM)

Forty different volunteers have shown up on the 200 block of S. West Street in the last two weeks, all with the same goal in mind: to prepare 200 feet of facade on the Triangle Transit-owned Dillon Supply Co. building for a mural celebrating how we move forward together.

When artists Jason Craighead and Patrick Shanahan envisioned the design that begins with children’s handprints and explodes into a skyburst of flying machines before settling back down into rolling North Carolina countryside, they had no idea of the sparks that would fly even before the first little fingers touched the mural.

As SPARKcon suggests, these are sparks of imagination, connection and empowerment…  BEST workers were joined on one day by a man with thirty years of painting experience who couldn’t deny his urge to show us tips on how to prime the crannies of the brick.  Three volunteers had just moved to Raleigh and saw this work as a way to network.  In other cases, friends who had lost touch with each other found themselves drawn by a common goal, to make a difference in their community.  Many returned day after day so that the wall would be ready in time for the children to come.

And now we’re ready.  We invite you to bring your children of any age to make handprints and create body tracings that will seed this mural that honors our passage from individual dreamer to community transformation.


  • This is an opportunity for families to encourage their kids to use their creativity to make a lasting mark on their community.
  • Triangle Transit will answer questions about their plans for the future affecting the Warehouse District and the region.
  • Entertainment by local artists and musicians
  • Sign up to volunteer for BEST!  We need your skills to continue this work!


For more information about the BEST Dillon Project visit


BEST Raleigh Creating a 150 Foot Mural in Raleigh’s Warehouse District

. Computerized version of artist’s concept for Dillon mural

If you’ve ever walked down the southern end of West Street, you might think it’s a block that’s been put on hold, with long brick buildings broken only by dashes of windows filled with curling, water stained paper marking what was once the bustling Dillon Supply offices.  Yet this is setting poised to break loose.

This 200 block of West Street is surrounded by a burgeoning art district with the nearby Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) and Flanders Gallery, as well as VAE and Design Box.  And of course there’s the promise of this end of downtown becoming the center of public transit in Raleigh with the plans for Union Station.

Enter BEST (Beautifying Emerging Spaces Together).  As a passionately committed group of artists, residents and businesses who feel that they can shape downtown through shared creative expression, this is their idea of a prime location to get the community working together on a huge art project.  BEST approached Triangle Transit a few months ago to propose putting a mural on the former Dillon Supply offices, between Martin and Hargett, and impressed with what BEST is all about and their vision, the TTA Board approved the project.

BEST’s Concept for the Mural

We will begin by inviting children to add their handprints and body tracings to a design that will morph into a crowd boarding a train in front of a Raleigh skyscape.  Phase II of the mural expands into a sunburst as the Wright brothers’ plane and other flying machines soar over the North Carolina countryside.  The theme, whether specifically reflecting Triangle Transit’s role in regional transportation or applying to the limitless potential that we all share, is a spectacular celebration of the ways in which we move forward together.

BEST Raleigh raising funds for the project now

A launch party and fundraiser event is going on THIS FRIDAY at Spy Raleigh.  Downtown businesses have joined in this effort by contributing raffle prizes, just as the local arts community has come forward with a large variety of artwork for a silent and live auction.  Fairway Outdoor Advertising is one such donor who has supplied a large vinyl banner with a computerized version of the mural that will be placed on the Dillon Building.  Come to the event and sign this banner to state your claim on the transformation of this part of town.  And if you’re wanting to make a bit more of a statement, a $1,000 donation will get your face on the mural. Large or small, your donation helps pay for the paint, brushes and materials required to bring this block alive.

Learn more about the event and RSVP here.

If you can’t make the event, you can help BEST Raleigh with this project by making a donation from their website.


Visit BEST online at



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