Raleigh was recently ranked the best place for driving which is a honor that actually carries a bunch of negatives. Mainly, it means that it’s extremely difficult and not safe to function outside of the car.
Here’s a look at some of the most ridiculous intersections in the area based on sheer size, land use, and demographics around them. Images via GoogleEarth
Dr. MLK Jr Blvd at Dawson / McDowell
Dr. MLK Jr Blvd at Dawson / McDowell serves as the gateway to Downtown Raleigh and is home to some of the best views of the city. But it’s an overbuilt freeway style interchange when it should serve as a walkable hub between Downtown and Dix Park. Fortunately, as the parcels on the North side of the interchange are developed, there are plans to modify a couple of the ramps into more of a quadrant interchange (similar to Peace and Capital on the other end of Downtown). Hopefully as Raleigh continues to densify and Downtown South develops the spine of South Saunders St, we’ll see the days where this is a complete at-grade typical intersection.
Glenwood Ave at Five Points
One of the most desirable neighborhoods just outside of Downtown is also home to one of the most dangerous and confusing intersections in the City. While it’s named Five Points, it’s actually a six-legged intersection in the middle of an underbuilt town-center village type area (we’ll save the underbuilt part for another day). The City is currently evaluating options to revamp this intersection.
Six Forks Rd at North Hills
As North Hills continues to grow and evolve, Six Forks Rd does not. For patrons who want to transverse the two sides of the massive development, they are faced with crossing nine lanes of busy Six Forks Rd just North of I-440. For the billions poured into North Hills, it’s a shame that Kane hasn’t invested in a pedestrian bridge here. He could even light it up and have his name all over it, just like his cranes. Kane if you’re listening, I have more ideas here for you. It’d make a worlds difference for North Hills to feel like one cohesive neighborhood instead of separate developments.
New Bern Ave at New Hope Rd
I-87 was built to relieve New Bern Ave and divert through and truck traffic that was headed up North and to the Coast. But, they forgot the part where they come back and diet New Bern into a safer street. They even re-designated it as US 64 Business in order to keep it under state control. This has also led to complications with the coming BRT route not being able to have dedicated lanes even though there’s four in each direction! All this plus being the economic hub of Raleigh’s Black community, lack of sidewalks, and insane crossing lengths make not just this intersection dangerous, but the whole stretch in the area. What good will BRT be around here without dedicated lanes and treacherous crossing conditions? I guess time will tell.
S Saunders St at Tryon Rd
Look at the size of this intersection! Just two miles South of Downtown, this is what we’ve built. And I haven’t even mentioned the horrible land use so close to the core. This is another location of Black and Hispanic commerce that doesn’t even have sidewalks and crosswalks. There are some big new connections and land use changes planned with the future BRT, and they can’t come soon enough.
US 70 at White Oak Blvd
About 7 miles Southeast of Downtown Raleigh you’ll find this sprawling strip-mall in Garner. If by chance wanted to walk from the North strip-mall to the South one, you’d be greeted with a 10 lane crossing with no crosswalks or pedestrian signal.
Glenwood Ave at Brier Creek Pkwy
Similar situation up in Brier Creek where you’d also be greeted by a nine lane unmarked crossing. Somehow when Glenwood in this stretch is converted to a highway, it will actually be safer to get around on foot since Brier Creek will be a bridge and you’d just have to cross the two on and off ramps.
Capital Blvd at Old Wake Forest Rd
Park once and get all your shopping done? Good Luck! Discontinued sidewalks, 10 lanes to cross and slip lanes say hello.
Glenwood Ave at Creedmoor Rd
What a massive slip lane! Do you live at one of the complexes less than 1/4 from the mall and want to walk there? Not so fast, unless you’re a car. Wait, actually then maybe not so fast either as this is the most clogged stretch in the city. This is another crazy situation where the upcoming interchange project may actually make it easier to transverse on foot.
Western Blvd at Avent Ferry Rd
At first glance this one doesn’t seem awful, right? There’s ped refuge islands and the road isn’t the biggest on the list. But, this intersection connects the two main campuses of NC State University and may have the highest ped counts of any intersection in the city. How the city, boosters, somebody, anybody hasn’t gotten a pedestrian bridge, or culvert here is beyond me!
Did I miss any that you think should be on there? Let me know!
Opinions and insights are my own and are not representative of my employer or any organization. Any ideas displayed on this site are purely that – just ideas to help improve the future of the built environment and begin discussions.