Raleigh Series for February 27, 2009

February 27th, 2009

With several trips out of town to Chicago and Pittsburgh (and my Grandmother passing away) since the last series, I haven’t been able to devote enough time to Raleigh recently. I’ve been sitting on some of these pictures for a while, but decided to go ahead and post them rather than waiting for more quantity.

Vantage point from the new Wake County Parking Deck

View of the parking garage from South Saunders

LED lamps illuminate the entire structure

Wachovia Building

Progress Energies

Evening Raleigh Skyline

View of the new Raleigh Convention Center

The new Terminal 2 at Raleigh Durham International Airport

Exterior of Terminal 2

I usually don’t like to post low quality images, but I thought these were interesting comparisons. They are from incoming and departing flights from RDU.
Distorted view of downtown Raleigh


Duke campus


Winston Salem

Final look at downtown


  1. ricky mitchell says:

    May 3rd, 2009 at 1:31 pm (#)

    I think that raleigh has great posibilities but,with the lack of public trasportation (city buses) and business in downtown what’s really in downtown.Who are you kidding,if you want the city to grow you have to take a leap of faith and have more atractions like a new sports arena,movie theatres,and other venues. when five o’ clock rolls around,the place is a ghost town,who wants to visit a ghost town. I not saying be like New york or Atlanta but Raleigh can do a whole lot better.

  2. jeff says:

    May 3rd, 2009 at 1:35 pm (#)

    You’re right rick.Im from CALIFORNIA and I have been in raleigh for three years now and I going,”where is everybody?”, Soon as the clock strike six, there’s not a soul around.That’s creepy man. What’s going to happen when everyone rushes home,do vampires come out or something. BORING…YARN!!!

  3. Ernest says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 12:59 am (#)

    Isn’t this the case with so many cities, even bigger and more established than Raleigh? Don’t get me wrong, it is good to provide constructive criticism, but let’s put things in perspective. Where was DT Raleigh 5, 10, 15 and even 20 years ago? How far has it gone since then? BTW, where is life in DT NYC after 6pm? Downtown districts served as business districts, not meant for mixed use, yet DT Raleigh is slowly joining the mixed-use category. That is, if you want to really compare apples with apples. Sure, some downtown areas have managed to combine both business and fun, but only to a smaller extent, IMO. There are a lot of areas in NYC that after 6pm get transformed to slower moving areas, with little activity, if any. Of course, you can go to DT Chevy Chase and CT Bethesda and get a very different image, somewhat similar to what we want to create in DT Raleigh.

    Public transportation has little to do with DT Raleigh not being there yet. There is plenty of parking and if people want to be downtown, they will do so without hesitation. Do you know how many people drive from North Raleigh to the Marbles museum every Saturday? Lots!!! With, or without public transportation, DT Raleigh can succeed even more, simply by hosting events, as long as they remain unique and interesting. The biggest problem we have is perception… We are at a stage of “evolution” where we need more residents in critical spots. For example, along Hillsborough Str, Glenwood South, Moore Square and Nash Square. We must connect the dots, which is what many cities have done. There are downtown districts with a large portion covered with parking lots, yet they manage to contain the growth in locations somewhat connected with each other, thus giving the impression of “completeness”. Did you know that DT Raleigh has a larger downtown population than Dallas and Houston? You’d better believe it. Not by a far margin, but taking the overall city population would make the lead even greater for Raleigh.

    Anyway, DT Raleigh is not a ghost town, unless you walk around the state government district. The spreading of entertainment destinations in three areas doesn’t help though, so I understand why some of you may feel that way. The activity is too spread, if you ask me, but not a ghost town. Saturday night was one of those nights when downtown was definitely alive. The International Beer Festival brought lots of people to Moore Square, but Glenwood South and the Warehouse District were also doing good. This is not enough for big city standards, but for Raleigh it was more than enough, IMO.

    Sorry if I am annoying any of you…

  4. laryea says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 7:45 am (#)

    yea you cant be comparin california to anywhere in nc that just aint fair so anyyyway!!!…. dt raleigh has come a long way from ten years ago. and raleigh isnt really dead after six i dunno where the hell you guys are at six in dt raleigh but glenwood south and the warehouse district are not dead ever! raleigh was and is doin good with progess if not for the economy we would have had a lot more under construction and built by now. im proud of raleigh and it still has a long way to go but i enjoy seeing the progress. as far as greensboro goes im so surprised! i came through there this weekend at around midnight in dt on saturday and boy was it live! greensboro has come along way!!! when i was at A&T dt greensboro was dead as abraham lincoln! there were people everywhere in dt gboro this weekend the police were on bikes patroling, the bars were packed , people all over walking to the point you couldnt even drive. its good to see my nc cities picking up speed!

  5. Ernest says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 9:05 am (#)

    DT Greensboro is another good example of an underrated area, I think. Unlike DT Wilmington and DT Asheville, DT GSO seems to be focusing on nightlife along and near Elm Str, which I think is a fantastic main street and a gem that combines old and new architecture. Plenty of potential to the East, particularly as the CBD connects with Southside. In contrast, DT Raleigh continues to strengthen its 3 entertainment areas – cannot count Fayetteville Str until it is completely done, but falls short of connecting them. Hillsborough Str and Nash Square will be critical in making that connection, I think, but it will not be any time soon that we’ll see things developing around there.

  6. james says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 10:56 am (#)

    Ernest wrote
    “Where was DT Raleigh 5, 10, 15 and even 20 years ago?”

    In Jeff’s defense, he did say he has only been in Raleigh 3 years. Anyways, does it really matter that two Raleighites from Cali finds Raleigh boring? That’s not surprising. Not surprising at all. There are some people from Cali that find Atlanta boring if that makes you feel any better. Many folks from Cali confuses Charlotte and Charleston because of the first five letters of their name. That is a testament to just how arrogant and stupid our friends from the left coast can be!!! LOL (no offense west coast natives, I am only kidding)

    Anyone who has ever been to Cali knows that Cali thinks the World revolves around them. It is the nation’s largest state. With that said, Raleigh has come a long way in the past 20 years (this is coming from a guy who saw Raleigh for the first time back in 1988). There were literally no skyscrapers back then. NONE. I was only eight years old, but I clearly remember that trip. My first thought was “I am in a downtown with no skyscrapers?”. I kept looking up trying to find one but there were none. Just government buildings and pigeons. Many folks familiar with the old Raleigh as a result are very proud of the Raleigh that exists today and should be. New comers probably won’t feel that same pride for they have no appreciation nor knowledge of Raleigh’s progress.

    I do agree with Jeff about mass transit. More mass transit would bring more pedestrian traffic to downtown at all hours of the day. I am sure it is the lack of pedestrian traffic during off peak times that Jeff was speaking of when he described dt Raleigh. Correct me if I am wrong Jeff.

  7. laryea says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 1:29 pm (#)

    good point james… when i went to cali these guys from there thought that st louis was a neighborhood in la county…. what a bunch of mf dumb asses!! i couldnt believe those guys had never heard of st louis a major us city. hear this… HOLLYWOOD IS FAKE, NOT ST LOUIS CALIFORNIANS!!! LOL

  8. Ernest says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 1:55 pm (#)

    James, let me correct you: There are STILL no skyscrapers in DT Raleigh :LOL: These are high-rises, but barely qualifying as skyscrapers with today’s standards 🙁 As for the pigeons, the state officials brought the hawks just to control the pigeon population… Cruel, isn’t it? I wonder if there is a similar remedy for the NIMBY issue :ROTFLMAO:

    As for our fellow Raleighites from the West Coast, they have many reasons to be proud of the place they left behind. California is definitely a fun-loving area, and a very beautiful one. Not to mention the wine 🙂 The only reason I answered is because I wasn’t certain if they knew much about the evolution of DT Raleigh, which has come very far, much like any other city that rediscovered its downtown. There are perceptions due to the lack of connectivity between different neighborhoods, but we are actively working on it and some day we may see the fruits of our labor being enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

    Just a little positive news on mass transit. The R Line has been doing great and people seem to respond, if DRA’s claims are correct. There is a significant increase in ridership throughout the entire week and we hope to see more and more people using this line. Sure, it’s free, but so what? People are slowly using various options. This may also hurt the pedestrian feel, but in the long run it will be a great thing.

  9. Jeff says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 6:29 pm (#)

    just to clarify, that’s a different Jeff than me. but perhaps you don’t know me either, so that’s confusing… anyways, i was there last week visiting (finally moving down 5/16) with a friend…her first time. and i think with the way the city is so spread out, she couldn’t make a real distinction between chapel hill, durham, glenwood south, north hills, or “downtown” raleigh. so i would definitely like to see some stuff be connected better, because all the “hidden gems” could probably use more exposure.

  10. Ernest says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 10:34 pm (#)

    Jeff, all of the areas you mentioned are very different – Glenwood South is actually part of downtown, BTW. If someone cannot tell the difference between North Hills and Glenwood South, then I am speechless :LOL: No offense to your friend – I mean it – but these two areas are VERY different. For one, Glenwood South is filled with old urbanity and the nightlife options are far more organic than North Hills. The latter is a very polished area. Things get confusing when we speak of North Hills without explaining what we mean. That is, the area vs. the New North Hills, where most of the action is.

    Chapel Hill and Durham have some very distinct feel, much different than Raleigh’s. All three municipalities have a major university in their proper and a main street to provide the retail and entertainment. Of all three, Franklin Street is probably more interesting, since it is also the main street of Chapel Hill, too. Ninth Street is definitely a nice place to visit, but “suffers” from the fact that it is only 2-3 blocks we can speak of, plus there is competition from nearby streets. Hillsborough Street (near NCSU) used to be a much better experience in the past – as I remember it – but after some decline it is slowly coming back. All these 3 streets offer some urbanity but they are very different from North Hills, Glenwood South, etc. I am not suggesting that the three most important urban centers of the Triangle are very different from each other, but the distinction is clear, I think, particularly in the downtown areas.

    You hit the target, IMO, when you mentioned the word “exposure”. Yes, we need to have more of that, but the nature of the Triangle makes it hard. We definitely need to start with the individual centers (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) by having each city connect its various centers. Raleigh can do better in connecting downtown with North Hills, for starters. Massive potential for better connectivity with Five Points and the NCSU stretch of Hillsborough Str exists, but it will take a huge effort to make it happen in the next 10 years. For now, we can focus on connecting better the 5 most important areas of downtown: the CBD, Glenwood South, the Warehouse District, City Market and the North End.

  11. Jeff says:

    May 6th, 2009 at 7:41 am (#)

    sorry i think i gave the wrong impression. i meant she couldn’t really tell how far each place was from anywhere else, or what was “Raleigh” or a suburb or whatever. like my apt is technically in Raleigh but is far from downtown, and to her it was just getting on a highway for 20 min and appearing somewhere interesting. i just feel like in boston, which is bigger obviously, but has many different sections, there’s enough stuff around to walk between them, or take the above-ground T, and then the subways for further travel. in Raleigh it’s like…i’m on Glenwood South, and it’s not worth the trip to go beyond that tonight. i’d just like things to be a bit more connected, and beyond the public transit issues that people mention, there just needs to be more buildings. when you walk around and then suddenly the area stops, you don’t presume to go walking through an old residential neighborhood to find more excitement 😉

  12. misfitfirefighter13 says:

    May 6th, 2009 at 11:13 am (#)

    does anyone else in here feel that the entire warehouse district is a prime area of downtown that is being severely under utilized? (especially hargett st by the hue.) those warehouses could make great loft apts. if we could keep the bars and restaurants that are already there and start getting develepors to buy out the businesses, renovate/rebuild the buildings, and bring residents into that neighborhood that would be an awesome start to connecting downtown with hillsboro st and glenwood south, especially with the R line and the new wolfline connectors. i see so much potential there for an awseome liveable urban area that it pisses me off raleigh is dropping the ball. a downtown grocery store / movie theater / gym or even some decent chain resturants (think hooters, fridays, applebees, etc) would probably do great down there adding a little corporate draw to the more unique spots like HP, etc. thats just my 14 cents worth. thanks for listening.

  13. Ernest says:

    May 6th, 2009 at 1:51 pm (#)

    Jeff, sorry for misunderstanding you 🙁 You are correct, though, there is no distinct borderline between the municipalities of the area, just a bunch of suburban neighborhoods. This is one of the main differences between the sunbelt and rustbelt cities. It has to do a with the character and the nature of the development. Boston is definitely 100 years ahead of Raleigh in urbanity – if not more – which is the issue, I think.

    misfitfirefighter13, your take on the Warehouse District is right on the money. The revitalization effort in that area started back in the early 90’s, with a lot of success to report. Two things slowed the progress down: Glenwood South and TTA’s failed vision for the regional rail. The latter did a major damage because TTA started buying properties and developers waited to see first what the fate of the regional rail was going to be before putting their money in The Warehouse District. There were plans for some decent-sized projects and renovations, but we have to wait, at this point.

    You also mentioned a very important role that the Warehouse District has to play: connecting the CBD, Glenwood South and the Hillsborough Str areas. Very important if we want to create a smooth transition between various neighborhoods. This is exactly what projects like The Hillsborough would have accomplished, or at least they could have created momentum. It is not over yet, but it will be several years before we see some noticeable progress. For now, we can only count on One Glenwood and [hopefully] the Winston Tower, but these projects will be merely the beginning.

  14. Lee L says:

    May 7th, 2009 at 3:38 pm (#)

    I have always thought all the trees in the area were a blessing an da curse. Many people come here from other places and just cannot believe the trees, but they also keep you from seeing lots of stuff. You can drive all around 440 and in many places be right beside fully developed areas and never know they were there.

    Combine that with the hills and you do not get the sense of where you are like some other cities because you just can;t see.

  15. Anonymous says:

    November 23rd, 2009 at 6:13 pm (#)

    It was great seeing those photos from the airplane view…it also showed the truthon how scarcly dense they are

  16. Timothy Ernst says:

    December 14th, 2011 at 10:28 am (#)

    There’s pictures of Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, but Charlotte is noticeably absent…hummm…  

  17. Anonymous says:

    December 14th, 2011 at 10:59 am (#)

    Timothy-  it’s “noticeably absent” because the airplane didn’t fly over Charlotte.  I have Charlotte photos on metroscenes.com

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Raleigh Series for February 27, 2009

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