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Downtown Raleigh... A visual tour - Part 1


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Disclaimer: This is a subset of the 6 threads I posted on SkyscraperPage.com. I meant no disrespect by not posting the photos in this forum, as well, but I wanted to test the waters in the other forum, where Raleigh is a lesser known place. All photos are mine, taken about a month ago.

As known to most people in this forum, Raleigh's downtown is not the bustling and lively business center we all would love to see. However, it does have a variety of uses, with business activity concentrated in the core (Fayetteville Street Mall), state/local government agencies and residences located [mostly] outside the core, entertainment districts along the West and East side, but with very little retail present. Raleigh's future looks very promising, but my City Photo threads will deal with what is currently going on. The focus of this posting (divided in three parts/threads) will be the CBD area, leaving the presentation of entertainment districts for another day. I hope you enjoy the tour.

October 03, 2003











































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Thanks, PompeyJohnson. Considering the little we have, I think we are doing ok. If the re-opening of Fayetteville Street Mall brings the kind of momentum downtown needs, then we may be able to see more construction along Salisbury Str and Wilmington Str. The block to the North of Two Progress Plaza is also owned by Progress Energy, along with the parcel North of The Hudson. Both areas are screaming for high-rises and I hope that this will happen, as I am sure Progress Energy would like to, as well. The City of Raleigh should not put emphasis only on Fayetteville Street Mall, but look at the parallel roads as well. Of course, this is what Progress Energy is currently doing, but I think that the city government is too hesitant to promote anything outside Faytteville Street Mall. Next to The Hudson, they should build nothing less than a 25-story building. That area needs heights desperately... Of course, the entire DT Raleigh needs heights desperately, but this is another topic for discussion.

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Thanks for visiting, guys!!!

monsoon: The date is on the top of the first picture (10/03/2003). On that date, I took the pictures after lunch time (2pm-3pm), so everybody had returned to their offices. If you visit the other theads (Parts 2 and 3) you will find photos from a different time (before lunch, if I am not mistaken)... more representative of what the streets look like during early business hours.

I know that sometimes we try hard to promote our cities... I do the same, and while I cannot claim that Raleigh's downtown is a bustling place, it is very lively during morning hours (business days). There is both pedestrian and vehicular activity. What Raleigh lacks in height, gains in density, but there are still many empty parking lots (I call them opportunities). In the evening, DT Raleigh remains alive, but in certain areas. Given the fact there is little retail activity, I am surprised people go to the center at all. On the other hand, DT Raleigh's entertainment districts (City Market, Glenwood South and Warehouse District) are the magnets for people who wish to enjoy the best Raleigh has to offer in dinning and entertainment.

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monsoon: From now on I will be careful to post at the same time on both forums. The only reason that I decided to post my pictures at SSP first was because most SSA forumers have seen Raleigh. There is another thread coming up (by the middle of next week), where I will post photos from outside downtown. I received my first digital camera a few days ago and I already have taken over 250 pics :) There is lots to share and I hope that more people go out there and get shots of their cities/towns.

As far as pedestrian activity, I will have to say this: even if you live in New York, you will find small pedestrian activity in many areas. While this is not true for major destinations within the city, you will be amazed how "deserted" some places feel. In SSP, many readers have realized that the whole "where are the people" argument [when one posts photos without pedestrian activity] is vague and means nothing. Many of us who post pictures are very unlikely to jump in front of people and take their picture... most of them hate it. Pedestrian activity exists, but it is in the wrong places (e.g. malls and shopping centers). You are right, though, NC is one of the many states that faces the challenge of bringing people back to walking, and I surely hope that the progress made continues to be the norm in the years to come.

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monsoon: One piece of advice... consider BeachCamera.com; they were VERY good in terms of prices, delivery and service. There are lots of good cameras out there and many choices. I ended up with Nikon Coolpix 2100 (camera, case, 128MB card, cleaning kit and S&H included - $229) and so far I am VERY pleased. It's really fun to own a digital camera, I assure you :)

DruidCity: Pullen Park is the name, but I have not seen any palm trees there. I have to check it out and take a few shots, anyway. Pullen Park has great potential and I hope the city does a few things to make it a destination.

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This is from the new Livable Streets web page. It is a nice effort to keep people up to date with what is going on in DT Raleigh. I like their work, but it can be very improved, with more information and better organization. It is an awesome effort and a good step forward, though.

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Providence has the same problem with trying to get people downtown. The city is quite busy around 8am and again at 5pm (you know, the rush hours), but much of the day and the weekends it's pretty quiet. The major restaurant and entertainment areas are outside of downtown (except for the mall). The city is working very hard to get more residential development built downtown and trying to get retail to follow. It's frustrating to see the city right on the edge of this critical mass.

Some of those low rise areas of Raleigh look a bit like the towns surrounding Boston, some look a lot like Arlington or Medford, MA. Very nice! :)

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Cotuit, the bustling downtowns we all love will not happen overnight, and I am afraid it will be harder than originally thought. In Raleigh, the core is very quiet on the weekends (and most evenings), but DT Raleigh's edges have demonstrated a strong come-back. Right now, I am typing this from my office computer (I work downtown); the area is prety quiet, except for the museum of science and natural history, and the several construction crews working around here. However, Glenwood South's eateries, at the West edge of downtown are filled with people.

Just like Providence, Raleigh wants to promote downtown living, but this won't happen until 4 of the 6-7 major residential projects planned for the center get completed. I think that Providence has several strengths (when compared to Raleigh) which could help its revitalization effort in a significant way. DT Raleigh needs 4 major residential projects, 1-2 hotels and 2-3 corporate relocations to create the necessary momentum. Thanks for the visit and your comments.

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