I arrived at NC State’s campus ready to go in 2001. And it became rapidly apparent that I had to leave. Not school, just campus. The dorms were cramped, campus life was slow, and it wasn’t easy to meet a lot of different people because most people moved off-campus as soon as they could (sophomore year). So, me and two friends called up one of the many student apartment complexes in the area for a new home. The neighborhood to receive us, and most new grads as well, was Southwest Raleigh. I’m talking close-by, low rent, three bedrooms all with our own bathroom, in a relatively safe neighborhood. It didn’t really matter that all the shopping centers were rundown and forgotten, and it didn’t really matter, to me at least, that there weren’t decent sidewalks to run on. We drove everywhere, went to class, and partied. But now, it does matter. A lot has already changed — Tryon Road has sidewalks! for one. But much is still left to change, as City Councilman Thomas Crowder and neighborhood advocate Jason Hibbets point out in this recent article by the N&O.
Southwest Raleigh needs new branding so investors and movers to the city will take notice. Then, slowly but surely, the area will continue on the path it’s already started. To be a part of this growth for our city, you can do things like: follow advocate blogs, join events, buy local, and keep voting. Your local paper puts out a great guide.
One big thing that makes any city more enjoyable is its walkability. If you can’t physically connect to people, places and things — whether you read about them online or hear about them from the news first — it just doesn’t mean as much, or arguably, anything. And for most people, connecting to things physically is a whole experience — you don’t want to just drive from point to point, parking, and stopping and starting — you want to walk around. So, the City has drafted a Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan, discussing tools and strategies for making the city more walkable. And they want our feedback, cool — “released for public comment until November 16th“.
If you are a photographer or have a random, great photo that could compete for the cover photo for the plan, send it to: [email protected] by 5pm on November 16th.
1) There needs to be actual people walking in the picture (after all, it is a pedestrian plan). Dogs, strollers, and children are optional.
2) The photo has to be a good example of pedestrian infrastructure (because we already have a thousand photos of bad examples).
3) The photo has to be taken on a public street in Raleigh (sorry, Cary).
4) All submissions become property of the City of Raleigh.