Residents of Raleigh’s Boylan Heights call for change to busy intersection


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Residents are calling for change to a busy Raleigh intersection near the Boylan Heights neighborhood.

Just last week, a car plowed through a fence separating Western Boulevard from the Boylan Heights neighborhood and people who live there, are worried, especially with more traffic expected with the opening of Dix Park.

Tracey Friedlander lives around the corner from the intersection at Western Boulevard and South Boylan Avenue. She says she used to cross there with her dogs to get to Dorothea Dix Park, but she says every time she crossed, she felt like she was putting her life on the line.

“I’ve personally had close calls where I think it’s clear and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, there’s someone coming,’” said Friedlander.

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There is a crosswalk there, but people living in the Boylan Heights neighborhood say this intersection is still dangerous.

It about 20 minutes time, CBS North Carolina’s crew witnessed several cars go through the intersection when the light was red.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve hit that button and waited and they just zoom right by and that scares me a lot,” said Boylan Heights resident Catherine Edwards.

Residents say the crosswalk isn’t marked clearly enough for drivers and they would like to see flashing lights and a sign warning drivers.

“People race around the corner,” said Friedlander. “It’s sort of downhill and a curve and they don’t know there’s a light there. It’s just for pedestrians so it only turns red when someone presses the button so people expect it to be green 99 percent of the time. So when people do press it it’s usually a slam on the brakes kind of situation.”

Since these are state owned roads, CBS North Carolina took their concerns to Steve Abbott with North Carolina Department of Transportation.

“Those are feasible,” said Abbott. “We do a traffic study. We go out there and it may be something super obvious if there’s an overgrown tree and you can’t see around the corner that can be trimmed right away. Others things like signage, we’ll do a speed study, see what the traffic volume is and maybe put a sign further down saying traffic light ahead.”

Residents think these things could be a short term solution, but think as the city develops Dorothea Dix Park, they will need to find a safer way to get people over there.

“What I would really love to see happen is a pedestrian bridge,” said Edwards. “I think it would increase foot traffic into Dorothea Dix. I think it would be safer. There’s so many families over there, kids on bicycles.”

There’s a possibility these concerns could be taken into consideration with the development of the Dorothea Dix master plan. A spokesperson for the city said the plan will look at several issues around the park, including here on Western Boulevard, but did not mention any specifics.

The park’s master plan is not expected to be unveiled until fall 2019.

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