Raleigh, NCDOT to look at changes to busy Western Blvd intersection

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Two weeks after a CBS North Carolina report on a problem intersection on Western Boulevard, NCDOT is looking at making some changes to improve visibility for drivers as they approach the crosswalk.

People living in Boylan Heights say a fence, separating Western Boulevard from the neighborhood, has seen its share of accidents.

(City of Raleigh)

“There’s been a couple of cars recently just barrel through the barrier fence between Boylan and Western and it’s only a wooden fence, so, I’m worried about kids playing in the neighborhood,” said resident Tracey Friedlander.

The other concern is crossing the pedestrian crosswalk safely.

“I go across that street almost every single morning and I’m very worried about the left hand traffic coming so quickly,” said resident Dovid Friedlander. “It’s very hard to catch those cars coming down. It’s hard for pedestrians to see them and it’s also hard for cars to see pedestrians, so, it’s just a dangerous little corner right there.”

Two weeks ago CBS North Carolina took these concerns to Steve Abbott with North Carolina Department of Transportation. He told us he hadn’t heard much on the issue, that’s changed since our first report.

“The DOT and the city got together to look at what we can do to make improvements there and they’re going to work on something,” said Abbott. “They haven’t figured out all the details yet, to improve the vision coming off of Boylan and around the corner there, if you’re coming from the downtown area towards the belt line and then we’ll also look at the traffic signal that is already in place for pedestrians and see if there’s any upgrades we could do there.”

Abbott says that could mean a few things. One option is adding flashing lights to warn drivers of the cross walk or removing vegetation.

He hopes to see these changes in the next few months.

CBS North Carolina received stats from the DOT showing there were 31 accidents on Western Boulevard between South Boylan Avenue and Hunt Drive from May 2015 to January 2017.

Residents also worry about the increase in traffic they’ll see once the city develops Dix Park. We reached out to city planning officials who told us they could be addressing some of those issues in the park’s master plan.

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“Even before the design firm was selected that was in the long term plans to have a pedestrian bridge over Western because one of the challenges with Dix Park right now is it doesn’t have very strong edges,” said Caroline Lindquist, Planning Technician for the City of Raleigh. “You’ve got Western Blvd which is such a busy road. So, one of the main goals with pedestrian access to downtown is really strengthening those connections.”

City officials say they haven’t decided on the physical location of the pedestrian bridge yet, but they say it will connect Pullen Park to Dix Park.

They tell us during the master plan process they will look at different options for safe connections to Western Boulevard.

As for the next steps, there’s no hard deadline, but city officials say they may have more information on their plans at November’s first open house meeting for Dix Park.

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