RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — What brings people to Downtown Raleigh? Downtown Raleigh Alliance asked people what would make them come to downtown and return.
Bill King, Downtown Raleigh Alliance president and CEO, said some of the answers were about making the area look and feel good.
He said that’s why Downtown Raleigh Alliance and the City of Raleigh partnered on an effort called the Essentials plan. It started six months ago and has been an ongoing effort since then.
“Whether it’s office workers or visitors, the experience they have on the sidewalk very much informs whether they come back to downtown,” King said. “So, if this is a good experience, it looks good and feels good and it’s fun, they’ll come back and if it isn’t they won’t.”
King said one change in recent months is street cleaning stepped up to seven days a week.
“From what I can see tonight everything’s pretty clean,” said Sal Georgetti who was out on Glenwood South Friday night. “I don’t see trash anywhere, I think they’re doing a great job as far as that.”
The plan also makes downtown brighter. King said half of the lights embedded in the sidewalk along Fayetteville Street had burned out over the years, they were replaced under the plan.
Trees that were blocking the light from streetlamps are also trimmed. He said brighter LED lights were put in parking decks as well.
As for safety, King said Downtown Raleigh Alliance hired six more safety ambassadors in recent months, bringing the total number of ambassadors to 16. Ambassadors patrol 24/7, except for a few hours early Monday morning.
King said they can de-escalate situations or call police. Downtown visitors can call ambassadors to be walked to their car or assisted if they feel unsafe.
“We try to make sure that, you know, when there’s those moments where it feels quieter perhaps, or you know its late at night or something, or really early in the morning, there’s somebody here that can provide a resource and be eyes on the street,” King said.
Safety ambassadors can be reached at 919-368-7962.