RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Members of the public now have the opportunity to have their voices heard on the numerous proposals to improve Six Forks Road. The city is looking at transforming a portion of the road to address congestion and pedestrian traffic.
More than 50,000 cars pass through the main corridor of Six Forks Road each day, with a stretch between Rowan Street heading north, likely looking much different in the coming years. But what those changes look like remains uncertain.
“Because we’ve been able to pause based on costs, it really enables us to revisit it with this huge shift in the way that we travel,” said Mary-Jo Gellenbeck, who’s part of the city’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission, or BPAC.
The city originally planned on widening Six Forks Road between Rowan Street and Lynn Road to three, 10-foot-wide lanes each way, with a grassy median separating a bike path in both directions.
But rising real estate costs significantly increased the budget needed to complete the project. With a wide gap in available resources, the city is now considering five different options moving forward.
One option would cancel or restart the project. Two others would see some semblance of widening along the corridor, with the cost varying depending on the length of the plan. Three lanes, with the separated bike path, up to Millbrook would cost an estimated $66.2 million, while a proposal to only go up to North Glen would be around $35.6 million.
The remaining options would keep the road as is, focusing more resources on pedestrian traffic, with both options making these improvements along the whole corridor up to Lynn Road.
One possibility would see a separate bike path and sidewalk, costing around $49.4 million. The other would forego the bike path in favor of a 12-foot-wide multi-use path on both sides of the road.
“I’m quite excited about the prospect of having those really wide, multi-user lanes on both sides, and all the way up to Lynn,” said Gellenbeck.
The public got their first opportunity to give input on the proposals at Tuesday’s BPAC meeting. Members of the all-volunteer group voiced a lot of support for the option to build the multi-use path.
“There’s so many destinations in that space for residents to get to. If you don’t provide that safe comfort, you’re going to choose to drive,” Gellenbeck said, noting the numerous schools along the corridor.
BPAC members were critical of any plan to widen or expand the roadway, arguing that it would likely increase speeds in the area. They also argued that adding additional lanes will give people more of an incentive to drive, undoing efforts to cut down on congestion.
Members of the public can engage with city officials in-person again this week. On Wednesday at the District A Town Hall meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. and Thursday at the Transportation and Transit Committee Meeting, which begins at 3 p.m.
You’re also encouraged to fill out a survey, which can be done here.