RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Uncomfortable, unsafe, and noisy is how people who live in one Raleigh neighborhood describe a major intersection.

Five Points in Raleigh is easily one of the most confusing areas in the city. Five roads – Glenwood Avenue, Glenn Avenue, W. Whitaker Mill Avenue, Fairview Road – meet at an asymmetrical intersection.

A long stretch of Glenwood Ave. that leads up to the intersection is uncontrolled, allowing cars to pick up speed before they hit a curve at the intersection. In addition, the junction navigates drivers through sharp right turns and extra wide left turns.

In 2021, CBS 17 requested crash data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It showed that over four years there were:

  • 248 crashes
  • $1,267,691 in property damage
  • 74 people injured
  • 1 death

The city of Raleigh set aside $325,000 last year to study the area for possible solutions. Because the state owns Glenwood Avenue, NCDOT needs to give its stamp of approval for any changes they want to make on the road in the future.

Community concerns and fears

To help in their planning process, the city conducted a community survey. 275 participants submitted 882 responses and 513 comments.

When asked transportation problems or challenges people experienced, respondents had similar comments.

One person told the city, “It’s a frighteningly scary intersection as a pedestrian to cross the street. Even with the walk sign, I don’t trust the cars to yield.”

“We walk along the sidewalk with our baby and have had to stop because there are so many accidents. We’re too scared to walk on the side walk or eat outside at the Five Points restaurants because we’re worried about cars crashing into poles or driving onto sidewalk,” said another person.

PHOTO COURTESY AMANDA DURNELL

Those fears are not unsubstantiated. In 2021, a driver traveling at high rate of speed lost control and hit a telephone pole, which snapped and fell, blocking the road. The car then veered onto the patio of a pizza parlor and coffee shop, before crashing into an art gallery, police said. No one was hurt as the businesses were closed for the July 4 holiday.

Another resident echoed those sentiments saying, “While I used to walk to school as a child, I would not think of it today. Although civilization taken over the area in a dense way, those in charge of US-70 have chosen to ignore how dangerous this intersection has become.”

Respondents told the city it’s not just a tricky intersection for immediate residents, but for those driving through as well.

“I can’t tell you how many times I have had to slam on brakes to avoid a serious accident. It’s too confusing and drivers who do not frequent the intersection easily get confused. Its so dangerous!!,” said one person.

Finding solutions

A long-time resident told the city in their response, “I’ve traveled through this intersection since the 1970’s. Clearly it’s time for upgrades & improvements.”

The city is working on making those improvements.

They have three main goals as they look forward to solutions.

The first is to come up with a new design for potential intersection improvements.

The second is to redesign the streetscape using community engagement.

Finally, planners want a complete analysis and functional design of a sidewalk or neighborhood bikeway between the Crabtree Creek Greenway Trail and Five Points.

Three community meetings are planned for the future to provide updates to residents and gain feedback.

  • Touchpoint #1: September 2022 – Existing conditions and intersection concepts
  • Touchpoint #2: Winter 2023 – Concept evaluation, streetscape concepts, and greenway concepts
  • Touchpoint #3: Spring 2023 – Recommendations