Road Roundup: What do you think about Capital Boulevard?

March 21, 2019
Major changes are underway Tuesday for drivers who travel in and out of downtown Raleigh using Capital Boulevard.

When viewers talk with me about their least favorite roads, Capital Boulevard often is near the top of the list. It’s the major entryway to the north part of Raleigh, and many people see it as a congested, dangerous tangle of concrete and eyesores.

“Long lights, terrible back-ups and almost no way to safely travel by foot or bike,” wrote “Erin” on an online survey the city conducted about the Capital Boulevard corridor. “We need better public transit...we need more sidewalks, and we need bike lanes. Maybe even foot bridges to cross this raging sea of vehicles.”

“Ronda J” wrote about the abandoned buildings along the stretch of highway.

“This was a good area for young families when we moved here,” she wrote. “Now, thefts and burglaries are daily issues. I believe these problems stem from how run-down the businesses have become on this stretch of road.”

Those are the kinds of ideas the city wants as it figures out what Capital Boulevard should look like in the future. It’s conducting a study to create a vision to guide future decisions about development along the road between I-440 and I-540 in North Raleigh. You can weigh in at these public meetings in April:

You also can give your ideas at the city’s Capital Boulevard North Corridor website.

Expect more public meetings from NCDOT this spring as it plans to convert Capital Boulevard to a freeway north of I-540.

Raleigh’s bike-sharing program, CitrixCycle, launched Saturday, and opening weekend apparently was a big hit. The first two days of the program saw 156 trips and 291 miles cycled, CitrixCycle wrote on Twitter this week.

The program is starting with about 100 bikes and 13 Citrix Cycle stations set up in and near downtown Raleigh. Later in the spring, 17 more stations and a total of 300 bikes will be available.

Here’s how it works: Download the Citrix Cycle app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Go to one of the docking stations, pay for your ride and leave the bike at a docking station. You can adjust the seats on the bikes, and some have electric motors to assist your pedaling up hills.

You can take advantage of the nice weather this weekend and take a Citrix Cycle to the N.C. Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” event. Citrix Cycle is setting up special bike dock at the museum through the weekend.

We covered the crowds at N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license offices last summer as people rushed to get REAL IDs. The state says more than 1 million North Carolinians have upgraded to REAL ID cards since May 2017. The NCDMV is trying to meet the demand by offering some special “REAL ID Express Days” through the summer.

These drivers license offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following Saturdays:

During the Express Day events, you can convert your current driver license or ID card to a REAL ID. Anyone with an expiration date six months before the October 2020 REAL ID date will be eligible to renew their license or card during their visit. You also can get first-time and duplicate ID cards.

NCDMV says the REAL ID Express Days should make quick work of getting the upgraded ID. The agency says that people did not have to wait in line at a REAL ID event in Charlotte, and their transactions were completed in 10 minutes. Once you’ve started the process, it’s very easy, as I found out last year.

You also can get REAL IDs at the N.C. Azalea Festival on April 6 and 7 in Wilmington and at the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh from May 17 to 19.

Beginning in October 2020, you’ll need a REAL ID or valid U.S. passport to board commercial flights, visit nuclear sites, military bases or other federal facilities. Visit the NCDMV REAL ID site to learn more about the documents you need to bring to the office and answers to other questions.

Get ready for a smoother ride on sections of U.S. 301 and N.C. 581 in Wilson County.

Crews will begin resurfacing a 5-mile section of U.S. 301 between Haynes Road and the Nash County line, as well as a section of N.C. 581 between U.S. 301 and the Wayne County line. The contract also provides repaving for 18 other secondary roads in the county.

Electric vehicle owners have a new high-speed charging option in Raleigh.

Electrify America has opened a charging station at Pleasant Valley Promenade. Five CCS and 1 CCS-CHAdeMO chargers are available next to the Starbucks. It costs $1 per session, plus 30 cents to 35 cents per minute.

The company has another set of chargers at the Walmart at South Main Street and Ligon Mill Road in Wake Forest.