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Downtown Raleigh Public Realm Study

Downtown Raleigh Public Realm Study

As part of helping downtown recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Downtown Raleigh Alliance has initiated a study of downtown’s public realm to provide stakeholder feedback and recommendations for uses of downtown’s streets, sidewalks, and public spaces, which all make up the public realm. The study focuses on two areas:

  1. Future of outdoor dining expansions & curbside zones. We will be soliciting feedback on downtown’s temporary expansion of outdoor dining areas and curbside pickup zones to help inform recommendations for a longer-term approach. Would you still like to use curbside pickup spaces after the pandemic subsides? What other factors should be considered? Ultimately, City Council and staff will determine how best to incorporate these spaces into the future of our public realm, but this study will provide stakeholder feedback to guide those decisions.
  2. Activating downtown through new small-scale events and public spaces. Downtown has added new public spaces recently such as renovations at City Plaza, Moore Square and Market & Exchange Plazas, as well as Union Station Plaza and numerous other public and private areas. The pandemic has provided us with an even greater appreciation for gathering outdoors, as evidenced by DRA's Dine Out Downtown initiative and the popularity of outdoor dining expansions. Given all these spaces and downtown’s role as a central gathering place for the community, our study solicits ideas on ways to re-activate Downtown Raleigh in safe and inclusive ways through new activations and uses for public spaces. What are some activations, programs or events that would attract you to downtown? What are some public spaces you always wanted to see activated? Who are some partners and organizations that could help activate downtown in new ways? How can we use our public spaces to support our creative community?

Share your ideas and feedback

DRA is offering a number of opportunities to engage and share your ideas and suggestions. Responses and feedback will be collected and synthesized into a publicly-available report this summer that will help inform the future of downtown’s public realm. 

Engage and share your perspectives through one or more of the following opportunities:

  • Innovate Raleigh Community Listening Sessions. DRA is excited to partner with Innovate Raleigh to offer the opportunity for in-depth and small-group conversations with facilitators to discuss ways to use our public realm more effectively to help downtown recover and thrive.  Sessions are free and virtual. Sessions are open to the general public. Register online here for one of the session times below:
    • May 12, 12:00pm-1:30pm
    • May 13, 12:00pm-1:30pm
    • May 14, 9:30am-11:00am
  • Downtown Rundown virtual community meeting, May 25 at 4:00pm. As part of our regular Downtown Rundown community meetings, DRA will present ideas and hear feedback on outdoor dining expansions and new small-scale activations for Downtown Raleigh. Participants will be able to ask question, submit ideas through comments and share opinions through Zoom polling. The Downtown Rundown will also include updates from City staff on downtown-related initiatives and projects. Downtown Rundowns are free to attend. Register online here.
  • Annual Survey. Share your opinion and feedback on a variety of downtown areas to help shape DRA's future priorities and projects. Results are compiled and shared with City of Raleigh staff and City Council. DRA administers its Annual Survey every spring to all downtown stakeholders on downtown perceptions, needs, and priorities. This year, we have included additional questions on outdoor dining, curbside zones and activations in our public spaces. Take the survey online here.