Jan
31

New High School Planned For NE Corner

As Wake County’s populations grows, the Wake County Public School System must also grow to meet rising demand. This week the planning department received plans for a new public high school (.pdf). This site is off of Louisburg Road, about 3 miles outside of I-540. The site plan shows two main buildings, as well as a football stadium, two practice fields, six tennis courts, two outdoor basketball courts. The layout does a good job of separating the bus loading area from the large student parking lot (about 550 spaces).

The big problem with the design is the layout of the athletic fields. It appears that the baseball team gets the shaft, as they have to carry equipment across the campus to their field. The school’s main entrance will be from Forestville Road, but the football stadium will be at the back of the property. Most fans attending the games will be parking in the large student lot, and will bottleneck when leaving, as this lot has only one exit; one that requires a left turn onto the campus’ main street.

There is desperately needed back entrance planned. It will be near the stadium and will basically be an extension of Canyon Road. The whole school’s flow depends on this access. Hopefully the county will turn a deaf ear to the certain complaints from the neighbors. We need better connectivity in outside of 540. If everything interconnects, then no street carries an undue burden.

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Jan
29

Buffett Coming to TWC

jimmybuffett Jimmy Buffett will triumphantly return to Time Warner Pavilion on April 23. The Coral will open. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10am thru Ticketmaster.

Surely the pavilion is happy to sign an act that will at least mostly fill the place (acts like this are becoming rarities). My only recommendation to those going is get reserved seats and to avoid the hill (unless it is your first time drinking).

Jan
29

Double Saturday Fun At the RBC Center

Saturday will likely be one of the biggest days in 2009 for the RBC Center. At 3:30 the N.C. State Wolfpack will host their rivals, North Carolina. At 8 o’clock, the Carolina Hurricanes will host Southeast Division rivals Atlanta Thrashers.

With the basketball game in all likelihood ending at 5:30, the arena staff will be in high gear for a quick changeover. Fans will be asked to throw away their own garbage from their seats and clear the building after the basketball game as quickly as possible to facilitate a smooth transition.

For fans wishing to attend both games there is good news. The arena club restaurant will open at 6pm. Reservations are strongly recommended (call 861-6100). For those attending the basketball game and dining in the arena club, proceed to the VIP entrance as quickly as possible once the game is over and wait for the building to be cleared for re-entry.

Also those parking in reserved, paved lots (lots #1 thru #6) for the basketball game are not required to move their cars or pay for hockey parking that night.

It should be one of those nice, long, fantastic days we hoped for when we built the arena a decade ago.

Jan
28

Downtown Dining Club At Moonlight

The Downtown Dining Club is hosting their next meeting tonight at Moonlight Pizza at 7:30pm. Meet up for $2.50 Pint Night and dinner together. To learn more or let us know you would like to join the Club, send an email to **

Jan
27

Jimmy John’s Downtown Giveaway

As reported earlier, Jimmy John’s has officially signed on to occupy space at Raleigh’s new Pavilions at City Plaza,. To celebrate the excitement of their plan, Jimmy John’s is inviting the public to a "freaky fast, freaky fresh, freaky free" sandwich event on Thursday (January 29). The event will take place in the Pavilions at City Plaza (on the south end of Fayetteville Street). Here is the schedule:

  • 11:30 a.m. – Special announcement welcoming Jimmy John’s to the Pavilions at City Plaza, including an appearance by Mayor Meeker
  • To follow – Free Jimmy John’s sandwiches!

Jimmy John’s says:

We are known for being freaky fast … so freaky fast that it was the first business to officially sign on to occupy space at Raleigh’s new City Plaza.  What better way to show support for the new Pavilions at City Plaza and Jimmy John’s then to indulge in freaky fast, freaky fresh Jimmy John’s sandwiches?  These sandwiches will be gone before you can say “Turkey Tom”!

Jan
27

Joe’s Place Closes

joes On January 25, 2006, I posted the sad news that Joe’s Place (Featuring Joe’s Mom’s Food) would be closing in weeks. Owner Joe Sciolino later recanted. Three years later Sciolino says he’s had enough. Thanks so much for the 29 years, Mr. Sciolino. You ran a clean business with a lot of personality, and that will be missed.

Now would somebody get on the phone and call Elmo’s Diner, a no-brainer for downtown Raleigh?

Jan
27

Enoteca Vin and Carolina Wine Close

Last week Varmintbites posted that Carolina Wine Company had suddenly closed its doors. Today NewRaleigh posted that Vin has closed. CWC owner Chrish Peel is a co-owner for Vin, and is apparently having a hard go of it lately. Too bad because these were two excellent resources for the area.

Jan
26

I-40 Intersection Continues To Vex

Tonight a fiery five-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 has had traffic at a crawl for over 3 hours now. According to reports, an eastbound car swerved after missing the Wade Avenue Exit on Interstate 40. After cutting across multiple lanes, the car collided with an 18-wheeler, two other cars, and a garbage truck. The garbage truck overturned (spilling garbage all over the road) and burst into flames.

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I40swerve1 It’s a wonder that this kind of accident doesn’t happen more frequently. It seems that at least once every three times I approach the intersection I see a vehicle swerve at the last moment possible. I was so curious about the frequency of this move that I sat on the right shoulder of the road and observed several dangerous swerving instances.

I40swerve2 I sat for 6:00 minutes and counted 12 vehicles swerving at the last moment. Think about that: once every thirty seconds, someone is performing an incredibly dangerous maneuver at 70-80mph. Many were cars, but even more disturbing was the number of trucks swerving.

The question is why: why is this intersection so vexing to people? NCDOT has re-signed the intersection a few times since widening was completed nearly 20 years ago. Still, though, there is something horribly wrong with the design and or signage that is causing some extremely risky behavior.

I40Sign1 Sign 1: Moving eastbound, we pass the crest of Harrison Avenue hill, and proceed downhill, seeing well in advance that an intersection is ahead. The first sign shows a four-laned road splitting to two-and-two. The pair to the left is labeled “40, Raleigh, Wilmington” while the right pair is labeled “440, Wade Ave”.

While the sign is accurate, and stays true to the signage rules of labeling routes to downtowns, the sign is confusing. Wade Avenue is part of “Raleigh”. Additionally, to a motorist moving 70-80mph, “40” and “440” are extremely similar. Let’s do a simple exercise. Tell a friend that you are going to say five numbers to them. Say this tongue-twister out loud to them:”40-440-440-40-440″. Then ask which one was in the middle. Ask them which was said more times. Now say this “40-840-840-40-840”. Ask the same questions and see how much more accurate the response is.

I40Sign2 Sign 2: This sign was placed after years of confusion. It tells motorists that “Downtown Raleigh” is straight, and North Raleigh is to the right. Well, that’s not that accurate, either. What about West and East Raleigh? How do we get there? Wade Avenue one of West Raleigh’s signature roadways, not one of North Raleigh’s.

I40Sign3 Sign 3: This is the original signage. It states the information from Sign 1. Raleigh, Wilmington, and “40” are in the left two lanes. The right two lanes are “Wade Ave” and “440”. An additional clue is given with this sign, though. It informs that the right lanes are exiting the highway.

I40Sign4 Sign 4: This little bitty sign tells sports fans and concert-goers that they need to take Exit 289. I like this one, though it should be a brown sign, like those for Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.

I40Sign5 Sign 5: A repeat of sign 3. At this point some driver around you is in a sheer state of panic. 40-440-440-40-440…Which one!??

To me the main problem lies in calling Raleigh’s beltline “440”. Once again it stays true to the Federal Highway Administration’s rules for naming interstates. However it begs the question: Why do we have these rules? Isn’t it for clarity? Why do we need clarity? ahhh yes, to prevent accidents, of course.

There are a few inexpensive signage improvements that should be tried. The bracket for Sign 4 should also have a large yellow “RIGHT LANES EXIT” sign, with two arrows pointing to the lanes.

Also, Sign 2 should not show a simple “Y”. Rather, it show the true shape of the intersection. The sign should let people know that the left two lanes actually turn to the south while the right two lanes bypass the intersection and ultimately end up straight ahead. Anyone with a decent inner compass is going to assume that the right two lanes veer off and head south, while the left two continue east. This sign should also carry the “40” badge next to “Downtown Raleigh”, but should not carry a “440” badge. Interstate 40 is the dominant highway, and some distinction needs to be drawn between the two roads to passing motorists. Finally, the right half of the sign should read “West and North Raleigh”.

I40swerve3 Perhaps those two improvements would help. However the best solution is to rename 440 to something else. 240, 640, 840 are all taken, supposedly. What do they do in states with more than 4 loop highways? Duplicates should be allowed. I prefer duplicates within a state to…say…flaming garbage.

Let’s also get away from calling it “The Beltline”, which incorrectly implies a closed loop. (A more correct name would be the Midtown Arc, but nobody is going to seriously accept that!)

The high level of danger and confusion in such an intense situation is going to lead to far more accidents. The DOT and the FHA need to spend more time fixing this problem and less time trying to explain how wonderful their pointless nomenclature is.

Jan
26

NCSU/MIA: Wear Pink

Calendar Update: There is an error in the downloadable calendars. The NCSU/Miami game will occur Tuesday (1/27) at 7pm. The game will be carried by ESPNU.

NCSU’s athletics department is asking fans to wear pink to Tuesday’s game and to be there in time for the moment of silence honoring Kay Yow.

Jan
26

Jimmy John’s Coming to City Plaza

jimmyjohns “Gourmet sandwich” chain Jimmy John’s has signed a lease for space in Raleigh’s new City Plaza on Fayetteville Street. The store and the plaza are expected to open in the late summer.

Jan
26

Globe To Begin Cooking Classes

globeOne of downtown’s best restaurants, Globe, is going to host cooking classes beginning Monday, February 23rd. The cost is $50 a person, which includes food and a "bottomless" glass of wine. The first class will focus on hosting an Hors D’ourves Party. The classes will be held the third Monday of every month focusing on different cooking styles and themes each month.

Globe is accepting reservations for limited spaces in the classes as well as their big $55-per person, three-course Valentine’s Day dinner.

Jan
25

Blindness Party In The Tower

This year’s winter "Blindness Party" is set for Saturday, February 28 from 7-11pm. The event benefiting Prevent Blindness North Carolina will take place in the Vaughn Towers at Carter-Finley Stadium. Tickets are $40 per person in advance, $50 at the door.

Jan
25

Hard Wok’s Luck Runs Out

The Hard Wok Buffet on Glenwood Avenue (second floor – Pleasant Valley Promenade) has closed.

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