Connection: It's what we all crave. To walk to a friend's house, to bike to the lively neighborhood right over there, a stone's throw away, just over the railroad tracks, but too often, we "can't get there from here." There are certain key connections in Raleigh where the plaque has built up, where we suffer from a kind of urban "angina." The Atlantic Ave. Bridge is such a place.
For bikers and walkers, it is the bottleneck that separates Mordecai from Five Points, and downtown from the emerging retail and restaurant hubs blossoming north of the railroad tracks.
How nice it would be able to bike to Big Boss for a beer,
to the Hummingbird Cafe for a coffee, to the Loading Dock for a meeting,
onto the greenway on a Sunday afternoon,
up Whitaker Mill to Five Points for lunch or a movie,
to the Ritz for a concert, or to the renovated Peden Steel warehouses for shopping in the future....
It's exciting to see these new uses of old warehouses,
to see people spilling outside, playing cornhole, eating together at picnic tables, with children playing nearby. A unique district of Raleigh is emerging here, in area that was once neglected.
If we want a safe walkable city, with people exploring neighborhoods and businesses on foot, meeting each other along the way, we have to make it not only possible, but inviting.
We need to make the Atlantic Ave. Bridge accessible without a car, and to extend that walkability north along Atlantic Avenue as well. Too often I've seen people take their lives in their hands navigating the walk from Dock 1053 to Big Boss Brewery.
My husband loved his daily bike ride to work downtown, but his new office is on Bush Street. It is a mere 3 miles away, but he'd have to cross the dreaded bridge and bike down this road. He drives instead and comes home grumpier.
There are a few places in town where the need for surgery is so obvious, where the chance to open up enormous possibilities is so clear, that it's a no-brainer. This is one of them. Let's unclog this artery and let the life blood of the city flow freely through!