Midtown Waterfront Park


Midtown-St. Albans Area Plan

City Council has adopted the plan. The next step is beginning work on plan projects – check here for updates!

The Walkable Midtown plan calls for a set of projects that will create a more walkable Midtown – one that doesn’t require a car to go everywhere - and address other infrastructure needs. Key projects include:

  • Two new bridges across the Beltline – one both for cars and for a new greenway connection, the other a pedestrian bridge for people walking and biking.
  • A waterfront park along the Crabtree Creek forms the heart of a new urban district.
  • “Green streets” that add trees and plants to streets to absorb stormwater, slow cars, and create protected places for people walking and biking.
  • A “Midtown Ring” of fully protected spaces for people walking and biking that connects all major destinations in Midtown with nearby neighborhoods.
  • Land-use policies provide more job and housing opportunities while ensuring a built form that creates a sense of place and supports walkability.

Read more details about the projects in the full report. See the new Midtown section in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

Midtown–St. Albans Study Area/ Mapa del area de Estudio

Project Details

Area Plans
Project Lead:
Hannah Reckhow



Hannah Reckhow
Senior Planner

Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Unit:




Your input is essential. A successful plan depends upon an inclusive planning process that receives input from a diverse range of voices in the community.

First, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the planning staff with any questions, comments, or concerns. Hannah Reckhow, the project manager is glad to hear your thoughts or just talk about the next steps.

Second, take part in the many public meetings or surveys that are part of the plan. We’ll be holding a set of events this spring to talk about options – please check this page or follow us on social media to (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) to receive notifications once dates are set.

While participating in a planning process can seem daunting or time-consuming, we want to do what we can to remove barriers to participation. We know that it can be difficult to find time to attend a public meeting held on a single given day, often on a weekday evening. For this plan, we are providing diverse opportunities for input at each stage, with multiple meetings held on different days and at different times. Or, if meetings don’t work for you, online surveys held during each stage allow you to participate on your own schedule.

We also want to make sure your input meaningfully influences the plan. At each stage, we’ll publish both the raw data and our summary, so you can see what we’ve heard. And as the input leads to general takeaways that then inform the creation of options and ultimately the final report, you will be able to see clearly how the input was used.

Beyond the meetings and surveys, here are some additional ways you can get involved:

  • Do you have a community group or business, or event you would like us to attend to provide more information on the project? Please reach out to Hannah.
  • Stay informed for future updates by signing up for the Midtown-St. Albans plan communications through MyRaleigh Subscriptions.
  • Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools to get the word out, so please consider telling all your neighbors and friends in and around the study area about the project. We want to hear their feedback, too!
  • If you’d like to review the materials from the in-person meetings, please see the “Understanding the Area” box to the right.

Several major transportation and planning projects are set to take place in or near Midtown, including a widening of Six Forks Road, new grade separation for rail crossings, a new interchange at Wake Forest Road and the Beltline, and a look at the future of Capital Boulevard.

Major projects include:

Six Forks Road

The Six Forks Corridor Study concluded in 2018. It recommended widening Six Forks Road to create a consistent six-lane segment between Interstate 440 and Lynn Road. It also recommends new or improved facilities for people walking and biking on both sides of the street.

The city is currently working with NCDOT on funding and phasing alternatives for the project, with design expected to begin in 2019.

Capital Boulevard

The Capital Boulevard North Corridor Study is currently underway. This project will create a vision and implementation plan for the future of transportation and development along Capital Boulevard between Interstate 440 and Interstate 540.

This project is on a similar track to the Midtown plan. Specific concepts have not yet been developed, but a broader vision that focuses on the future of the corridor has been developed.

Wake Forest/440 Interchange

This NCDOT project involves redesigning the intersection of Wake Forest Road and Interstate 440, with the primary goals being to reduce vehicle delay and reduce collisions. The plan envisions a “diverging diamond” interchange, a relatively new intersection design that reduces merging and turning conflict points. The project would include redesigned pedestrian facilities as well.

The project is currently in the design phase, with construction expected to begin in 2020.

More information about the interchanges, including a video that shows how people travel through them, is here: https://www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/Transportation/safety-mobility/diverging-diamond-interchanges/Pages/default.aspx 

Railroad grade separation

This project involves the conversion of several at-grade railroad crossings, where trains cross a street at the same level as pedestrians and cars, to grade-separated crossings, where the railroad either goes under or over the street. The project, which includes seven crossings in Raleigh and Wake Forest, is aimed at improving safety and rail efficiency. It also would contribute to plans for higher-speed rail from Raleigh to Richmond and beyond.

Three of the crossings are in the Midtown study area – at Wolfpack Lane, New Hope Church Road, and Millbrook Road. Construction on the New Hope Church Road project is anticipated in 2020. A timeline has not been set for the other projects. More information about the projects is available on their website.

Other projects

Atlantic Avenue from Highwoods Boulevard to New Hope Church Road is being widened, the public comment period is open until April 24th, 2019 and Engineering would like to hear from you! For more information please visit the project page.

The City of Raleigh has numerous transportation projects planned for the Midtown area and other parts of the city. These range from new road construction projects to sidewalk additions and traffic calming measures. The city’s transportation project map shows the locations of the projects and provides links to a timeline and more information about each.

Again, if you have any questions, let us know!


Midtown Raleigh’s transformation began in 2003 with the redevelopment of an aging enclosed mall and strip center into a mixed-use development featuring retail, hotel, office, and residential. In recent years, the expansion of North Hills on the east side of Six Forks Road has continued the area’s evolution.

The approval of the North Hills East Master Plan in 2007 set the stage for additional transformation on the east side of Six Forks Road, with high-rise office buildings, a variety of residential types, and more retail. The build-out of North Hills, as summarized in an Urban Land Institute Case Study, includes roughly a million square feet of office and retail, over 500 hotel rooms, and nearly 1,400 residential units. A recent expansion of the master plan increased this potential even further.

St. Albans Drive is central to many of the issues raised by the changes in the area, many of which are taking place along the portion of the street that runs between North Hills and Wake Forest Road. It also serves a more traditionally suburban commercial area and Duke Raleigh Hospital along Wake Forest Road, before turning northward to terminate at New Hope Church Road.

With the recent rezoning changes and Six Forks Corridor improvements, St. Albans Drive area is poised to see significant change as this part of Raleigh continues to grow and transform. Neighborhood streets that connect into St. Albans—including Hardimont, Dartmouth, and Quail Hollow—may see traffic spillover from increased trips to and from the area.

The area south of 440 is undergoing significant change as well. A project billed as “Midtown East” is redeveloping a parcel near the intersection of Wake Forest Road and 440 with a Wegmans grocery store and additional retail development. Farther south, larger surface parking lots occupy a significant part of the floodplain along Crabtree Creek. The creek itself, one of the larger waterways in Raleigh, flows eastward before joining with the Neuse River.

More broadly, while an interstate highway and several arterial streets serve the Midtown area, it does not have the type of connectivity found downtown, creating a set of transportation challenges. Traffic is concentrated on a few heavily-traveled streets, bus service is slow, and safe and comfortable options for people walking or biking are few, particularly across I-440.

For more information about the project area, please see the briefing book, which contains maps and images documenting current conditions. 

Confirmation Group

The project features a “confirmation group,” which is charged with ensuring that the planning process invites and includes input from all relevant stakeholders. Ultimately, the group will be asked to “confirm” that the plan’s recommendations reflect public input received during the process.

The group, which was appointed by City Council, will meet throughout the planning process. Minutes and meeting materials from the group’s meetings are available in the “Confirmation Group” box on the side of this page.

Visioning Phase

The first phase of the project involved an effort to better understand the key issues to address and to begin developing a vision for the future of Midtown.

More than 400 participants completed the online survey or took part in one of three in-person visioning events in June. The events were aimed at providing information about the project, gathering data about places people like and places that need work, and better understanding stakeholders’ vision for the future of the area.

Input from those events has been compiled into a summary report and supporting appendix. Primary issues included:

  • Transportation
  • Bike and pedestrian safety
  • Improved transit

However, many other issues also emerged during the process and will be closely analyzed during the planning process.

Perhaps the strongest themes appeared in attendees’ visions for the study area. Many attendees expressed a desire for increased walkability or increased multi-modal options. A significant number of participants hoped the area will grow in diversity but maintain a strong sense of community and sense of safety. Many also hoped the area will be home to beautiful streets and neighborhoods and will retain ample trees and greenery. A Midtown that is more inclusive and affordable was also envisioned by many. Lastly, there was a theme of a Midtown area that is prepared for future storms and stormwater challenges.

Examples of what people hope to see in Midtown’s future include:

“Walkable, inclusive, safe.”

“Still livable by all income levels. With manageable traffic.  And increased walking and biking opportunities.”

“A well-planned, pedestrian-friendly urban/residential area with great parks and great transportation (light rail, bus, bike lanes).”

“The kind of ‘neighborhood’ that can have a reputation for both (i) the best restaurants in walking distance, and (ii) the best trick or treating!”

“Safe, walkable, and full of green space.”

“A dynamic, pedestrian-friendly area with civic spaces. A direct connection to downtown Raleigh but also an area with its own identity and offerings.”

“Somewhere that my children can safely navigate by bike or foot with public transportation options. urban and green with open space.”

“A place where many people can find housing, groceries, access to transit, and access to jobs without needing a car.”

View the entire visioning report.

The Midtown plan developed a set of recommended projects and policies that focused on walkability and other transportation needs, creating new public spaces, using enhanced natural spaces to address flooding, and accommodating future housing and employment. View the overview of these recommendations. See more information about key projects.

The final recommendations are based on input received throughout the process, particularly during the last input phase, which took place in September and October. To see the results of the most recent online survey, click here.

Plans such as the Midtown plan are a way that the city shapes its future. Planning affects many aspects of everyday life – how we get around, what kind of housing is available for us at various stages of life, whether the places in which we spend our time are beautiful and inspiring, and so much more.

What is an area plan?

Area plans are intended to provide detailed information and solutions to guide the future physical and regulatory characteristics for a particular area of a city.

Generally, area plans seek to:

  • Involve the community in developing a long-term vision for that area
  • Define policies and actions that will guide how the area should be maintained or changed in the future.
  • Identify future land uses in an overall community-wide context. Is housing a need? Are park spaces adequate? These are the kinds of questions to consider.
  • Recommend future infrastructure improvements to sidewalks and the street network. Are there street connections that can be made? Is widening an option? Can the area be safer and more comfortable for people walking, taking transit, or riding a bike?
  • Provide urban design guidance. Should buildings be close to the street or should parking line the street? How wide should sidewalks be, and how many street trees?
  • Provide implementation guidance for private and public investments and strategies that should be pursued to realize the vision for the area. Raleigh has resources to make things happen, prioritizing investments is key.

More specifically, an area plan will lead to a series of recommendations that will be presented to City Council. The recommendations of an area plan may take the form of:

  • Land use amendments
  • Zoning amendments
  • Plans for open space
  • Updates to the Street Plan Map
  • Updates to the Greenway Map
  • Transportation projects and future studies
  • Capital projects
  • Renderings and sketches depicting urban design guidelines for the area
  • Items requiring further study

Midtown is a diverse place. It includes tall office buildings and neighborhoods of low-slung ranch houses. It includes streets with comfortable accommodations for pedestrians – and streets with fast-moving cars and no sidewalks at all. It includes several transit routes, but minimal facilities for bus riders.

The following images show some generalized categories of places within the study area.

Midtown 1

The southern end of the study area is defined by Crabtree Creek, large surface parking lots, and the intersection of Wake Forest Road and Interstate 440. NCDOT is planning a major reconstruction of the interchange, which would convert it into a “diverging diamond” intersection.

Midtown 2

An older office park occupies much of the land on the south side of Interstate 440 near its intersection with Six Forks Road (top three pictures). East of Wake Forest, the Atlantic Avenue corridor is characterized of a mix of office, warehouse, and residential uses and limited or nonexistent pedestrian accommodations (bottom three pictures).

Midtown 3

The expansion of North Hills on the east side of Six Forks Road has transformed the area and created an employment and residential center on a scale that resembles a downtown.

Midtown 4

Much of the study area north of St. Albans Drive and west of Wake Forest Road is characterized by detached houses from the 1960s and 1970s.

Midtown 5

While parts of the study area are characterized either by multi-story residential buildings or larger one-story ranch houses, the area includes a range of residential housing types, particularly along or near Wake Forest Road. They include older apartment complexes that may see redevelopment in coming years and smaller detached houses in the neighborhood behind Duke Raleigh Hospital.

Midtown 6

Wake Forest Road (top) and Six Forks Road (bottom) serve as major transportation facilities in the area. Both move a high number of vehicles and have limited pedestrian facilities.

Lead Department:
Planning and Development


The plan is exploring the following topics:

Transportation - This includes including making it safer and more comfortable to walk to typical destinations such as work, school, shopping, or parks. It also includes considering the impacts of traffic on neighborhood streets.

Public transportation - With additional transportation demand expected in the future, how can improvements to transit play a role in meeting that demand?

Stormwater - The study area includes floodplains along the Crabtree Creek and Big Branch Creek. Considerations include how green infrastructure can address flooding issues and provide new public spaces.

Housing - This includes considering future housing needs and the possibility of providing greater housing variety to meet the needs of smaller households and residents at various stages of life. This can include exploring “missing middle” options such as townhomes, duplexes and small apartments, and accessory dwelling units.

Land use - How can the area’s growth provide housing and employment opportunities while also respecting the scale of existing residential neighborhoods?

Next Steps


The final Midtown project report, Walkable Midtown, is available for review as well as the Appendix. Just want a quick overview of the big picture? Download the Executive Summary.

The report is based on analysis and input from a year-long study of Midtown and what it needs to become an even better place. Ideas, visions, and feedback came from the hundreds of people who attended some of the dozens of in-person events and more than a thousand survey responses.

The biggest theme? You’d like Midtown to be a more walkable place, where it’s safe and comfortable to get to greenways, parks, shopping, schools, and jobs in ways in addition to only driving. The report goes big on that idea, with new, pedestrian-friendly crossings of the Beltline and a “Midtown Ring” of greenways and safe, protected on-street paths that connect neighborhoods with destinations across Midtown.

The plan also envisions a new Midtown Waterfront District, including a waterfront park along Crabtree. For the first time, the city would have a vibrant, urban place next to a waterway.

There is much more, however, including recommendations for improving transportation options and reliability more generally, stormwater, housing and employment, transitions to neighborhood areas, park spaces, and more.

The next steps for the plan include Planning Commission and City Council review and adoption – and then the exciting work of making the plan a reality.

If you have comments on or questions about the report and next steps, contact the project manager, Jason Hardin, at 919-996-2657 or Jason.Hardin@raleighnc.gov.

While we’ve received a lot of input, we know not everyone has had a chance to see the big picture yet, so we’ll be taking comments on the report through March 1. Following that comment period and some potential edits, there will be multiple additional opportunities for input during the Planning Commission and City Council review.

In addition to the online version of the report linked above, a print version will be available in two locations:

  • Raleigh Planning and Development, One Exchange Plaza, Suite 300
  • Five Points Center for Active Adults, 2000 Noble Road

If you’d like to be notified when it’s published, sign up for Midtown-St. Albans plan communications through MyRaleigh Subscriptions.

Lead Department:
Planning and Development


Project Updates

The Midtown project has two reports available for review:

  1. Walkable Midtown is a full analysis that provides detailed information (185 pages).
  2. The Big Picture provides all the key information in a visual form that is easier to read (80 pages).

Next Steps


Putting the Plan to Work

City Council voted unanimously to adopt the plan in December 2020. The plan’s policy guidance for how new housing and jobs can be accommodated in a walkable way is now in place. The next step is identifying funding for specific capital projects that will implement the plan’s vision for a more walkable and connected Midtown.

Phase Contacts


Hannah Reckhow
Project Manager

Lead Department:
Planning and Development