Update: There’s been some great feedback in the comments section below. The guy who created the original petition shared his thoughts and explains how he’ll pay for this. Shockingly, I think I agree with him.
We’ve all driven down Capital Boulevard and had that sinking feeling as we pass the line of cars trying to save 10 cents a gallon at the Hess gas station. After passing the ramp to the Wade Ave. 500 and the Light + Time Tower, you come upon the wide expanse of industrial buildings and begin to wonder why you’re only driving 35 miles per hour when you should be doing 60 through this stretch of desolation. No one likes this road. It’s just sad.
I assume this is why a petition to flood Raleigh’s Capital Boulevard of Broken Dreams in order to create a canal through downtown Raleigh is gaining traction. The proposed canal consists of a half-baked idea to divert Capital Boulevard traffic into an underground tunnel so that the street above can be flooded. This would supposedly create a “canal scape” through downtown Raleigh, giving us our “much needed downtown water feature”.
The petition has gained 912 supporters so far, most likely outsiders who have left comments such as, “It would be a fantastic draw to downtown” and “It would being much more tourism and give friends an alternative a to beat the heat.” That’s a direct quote, not edited for grammar or spelling.
At first I dismissed this as the ramblings of silly hipsters who love to propose ideas for the city with no concept of how to pay for them. After all, petitions are just a way for people without money to complain about things they can’t change. I can hear them planning this now, “Don’t worry about cost. We can leverage our infrastructure to design aquatic space representations of inclusivity. With enough e-signatures and tweets, the canal will build itself!”
Looking past the cost and logistics, I actually completely agree with the idea of a canal through downtown Raleigh. However, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right. Below is a rendering of my proposed downtown Raleigh canal. I know this isn’t Capital Boulevard, but I couldn’t find a picture of Capital Boulevard that wasn’t depressing.
You can see from the rendering that the canal will solve so many of our city’s problems while also providing us with endless opportunities. Camp Sea Gull and Seafarer kids will finally have a place to practice their sailing skills in the off season. We’ll all be able to take those Tahoe gondola rides at sunset that we’ve been dreaming about for decades. The WHHOOOOOOs from the Trolley Pub will finally be silenced. I didn’t have room for the riverboat casino captained by Bonner Gaylord, but you get the idea.
Just off the top of my head, I figure a plan like this will cost $2 billion. Since I don’t actually have $2 billion to spend on this, I’m taking the ITB route and lobbying politicians on Twitter until they take these demands seriously.
— William Needham Finley IV (@WNFIV) February 5, 2016
I’m confident I’ll get what I’ve asked for since Bonner already supports the flooding of Capital Boulevard for economic development.
— Bonner Gaylord (@BonnerGaylord) February 3, 2016
Just think of the job creation. My rough estimates indicate that we’ll pay back the $2 billion in a mere 600 years. Those Tahoe gondolas aren’t going to show up out of nowhere. We’ll create a startup company that allows you to order your Tahoe gondola from any mobile device, that’s right, the Uber of Tahoe gondolas. And I’m sure Mike Tomatosoup will pivot on his Walk Your City idea and create Swim Your City signs.
But most importantly, every great moat begins with a canal. You all know where I’m going with this, so all I have to say at this point is, Mr. Gaylord, build this canal.
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