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.
We assume this is why a petition to flood Raleigh’s Capital Boulevard 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 create a “canal scape” through downtown Raleigh, giving us our “much needed downtown water feature”.
The petition has gained 912 supporters and resulted in 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.”
We completely agree with the idea of a canal through downtown Raleigh. We took it upon ourselves to come up with a rendering of a proposed downtown canal.
The canal will solve many of our city’s problems, while also providing us with endless opportunities. Camp Sea Gull and Seafarer kids will have a place to practice their sailing skills year-round. We’ll finally 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 be silenced. We didn’t have room to add the riverboat casino captained by Bonner Gaylord, but you get the idea.
A plan like this should cost roughly $2 billion. Since we don’t have $2 billion to spend on this, we began lobbying politicians on Twitter to gain support.
.@BonnerGaylord sorry, I know it's late, but can I have $2 billion from the city to make this water feature happen? pic.twitter.com/XsrI1diImB
— William Needham Finley IV(It’s real. I made it up) (@WNFIV) February 5, 2016
As you can see, Raleigh thought leaders are already showing support for the downtown water feature.
@WNFIV @ImJustinMiller it's urban fish farming operation for economic development. That section of Capital Blvd is now gondola-only.
— Bonner Gaylord (@BonnerGaylord) February 3, 2016
Rough estimates indicate that we’ll pay back the $2 billion in less than 600 years, while creating dozens of jobs. We envision a startup company that will allow you to order a Tahoe gondola from any mobile device. We’ve reached out to Mike Tomatosoup about pivoting on his Walk Your City idea. The potential for the downtown canal to leverage synergies that orchestrate on-demand cloud-based experiential innovation is unlimited.
We look forward to meme-ing this vision into reality. Mr. Gaylord, build this canal.
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Can I get a t-shirt with your motto? Whatever happened to the wall? Wait! I can see another crane from my house!
Nobody ITB drives Hybrid Tahoes (pictured)
First off, I am hardly a silly hipster who doesn’t understand the economics of urban planning. The problem with downtown growth is that development is too often spread out to the taxpayers across the geo-political region when the benefits are shared by a small number of people. I have long been a proponent that the cost of downtown Raleigh’s many amenities should be borne by the most frequent users. Raleigh needs to enact a craft beer tax for all the people who think enjoying a fine craft beer on a public walkway that you already paid for is somehow a “right.” Our bike lanes and greenways should be paid for with a yearly bike tax for all those folks who choose–yes, choose–to forego an automobile and now demand the city to provide a lane for safe bicycle travel. And, don’t get me started on the damn dog parks. Those should be billed on a per-use fee. The point is that downtown residents need to start buckin’ up and pay their fair share for Raleigh to be cool. We have, for far too long, expected real estate developers to shoulder the burden for making Raleigh livable every time they add a couple thousand homes to the area. These developers are just doing their job by putting up high-end apartments wherever they can find space and trying to make a living. They shouldn’t have to be further taxed with the financial responsibility of creating a livable downtown! And, just because you seem concerned, the canal will be paid for with mix funding from public/private licenses for various recreational opportunities in the canal including a swim-up bar and restaurant; a water yoga classroom that is held on giant floating lilly pads and a standing wave pool for surfing.
Thought for sure I was going to be the first to call you out for showing a hybrid Tahoe in ITB…I’ll send u a pic of my Z71 with a duck sticker and monster truck tires which u can use in your pic
My friends and I loosely designed the canal back in 2007-2008 as the “ITB Intertubal Canal.” It’s purpose was to provide us a means to get from Cameron Village condos to Bogarts and Blue Martini without driving, walking, or cabbing. The defining feature of our design was the self-contained nature of the canal including large pumps that created a current that would float each canal-user’s personal Intertube along the path of what was essentially a lazy river that circled back to CV after it made its way down GWS and over to Fayetteville St. There would be docks along the way at key locations, such as the Mellow Mushroom, Bog’s, BM, RT, etc. Funding was difficult to obtain at the time but I think we were just 8-9 years ahead of the trend. The hipster petition community wasn’t nearly as developed back then as it is now.
You forgot that the Light+Time tower would no longer blind drivers and be a road hazard as it will be underwater.
Surprised you did not propose changing canal route into a circular pattern next to the Beltline, creating a moat! Then you could fill it with gators, snakes and nutrias. Put in toll bridge to cover cost of the canal build.
You’re missing an obvious opportunity.
Rent one of our city parks to say… Duke Energy, on which they will construct a coal ash pit. Then you conveniently run the canal directly past the coal pit.
Think about it. People expect urban water to be polluted.
I lived in Indianapolis where there is a canal downtown. I believe it’s also where the photo was used to promote that Raleigh needs a canal. I can count on one hand the times I went downtown to walk around / visit the canal….and I lived there for over 20 years. Not sure it’s worth the ROI.
For everyone complaining that I used a hybrid Tahoe as a gondola, I did that on purpose. Hybrids have larger batteries which are needed to power the mini-fridge, premium Bose sound system, and extendable rear dance floor of the Tahoe gondola. You act like I haven’t thought this through.
[…] Raleigh Demands Downtown Canal […]
Like this is gonna happen… we can’t even get a lite rail!!
Second biggest obstacle…convincing the City of Raleigh to relocate its garage complex away from its current location in the Devereaux Meadow lowlands on West St.
@ Justin: “Downtown residents need to start buckin’ up” … uh we pay $400 a square foot. Be poor with your thoughts somewhere else.
@Brian McDonald: the plan may not make it apparent, but the Time and Light Tower will be converted into a navigation buoy.