On July 29, 2006, cars traveled down Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh for the first time in 30 years. The conversion of the former pedestrian mall to a busy thoroughfareRaleigh’s equivalent of Main Streetmarked a turning point in the city’s history.

In the past seven years, City Plaza, the Raleigh Convention Center, Red Hat Amphitheater and CAM have opened downtown; the recent move of global software company Red Hat from N.C. State’s Centennial Campus to a 19-story building on East Davie could launch another chapter in the city’s history as people and well-paying jobs decamp from the suburbs and return to the urban core.

What does downtown Raleigh need? Basic necessities: affordable housing, a grocery, more bike repair shops, and hardware, computer and office supply stores. Let’s not wait 30 years.

304,000 Rides on the R-Line, Raleigh’s free downtown bus, 2012, a 9% increase from 2011

42% Of new businesses in downtown Raleigh that are restaurants and bars

33,939 Volume of pedestrians in the Fayetteville Street District during a two-and-a-half-hour lunch period

1,019 Hours logged vacuuming downtown sidewalks

82,164 Pounds of trash removed from downtown Raleigh sidewalks

Source: Downtown Raleigh Alliance Annual Report 2012