Moving Forward on the Downtown Design Projects

The Town of Apex is preparing final design plans for three of the downtown projects identified as top priorities in the Apex Downtown Master Plan & Parking Study. One project is the Salem Streetscape design. Our goal with the Salem Streetscape is to improve the appearance of Salem Street, while creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment.  
 

image of all way stop signRedesigning the Intersection of Salem St. and Chatham St.

Town staff have been working with an engineering consultant and NCDOT staff to explore options for redesigning the intersection of Salem Street and Chatham Street.

NCDOT recommends studying the intersection to see how it would function as an all-way stop (using stop signs on all four corners, rather than a traffic signal). Originally scheduled to begin on June 7th, this study will now begin in early July, and run for approximately 30 days. 

The signal was originally installed in 1967. Back then, Salem Street was the primary route through Apex, before new and improved routes provided other ways to drive through town. Downtown is still a busy spot, but much has changed in Apex for us to take another look.

 

What You Can Expect Beginning in Early July

  • NCDOT will put the existing traffic signals into all-way red flash mode. Stop signs will be added temporarily on the overhead wires for extra visibility.
  • The existing pedestrian crosswalk signals will be covered, since they will not be operating during the test period. Drivers will be expected to follow all-way stop requirements, which includes yielding to any pedestrians that are crossing the intersection. 
  • The test will be performed for about 30 days, giving time for Apex and NCDOT to evaluate operation, as well as giving drivers a chance to experience, and provide feedback, about the potential permanent change.
     

Notes About Traffic

  • At an all-way stop, pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing in the crosswalks on all sides of the intersection. There are no push-buttons or crosswalk signals.
  • An all-way stop is not intended to improve vehicle capacity at the intersection. Just like current conditions with a traffic signal, there may be relatively long queues of vehicles – particularly on Salem Street, especially during peak times.  


What’s Next

Once the test is complete, Apex will give feedback to NCDOT to either:

  1. Endorse a plan for a permanent all-way stop and remove the traffic signal, OR
  2. Request that NCDOT continue to maintain a traffic signal. 

 
If the decision is made to keep a traffic signal, Apex would likely work towards an upgrade of the signal, subject to NCDOT approval. This work would be done in two phases. Phase 1 would convert the existing wood poles on the northeast and northwest corners to metal poles and mast arms. Phase 2 would happen later, and convert the south side of the intersection to metal poles and mast arms. This phase would require a major utility relocation project (subject to funding prioritization).

Your Feedback is Welcome!

After the study begins, we'd like to hear from you about how the intersection is operating.