I-540 / S Salem St. Small Area Plan


Apex’s rapid growth is a testament to its attractiveness to residents, retailers, and employers. As the construction of I-540 draws near, development pressure at the South Salem Street interchange area will increase due to the excellent access and availability of undeveloped land.

As a gateway into Apex, this area must convey the small-town character so important to the community while helping achieve objectives for growth, development patterns, and development design. In addition, this area was deemed to be the best location for a regional bus and/or rail transit station if 1 is built in Apex, provided that transit-supportive development occurs here. Encouraging development that supports transit is a way to maintain the option of having regional bus and/or rail transit in Apex in the future.

For this reason, the Apex Comprehensive Plan identifies the interchange area as the location of a future activity center. The plan states that this activity center should feature compact development of mixed retail, office, and residential uses, allowing for preservation of more open land and for multi-modal access to a variety of land use types on foot, by bicycle, car, bus, or eventually by commuter train.

Making Steps

As a step toward making the activity center a reality, the Comprehensive Plan recommended a small area plan that can guide development spurred by the future interchange. Thus, the I-540/South Salem Street Small Area Plan was undertaken. It was developed with input from an Advisory Committee of Apex citizens that clarified the community’s desires and concerns regarding specific issues, including retaining small-town character, pedestrian friendliness, access and mobility, and environmental protection.

An intensive design charrette allowed the consultant team to collaborate with Town staff and officials to develop concept plans for the study area, inviting the community’s feedback at a public workshop and an open house. Representing the community at large, the Advisory Committee participated in the charrette through design sessions and focused meetings. This final plan, a refined and expanded version of the charrette products, will guide the Town of Apex in realizing the vision for the I-540/South Salem Street area.