I would like to bring a little real-world clarity to an issue that has apparently caused a tremendous emotional response. Under this petition, Lorimer Rd would be widened 3.5 feet on either side of the center line. Despite what anyone may tell you or try to imply, that amount of additional surface will not cause any noticeable impact to this section of Bushy Creek. I invite you to take a look at the upstream characteristics of the watershed on the Raleigh Geographical Information System (GIS). http://maps.raleighnc.gov/iMAPS/
Look around the sea of asphalt that is centered around the address 628 Hutton Street. All of this area drains into our creek. Along with hundreds of high-density residences and lots of other streets, the upgradient area is thousands of times larger (with more runoff) than few feet of extra pavement that Raleigh brings in for this road widening.
Currie Mixon – Here is a copy of the map that I produced on Monday that shows the storm water system for the watershed updgradient from Lorimer Rd.
Erin Salmon – Thanks, Currie. I am continuing to research how we can protect Bushy Creek. I am in the process of applying to both the city and the state to volunteer through Adopt a Stream and Stream Watchers. I think it will be a great chance for the neighborhood kids to get to know their stream.
Currie Mixon – I have also been looking (via my desktop) more deeply into the characteristics of our watershed. The NC DOT facility on Beryl seems like a very promising place to begin the process of improving the quality and quantity of water entering Bushy Creek. The DOT has a “Blueprint for Sustainability” document that indicates that they have a concern for storm water…
Currie Mixon – I want to state very clearly and emphatically that I am not for drastically changing the look of Lorimer Rd, and I do not want any trees to be cut that do not have to be cut. I grew up in an location that is incredibly rural, and that is what drew me/us to the neighborhood. Please don’t think that I or my family advocates changing anything other than having a place to walk that is not on the street.
Jane Fenn – For me the biggest problem with this whole situation is that for you and your neighbors on the east side of Lorimer, the look of the street and the impact on trees you enjoy will change only by 3.5 feet, roughly speaking. For me and all my neighbors on the west side, the look of Lorimer will change by 5 feet (sidewalk) plus 6 feet (setback) plus 3.5 feet. The inequity of this property impact differential is breathtaking. I wrote about this inequity to the city council members in mid-August and never had any reply at all. The letter in which I stated this and proposed changing the footprint of the project by moving the street centerline to the east a distance that would impact ALL neighbors’ property to the same extent was not even mentioned at the meeting although I was told that the way to get it brought up if I couldn’t be there was to write. The look and the feel of inequity definitely is a contributing factor in peoples’ desire to see the project changed. The look and feel of Lorimer will change dramatically depending on which side of the street you live on. Please advocate changing the petition — and if that means repealing this one and starting over, so be it — so that all residents can reap comparable benefits and experience comparable property impact consequences. As it stands, the petition DOES change Lorimer much more drastically for some than for others, and that inequity is the key point for me.
Shannon Bellezza – But the petition that was passed specifies that one cannot occur without the other. No alternatives were investigated/proposed. If the petition is upheld, a sidewalk will be installed and the look and feel of Lorimer Rd. will drastically change.
Shannon Bellezza – I heard Erin trying very hard to get you and Sharon on board with the idea of a sidewalk without drastic changes to the neighborhood, but that would require repealing the current petition. Is this something you guys are willing to support?
Currie Mixon – I disagree that it will drastically change. It will change somewhat, but not drastically.
Currie Mixon – That is a very interesting proposition, Shannon Bellezza, and one that Sharon and I have had a lot of conversations about. My feeling is that people who are unhappy with the current petition would be unhappy/unsupportive of any sidewalk approach. I would like to hear, on the record, of what my neighbors do support.
– Stop ahead signs further up on Lorimer
– Resurface the road (this was mentioned as an option earlier, for about 1/5 the cost of the current plan)
Erin Salmon – We should also have the bus stop moved to a safer corner. I heard it used to be at Merwin and Lorimer, which makes so much more sense. There is plenty of space to step out of the road onto a curb, as opposed to the blind curve at Woodlinks and Lorimer. This would also be closer for Sharon with three small kids. I even think there are remnants of a crosswalk there. Have it repainted and put up signage for kids crossing.
Ryan Barnum – The cost of just resurfacing the road is $8.50 per linear front foot. The process is the same as the curb and gutter with sidewalk petition. Stop signs are handled by the traffic calming division and it’s a separate source of funding, but I’m not sure from where yet.
Sharon Moll Mixon – Resurfacing the road does not address any of the watershed issues that your neighbors face.
Shannon Bellezza – Before any alternatives can be considered, however, the current petition must be repealed. Erin is working very hard on that. Any support we can throw her way in this will help.
Currie Mixon – Steve’s approach still ends up with no alternative but to walk on the road (where bikes belong, but people don’t). Believe it or not, I’ve seen quite a few vehicles blow past the stop sign on Chaney at the intersection with Garland, even though it’s quite visible there.
Steve Grothmann – I don’t follow what you mean by “belong.” Anyway, I was out on the street tonight and have been paying closer attention to the amount of traffic in general lately, and I tried, but I really can’t see how anyone can think Lorimer has enough traffic to justify this project (if sidewalks are the primary motivation as you stated.) I ran into a friend who lives on Merwin, walking his dog on Lorimer, who also thought this plan was unnecessary, who said he always walks down Lorimer because it’s pretty and “because there is no traffic.” !!
Ms. Kay Crowder — this passed but clearly there’s serious discord about many connected issues, including the misunderstanding of some who signed the petition. We need to start with something less invasive (and expensive) — signs seem like a logical start.
Shannon Bellezza – I’ve lived in this end of the neighborhood for 10 years. During that time, the traffic/walkability on Lorimer has not changed. A sidewalk is not a solution to a new problem. I have to wonder why, then, if you knew a sidewalk was so important to you, you didn’t consider that when purchasing a house. It seems unfair to ask your neighbors to retrofit their neighborhood to suit your own personal need that could have been addressed otherwise. I guarantee that you guys weren’t the first people to think of a sidewalk, either, but likely the first to take action because others probably thought “I would never ask that of my neighbors” or “I’m glad this neighborhood does not have a sidewalk.” You may counter with, “well then why did the majority of the people on the street sign the petition?” to which I would answer that people did not know what they were signing because they were not given all of the information necessary to make an informed decision/correct information. I’m not laying blame for the distribution of misinformation because I cannot tell from where it originated and I don’t think anyone was trying to be deceptive. The problem is, now we all know that the information was incorrect and that there could have been alternatives proposed, but you guys are still pushing for this. Choose two: A house on this end of Lorimer Rd.; a sidewalk on this end of Lorimer Rd.; neighbors that feel like a united community free of contention.
Currie Mixon – Shannon, I don’t know how much of the neighborhood may be feeling regret that they signed the petition. It would be utter speculation for me to try to speak for anyone else. My feeling is, though, that much of the vocal opposition here is simply the vocal minority. I could caution that no one can presume to speak for the entire neighborhood.
Currie Mixon – I would reiterate that I’ve not heard any of the vocal opponents of the petition put forth another sidewalk option that they would actually petition for.
Erin Salmon – I will. I know you said that the gradient on the asphalt sidewalk may be a sticking point, but why not try for it? I have said to many people, and I will continue to tell more that I am willing to be the petitioner for any future petitions that we want to put forth.
Barbara Scott – Thanks for that map, Currie. It’s helpful to see the big picture, which also includes all the contaminants that are going downstream to the Neuse River and ultimately people’s drinking water. Yes, this .6 mile segment of paving is small compared to the huge amount of runoff being created in our city. My point is that our public officials need to be aware of this fact: imposing these outdated and environmentally unfriendly solutions on every petition for a sidewalk in an older neighborhood is neither wise nor beneficial.
Currie Mixon – My final word on this is that I’ve only heard of one set of property owners who signed the petition that has expressed regrets. I could conjecture that if anyone else felt pressure to sign a petition that results in them spending thousands of dollars, they would also feel pressure when a vocal opponent then comes by and tells them that the neighborhood will be fire-bombed by this project.
Shannon Bellezza – But the vocal minority is the majority on your block. Why wasn’t the petition redrawn to exempt the 1200 block?
Sharon Moll Mixon – Why wasn’t the petition withdrawn to exempt the 1200 block of Lorimer Road? Because no one asked us to do that. I never received one phone call, text message, or knock on my door. The only correspondence that Donna got was from Jan that CC’d her on a letter. I was taking her concerns to heart by asking the City Council to consider putting the sidewalk on the east side instead of the west side.
Sharon Moll Mixon – We had the petition in hand until the deadline that it needed to be submitted. Even after we submitted it there may have been a chance of talking to Kay Crowder with whatever compromise the 1200 block would come up with. Standing in front of the City Council as a United neighborhood would have gone a lot further in my opinion.
Ryan Barnum – Again, I never wanted a sidewalk, and certainly not on our side of the street where we will end up having people walking 15 feet away from our living room walls of glass. I enjoy my privacy and don’t want to lose that. This project will certainly impede on my right to enjoy the privacy of my home. Like I said before, my last minute signature was based on fear of the rate increasing on a project I was told was happening either way. I was misinformed about other aspects of the petition which is ultimately my fault for not reading between the lines. My frontage is three times the size of anybody else on Lorimer and without my signature, that petition wouldn’t have looked so good in front of city council. Yes you still had the numbers to pass it technically, but who knows if it would have with a much lower percentage.
Currie Mixon – I wasn’t exactly involved in the petitioning, but I’m not sure that anyone ever brought up a request to the petitioners to exclude the 1200 block (except at the Council hearing). Again, I’m a second party to this, but I believe this is what Sharon referred to in her statement about lack of communication. Sorry, Sharon, I don’t want to speak for you.
Karen Flowers Essic – It would have been hard for the petitioners to have said something sooner about changing the petition b/c they didn’t have the info to know there was enough other people who felt the same way. For example, I could have asked Sharon to exclude the 1200 block, but for all I knew, all of the neighbors on my block signed the petition, you know? Or for all I knew, she didn’t have the numbers for the rest of the street even and the petition wasn’t going to go anywhere. Only Sharon and Donna knew the stats. The process was flawed I guess. It’s not Sharon and Donna’s fault, they had the percentages they needed and pushed it forward. They just had an advantage that those opposed didn’t have.
Currie Mixon – I understand where you are coming from, Ryan. I know you have a lot of frontage and will have a very large “assessment” – 50% larger than anyone else. Ours is a double-lot, but I think even our bill will be relatively small compared to yours.
Barbara Scott – I don’t thing anyone can say with certainty that the “amount of additional (paved) surface will not cause any noticeable impact to this section of Bushy Creek.” That kind of prediction requires specific local stream flow and weather data and the know-how to interpret it. Nor can I predict flooding. I can say that the water moving through a curb-and-gutter system will move faster than that moving through yards, it will contain contaminants from a wider surface area than now exists, and those contaminants won’t be filtered as when runoff moves through the soil.
Erin Salmon – What about the impact to the creek from the construction itself?
Currie Mixon – Barbara, I say that as a professional civil and environmental engineer that models existing storm-water systems and designs modifications to storm-water management systems.
Currie Mixon – By vast amounts, the flow rates in “conveyances” are governed by the areas (and impervious areas) flowing into it. This is, relatively speaking, a very small additional impervious area. The other major component of the peak flows is what is termed the “time of concentration”. Without going into more technical detail, this concentration aspect of the proposed project is also taking into account when I made my general statement that the flow changes to the stream would be unnoticeable.
Barbara Scott – Thank you for clarifying your background, Currie. I am glad to know that you made the statement with the professional competence to do so. That means your suggestion at the city council meeting that a low impact development approach would be preferable carries a lot of weight.
Currie Mixon – Barbara Scott, I will reiterate that I believe it is a much better policy and practice to implement low-impact practices wherever they can fit. Likewise, I am frustrated that LID was quickly dismissed for this project. I am not hopeful that much will ever come from the City Council’s stated position preferring LID, based on this experience.
Barbara Scott – Currie, can you refer me to the city council’s stated position preferring LID? That would be most helpful. I can probably find it with some searching. But if you have access to it, a URL or other info would help.
Barbara Scott – Currie Mixon, please bear with me for two more questions that you can answer because you are a stormwater engineer. I raised the issue of stormwater impact on the creek, and I want to be sure that everyone has the same information from a competent source. Even though the amount of additional surface won’t make a significant impact in our section of Bushy Creek, does the speed at which the water flows through curb and gutter to the creek make an impact?
Barbara Scott – And will the curb and gutter make a significant impact on the amount of runoff going into any one person’s yard? I’m thinking about the yards in the next block toward Kaplan on Lorimer where a heavy stream of water runs through yards in low lying areas. When I look at the watershed map, I see a creek in about that location. This must be a creek that dries up during dry weather and appears during rains. Will curb and gutter have any impact on that stream of water, or is it a permanent part of the area’s surface and underground waters?
Currie Mixon – Barbara Scott, the short answer is that I’m not sure without doing more of a design. My feeling is that the flow coming from the storm drain into the creek would not cause an interruption. Standard practice is to armor the area where it discharges with stone that is sized properly so that it won’t wash away. The torrent coming through this creek during intense rainfall would seem to require larger-sized stone for this armoring.
Currie Mixon – Barbara, I’m not sure where I saw it, since it’s probably been a year, but in searching around for the City’s position on LID, I believe I remember finding a resolution or something of that sort by the Council indicating support for LID methods.
Barbara Scott – Thank you, Currie. This helps. I’ll do some searching for that LID statement.
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Read Section 6-2016!!! There is an asphalt sidewalk option that exists and is easy to find with a simple google search. I need help reading the code, but it sounds like our street might qualify. Why did Kay Crowder and Jimmy Upchurch not let us know this even existed at the April meeting or at the Council meeting? Why is this particular proposal being pushed by Kay so hard??
Erin Salmon – Currie Mixon, when can we talk about this in person?
Sharon Moll Mixon – Is this what that option would look like?
Erin Salmon – I don’t know. I am looking into it and will let you know. Where is this picture taken?
Sharon Moll Mixon – Garland
Erin Salmon – Is it the Ethiopian church?
Erin Salmon – So this model of sidewalk already exists on one of the roads directly off of Lorimer and it was not pointed out at the April meeting?
Shannon Bellezza – I just drove by it. It is concrete, but I think maybe the general layout of it would be similar, although it has a big setback, so I don’t know how setbacks would work. It is a very short stretch of sidewalk, and I wonder if it was put in by the church and not the city (seems most likely).
Erin Salmon – There is actually another option for sidewalk construction on Garland at the corner of Kent by the townhouses. It is a 6 ft sidewalk with no setback.
Currie Mixon – Erin Salmon, in response to your original posted question, I’m going to guess that the City would point to item (3) “There are no existing or projected stormwater deficiencies.” The current condition (eroding) of the ditches at the steeper grades may be pointed to as a deficiency.
Currie Mixon – I’m also not sure about how the broader codes have been modified since 2011 with the introduction of the UDO.
Erin Salmon – Thanks for the input. I will keep looking into it.
Erin Salmon – Do you know what UDO codes I should start with?
Currie Mixon – I’ll have to admit that I’m not that knowledgeable about the codes or their applicability. I’ve taken the City word as to what can be done for a sidewalk petition. Section 8.4.4 describes new streets, but I’m really not sure how that would be applicable here, where we have an existing street?
Erin Salmon – Kay Crowder, thank you for joining the conversation. I ask my question again, why did you push so hard for this particular proposal with only a one foot change, as far as I can tell. What exactly are the dimensions that the council decided upon?