“Raleigh Council OK’s Pedestrian Plan”

Midtown Raleigh News (N&O), from News Briefs — 1/5/2013

– The Raleigh City Council on Wednesday approved its first-ever pedestrian plan – a blueprint for improving sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing signals and trails.

The plan creates a new priority system for building new sidewalks. The city plans to install nine miles of new sidewalks in the next four years using $4.75 million in bond money.

The plan allows property owners to petition for sidewalks and traffic-calming measures along their streets. But the city council was divided on how many signatures will be required for the city to consider the request.

The council voted 5-3 to require that 75 percent of property owners favor a project, but some said the figure should be lowered to 51 percent.

“It seems like we should not be raising the bar for having a discussion about sidewalks,” Councilman Russ Stephenson said.

Others said that sidewalk proposals can stir up controversy even when 75 percent of neighbors agree.

“We could change that in the future if we see that it’s not working,” said councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin, who voted for the 75 percent threshold.

– Staff writer Colin Campbell