Email to City Council Members (Jeff Essic)

From: Jeff Essic
To: City Council Members
Date: Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 9:54 AM
Subject: Please Vote No to “Street Improvement Petition #1351” at Your Next City Council Meeting

Dear Raleigh City Council Members,

I am Jefferson (Jeff) Essic, and my wife Karen and two children, age 8 and 5, live [on Lorimer Road]…. I am forwarding the contents of a letter regarding the petition for the city to make street improvements along Lorimer Road. My wife and I are in complete agreement with all statements made in this letter and stand in opposition to the plans laid forth in Street Improvement Petition #1351 for our section of Lorimer Road.

In addition to the reasons for opposition given in the letter below, I have some additional reasons that I would like to share. First of all, and perhaps most importantly, what the maps do not adequately show is that from the intersections of Lorimer Road and Garland Road, and from Lorimer Road and Kaplan Drive, there are continuous downhill grades to Bushy Creek which runs under Lorimer Road at the Onslow Road intersection. This grade, which is quite steep in a few places including in front of our house, naturally causes the tendency for drivers to speed as they coast down the hills. Presently, the only thing in my opinion that is causing drivers to apply their brakes and go down the hills more cautiously is the narrowness of the street, the irregular surface condition of the pavement, and the visible shoulder drop-offs for the side ditches. The street width is such that two cars meeting each other generally slow down as they pass, and even more so when meeting a truck or bus. The street also has a number of dips and humps so that travelling above the speed limit of 25mph will make the ride very uncomfortable and increase the risk of losing control. It is my opinion that by widening and smoothing the street, even with the addition of sidewalks, there will be no net gain in safety because traffic will travel much faster, and possibly there will be an increase in traffic volume. Should the street improvements be constructed, it is very likely that the next cause for which you will hear from our neighborhood will be a call for the installation of traffic-calming devices.

It has been suggested that with a wider street, more people will park their cars along the curbs, and thus passing traffic will continue to be cautious and move slowly. I contend that very few of us will decide to start parking along the curbs for two reasons: a) our existing driveways are adequate to hold our cars, and b) I’ve witnessed how fast people “fly” down the hills at night with, I suspect, various levels of alcohol and drug induced impairment (due in large part to the prevalence of college students and young adults who live in rental housing within and near our neighborhood). In the 10 years we have lived here, there have been 4 incidents of cars running off the road during the night, well into our yard, along our hill resulting in the destruction of property–the single driver that was caught was heavily intoxicated.

Secondly, I do not endorse a measure which will undoubtedly result is a significant increase of storm water runoff to Bushy Creek. With the proposed improvements, there will be much more impervious surface and my understanding is that storm water will be forced straight to outlets at Bushy Creek. Presently, there is some opportunity for storm water to be absorbed into the soil and not contribute to downstream flooding. In fact, I have observed during past storm events that while a large amount of water runs off the street shoulder into the side ditches, the quantity of water in the ditches at the lower end near the creek is remarkably small due to dense layers of vegetation and pine straw through which the water now passes.

Finally, I believe the distinctive character of our neighborhood would be negatively impacted by the proposed improvement project. We now have an abundance of trees that provide shade to the street and create a sense of calm and beauty that would be lost with this project. I do not know what financial benefit this project will supposedly bring to my property value, but the loss of the trees along with the wider street and sidewalk will personally reduce my enjoyment and perceived value of the property.

For the reasons I have provided above, and the additional reasons noted in the letter below from our neighbors, I respectfully ask that you refuse for any further action to be taken on the petition for our block of Lorimer Road.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jeff and Karen Essic
Lorimer Road [North]

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