Project Mischaracterization

According to the City Council Meeting Minutes (September 1, 2015), Chris Johnson with the Public Works Department told City Council Members the following:

“…The sidewalk [will] be where the ditch is located, therefore the impact on the lots [will] not change that much.”

Council Members based their decision to approve the project’s parameters based, in part, on this assessment.

At the 25% Design Meeting, however, a map was presented that revealed the true impact of the project. It shows that, in fact, the setback will be where the ditch is now. The sidewalk, buffer, permanent easements and temporary easements will drastically affect lots on the west side of the road after all. Chris Johnson presided at the meeting.

Lorimer Road w:ditch & arrow.jpg

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Resident Comments—Lorimer Road Project, 25% Design Meeting

Email to Talal Shahbander, Senior Project Engineer from Lorimer Road resident David Simonton in response to a request for resident comments at the 25% Design Meeting for the project—

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February 21, 2017

Dear Mr. Shahbander,

I am writing to request an adjustment to the design of the Lorimer Road Project: specifically, the reduction in the width of the setback, now set at 6 feet. I and most of my neighbors want a smaller “footprint” on our street. As the petitioner herself reported to the Public Works Department in May 2015, “Most All [Residents] Want 5′ Sidewalk and 2′ Setback.”

I believe a 6’ setback and 5’ sidewalk on our little-traveled, out-of-the-way street is excessive and out-of-place. The speed limit on Lorimer Road is 25mph, pedestrian traffic is nearly nonexistent and the vehicular traffic count is well under 1,000 cars a day. By comparison Daisy Street has heavy foot traffic, considerable vehicular traffic and a speed limit of 35mph—yet Engineering recommended a 2.5′ setback there, which the City Council unanimously approved.

A reduced setback on Lorimer will:

1)  save the City and taxpayers money, both in construction and easement acquisition costs,

2)  help preserve and protect the character of our neighborhood,

3)  SAVE TREES, which are integral to the look and feel of our long-established street,

4)  provide a majority of residents the outcome they desire.

I believe this request to be a fair one. As it stands now the project is astonishing in its inequity: residents on the east side of the street stand to lose a fraction of the frontage they now enjoy compared to those living on the west side, where the bulk of the impact will be felt.

A smaller setback will:

5)  reduce the project’s undue inequity,

6)  ease the growing tension between east-side and west-side residents.

I ask, then, that you please go before the City Council and request a reduction in the width of the setback on Lorimer Road.

Council Member Gaylord already recommended a smaller setback, an alternative Jimmy Upchurch said that Public Works was okay with (9/1/15). And Council Member Crowder assured Lorimer residents at a Neighborhood Meeting that she would advocate for us “to assure engineering involved property owners” (10/20/15).

As you wrote to colleagues back in September about the project, “We should be prepared to discuss recommendations of design alternatives with City Council.” I hope—and trust—that a reduced setback will be front and center in that discussion.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

David Simonton

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Kay Crowder: “What you hear from me is what you get. Integrity means something to me.”

raleighpublicrecord.org

Crowder: Everyone Needs to be Heard

By James Borden | June 3, 2016

This is the latest in our ongoing interview series, On The Record. Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Raleigh City Councilor Kay Crowder to talk growth, neighborhood preservation and improving the City’s transit system. 

Kay Crowder

Kay Crowder doesn’t like giving interviews.

So she says. Over lunch at Player’s Retreat last week, where even a tempting, off-menu Fried Green Tomato Sandwich couldn’t deter her from her regular Hawaiian Burger, Crowder was eager to discuss everything from the city’s exponential growth to the importance of honesty and mutual respect in governance.

A Raleigh native who can trace her roots back to its founding families (she is a direct descendant of Isaac Hunter), Crowder considers herself fortunate to have a role in helping to shape the city’s future.

“It’s an exciting time to live in Raleigh, it’s an exciting time to help the government and try and steer in the right direction; sometimes you become overwhelmed with all that’s going on, and you try and compartmentalize all these different things,” Crowder said.

“Then I go home and I think, what a wonderful problem that is for us to have.”

Exacerbating this wonderful problem, Crowder said, are the countless magazine rankings which often list Raleigh as one of the best places in the country to live and do business in.

“This group of publications putting those out, it brings lots of opportunities and struggles,” she said.

“We have to decide what the balance looks like, because we want to protect and preserve the quality of life in the City of Raleigh, but we also want to encourage economic development.”

“It’s a balancing act.”

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An Open Letter to Kay Crowder

September 1, 2016

Dear Council Member Crowder,

Today marks one year since the City Council’s decision to approve the petition for improvements along Lorimer Road in West Raleigh. As you know, that petition called for a 27’ back-to-back road, a 6’ sidewalk and a 6’ setback. You requested at that meeting that Council reduce the width of the sidewalk to 5′, which it did. The setback, however, remains at 6’.

And that’s why I’m writing today, to appeal to you to follow through on the numerous assurances property owners received: that the setback will be reduced as well. I believe this is a fair and reasonable request, given that residents here were repeatedly told that the setback width could be adjusted — told that by the petitioner, by City staff and by you.

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Donna Burford: City Council Presentation (9/1/2015)

This presentation was transcibed from a recording of the City Council meeting of September 1, 2015, evening session:

“…I am Donna Burford and I am here as the petitioner on the Lorimer street project.

“This all started as a simple free sidewalk for the safety my family, my sister’s family and another person that wanted to call for this sake. I don’t live on Lorimer Road but my sister [Sharon Mixon] and Beverly [Thomas] do. This road is very important to us because this is the only access road that allows us to get to our homes on Fairway Ridge. So all things Lorimer really is important.

“The [City Public Works Department], in the process of hearing my sidewalk petition, upgraded it to a street petition because of the non-conformity of the street.

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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.

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