Earlier Concerns Re: Bushy Branch Creek

from City of Raleigh PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE Meeting Minutes (9/10/2003) —

Item #01-81 – Bushy Branch – stormwater – This item was referred to Committee from the August 5, 2003 Council meeting to look at stormwater problems in the area of Chaney Road, Garland Road and Onslow Road.

Stormwater Engineer Senior explained there were several storm events in August in the western part of the City and staff has come up with nine concerns that need to be addressed.  Mr. Senior presented the nine concerns followed by staff recommendations as follows: Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Email to City Council Members (Barbara Scott)

September 1, 2015
As a 26-year resident of Chaney Road within a block of part of the proposed street improvements under Petition 1351, I wish to voice my opposition to the proposed changes to our neighborhood.
I bought my house on Chaney Road in 1989 because of the neighborhood’s appeal. Despite it’s location within a half mile of what was then called “the Beltline,” now I-440, the Lorimer and Chaney Road blocks just off Western Boulevard had a rural appeal with narrow tree-lined streets unobstructed by sidewalks or curbs. I’ve enjoyed safely walking, biking, and jogging in the area for the past 26 years.
As the quality of life in Raleigh has changed with major population growth, our neighborhood has somehow managed to keep its appeal. Everyone who visits my home remarks on the arch of trees over our narrow streets and the sense that they have stepped into a quiet safe haven from the litter, speeding cars, and crowded streets that have begun to mark our city.
All of that will change for those who live on Lorimer Road, roughly half of what I call my neighborhood, if Petition 1351 is approved. The area covered by the petition leaves out an entire block of Lorimer–the first block that dead-ends on Western Boulevard. What’s the reasoning behind starting improvements at Garland Drive? This starting point seems to be arbitrary when the petitioner lives in a neighborhood two blocks farther down off Lorimer Road and southwest of the Onslow Road intersection.
That first block off Garland is the Lorimer Road beginning of what I call the “safe haven” feeling of our neighborhood. I hope you will consider the impact of a wider road, fewer trees, and narrower setbacks for homes when you consider this petition. Raleigh doesn’t feel like it used to feel. The expanded streetscapes might be necessary for safe passage through some busy areas. Some wide streets, however, feel littered, noisy, hot, and unsafe because of speeding cars, removed tree cover, and an urbanized feel, including the parking of so many cars on the street that navigating one’s vehicle is difficult.
Thank you for considering my opinion.
Barbara Scott
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Lorimer Road, from Kaplan Drive to Garland Drive (Google Street View)

“THE ROAD IS FALLING APART UNDER US!!!!!!!”Donna Burford, Petitioner (9/3/2015)

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Lorimer Road, heading north. Slides generated by the City of Raleigh from Google Street Views (side street names added) –

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— “…I deserve a road to get to my property that is not falling apart…” —Donna Burford, Fairway Ridge Drive resident (Facebook post)

— “I have heard people say ‘the person that started the petition does not even live on the street’ not sure why that matters. Anyone can start a petition for anything it is the majority of signatures as to whether or not it passes. Donna put hours and hours of blood sweat and tears into this for me and my family on my request… Not to mention she is forced to travel Lorimer road to get to her house.” —Donna’s sister, Sharon Mixon, Lorimer Road (Facebook post)

—“I’m very familiar with the street… There are lots of issues about the street…it has very deep swales and there’s no room to walk along either of them, because they’re so deep.”Kay Crowder, District D Representative (9/1/2015)

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The 1200 Block of Lorimer Rd (North)

 

n-lorimer-II.jpg

On December 1, 2015, a second citizen’s petition was submitted to the Raleigh City Council requesting that the 1200 block of Lorimer Road (above) be removed from the original petition/project.

This petition read:

We, the undersigned property owners of the 1200 block of Lorimer Road, petition the City of Raleigh to remove our block from Resolution (2015) 141, as our block was included in a Property Owner Initiative Petition begun in May 2014 for road construction without our knowledge and without our consent by someone who is not a property owner. We request the opportunity to educate ourselves and learn more about improvement options included in the City of Raleigh Street and Sidewalk Improvement Policy [PDF] as well as the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, so that we may submit our own petition which more accurately reflects the true will of the property owners.

The petition was signed by 10 of the 14 property owners who live on this block. And yet, despite a request by 71% of residents, City Council members rejected the request although the petition document itself states that parts of streets (as opposed to whole streets, as the original petition called for) can be improved:

 

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from Facebook:

Shannon BellezzaBut the vocal minority is the majority on your block. Why wasn’t the petition redrawn to exempt the 1200 block?

Like · 1 · September 9, 2015 at 3:30pm · Edited

 

Sharon Moll MixonWhy 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.

Like · September 10, 2015 at 2:44am

 

Sharon Moll MixonWe 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.

Like · September 10, 2015 at 2:52am

When 1200-block residents did ask, formally, by submitting their own petition to the City Council, the request was rejected.
** In fact, the petition was turned in to the Public Works Department on May 4, 2015, two weeks before it was due.
*** When Kay Crowder was asked directly by a resident at an October 2015 Neighborhood Meeting, “Why didn’t the Council consider splitting out the north end of Lorimer from the petition?” Mrs. Crowder’s (non-)answer was: “The City wants to do whole streets, whole sections at once. Microgaps, where sidewalks stop in the middle of the block, are only trouble to fix later. The City is trying to fix existing ones, and not create any more.” —A microgap is “a missing section of sidewalk anywhere from 25 feet to 300 feet long and often involves a single property owner not wanting a sidewalk crossing in front of his or her property.”

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Council Member Kay Crowder’s Statement (9/1/2015)

Following is the transcript of Kay Crowder‘s statement at the 9/1/2015 City Council Meeting at which Petition #1351 was unanimously approved. She made this staement after the close of the Open Hearing:

“Mayor, this is in my neighborhood, so I’m very familiar with the street.

“There are lots of issues about the street. Water is just one aspect of it. But the bigger part of the street is that it has very deep swales and there’s no room to walk along either of them, because they’re so deep.

“We have a school in our neighborhood, and most of the kids walk to school. It would be a nice thing to have—and, I believe, safer—for those kids to be able to move toward school walking than is currently available to them.

“I know it’s hard to get everybody’s consensus to be the same. I understand that. But it is also equally important to try to do what’s best for the community.

“Though we don’t have sidewalks on Garland (or all of Garland) yet, I do think in the future that will happen as development happens on that street. I recently had a discussion with someone who’s trying to buy property on that street to build homes, and, under the code, he would have to put sidewalks in.

“So the goal is to make sure that kids can get to school, and that the neighborhood is connected by sidewalks so that it gets you to the four parks that are in our neighborhood.

“So I would like to make a motion that we approve, with the condition that we reduce it to a 5′ sidewalk as opposed to 6′.”

Email to City Council Members from David Simonton & Carolyn Parker (8/26/2015)

August 26, 2015

Dear City Council Members,

Re: Opposition to Street Improvement Petition #1351 – Lorimer Road

We are Carolyn Parker and David Simonton. We are 22-year residents of 1218 Lorimer Road, located in West Raleigh in the long-established Kentwood neighborhood.  Our contact information is at the bottom of this letter and we invite you to call one or both of us directly with any questions, or if you need any additional information in your consideration of the above referenced Street Improvement Petition.

In advance of City Council’s consideration of this petition, we are writing to ask that our block of Lorimer Road, from Onslow Road to Garland Drive, be removed from the petition altogether. We and the majority of our neighbors on this block oppose Street Improvement Petition #1351 in its current form. We neither want nor need the proposed road and sidewalk changes—and we certainly don’t want to be made to pay for them, either as property owners or as taxpayers.

Below, we outline four main reasons we oppose that portion of Petition #1351 which proposes road and sidewalk improvements along the northern end of Lorimer Road between Onslow Road and Garland Drive.

Continue reading