Here are some “Lorimer Rd Raleigh” Facebook posts from 9/2/2015, a day after the evening City Council Meeting where the Lorimer Road Project was approved—with a one-foot reduction in the width of the sidewalk:
I regret that I was unable to make it to the meeting last night. I live at 1300 Lorimer Rd. Up until this summer started, I walked Lorimer Rd multiple times a day, every day, with my dog. I never felt unsafe. I understand mothers with children may not feel as comfortable in the road, but again, I never had any issues. My road frontage is three times the size of any other property on the petition, and so is the bill. I half heartedly signed the petition after speaking many times with Donetta, the woman in the office handling this initially. She told me that this thing is pretty much happening either way and it’s best to just sign the petition now to put it through before the rates go up and it’s even worse. She made sure to tell me that the designers and engineers try to work closely with the homeowners to be as minimally invasive as possible. I also spoke with Donna at length, and several other neighbors including Beverly, whose yard floods every time there’s rain, which is the main motive for the curb and gutter. Everybody I spoke to about it assured me they would push for the two foot setback with a five foot sidewalk, AND a narrower road of 27 feet. Donetta told me that with the 27’ road and the smaller setback, essentially the ditch would be where the sidewalk is and the road would push slightly more towards the east side, which to me wouldn’t be the end of the world as long as they didn’t cut anything down. I am 100% opposed to a 32 foot road and sidewalk. My property was established over 50 years ago by the Sawyers that planted many trees and bushes around the property. Each one serves a specific purpose. Most importantly for me, the privacy they give to my house and yard is something that I am unwilling to give up. As it is, my living room isn’t very far from the road. If we have a 32 foot road, even with the smaller sidewalk footprint, people will be walking about 15 feet away from my large windows. I also value the aesthetic of my property far more than any curb and gutter. My house is at the lowest possible point on the road and aside from one time during the worst hurricane to ever hit NC, it flooded a little bit. Flooding does not concern me. If this is still trying to be pushed through with a 32’ road I am going to write to the city council and everybody else that has a say in this to respectfully remove my name from the petition. This isn’t what I signed up for and I have no interest in shelling out over $10,000 for a project that is going to take away my privacy, ruin the aesthetic of my home, and put me into debt.
One last thought, when they install a new road and a sidewalk, this is only going to increase the traffic coming through the neighborhood. Cars will go faster on the bigger road. It will make for an even more welcoming cut through for people walking that don’t live in the neighborhood. Like several others on the street, my house was robbed last summer. I do not want to encourage more people looking in to see what they can get when they’re walking so close to my house.
Donna Burford and Kay Crowder, I cannot help but wonder why you do not have sidewalks on your streets. I don’t understand why a sidewalk on my street is essential to you when you don’t have them yourselves. I further do not understand why a letter I wrote to all city council members weeks ago has generated no response at all from any council rep, especially not the one one representing my own neighborhood. Two issues here — what has been a congenial and pleasant street in our neighborhood has had divisive forces introduced to it, and our neighborhood representative seems to be ignoring her constituents. While I am certainly prepared for civility and disagreement over any public issue, I question that others choose not to have happen to themselves what they want to see happen to me, and that I am not even accorded a written response to a legitimate constituent letter.
Donna Moll Burford – I know for a fact that your letter was read by at least one of the city council, the public works and was shared with the rest of the city council. I asked that they do a sidewalk with the least amount of impact to the neighbors and Sharon asked them to put it on her side. They brought up your letter at the meeting but the discussion of the exact specifications could not be addressed because the time was consumed with the request to not include the north part of Lorimer at all.
You may not have been at the meeting in our neighborhood about street improvements for Lorimer Road when Kay Crowder told us she had tried to get her neighbors to sign a petition requesting that the city install a sidewalk on her street. She did not succeed, so her lack of sidewalk is not for lack of trying. Donna’s Street, Fairway Ridge, is not a thru street and does not pose the hazards for residents that exist on Lorimer.
Jane Fenn – I specifically asked for changes in that petition before it was submitted and was told that in essence even Donna was not in favor of it exactly as it was, but that there would be time and opportunity for modifying it once the approval numbers were achieved. Communication clearly has not been a help in this process because it was tried. I also played my citizen’s part in writing directly to the council members, especially to the one representing my neighborhood, and have heard not one word. The communication has all been one way despite my efforts and those of others in the neighborhood. This petition process took on a life of its own and now we all must face the consequences, some of us with much more severe consequences than others. That remains the crux of the problem — something was put in motion that impacts half the street property owners unfairly while the other half do not experience the same level of impact on their property. There is no way to sugarcoat that. And it is a factual error to claim people did not communicate their reservations because they did. You and Donna started something for what seemed like good reasons to you at the time and now all of us must deal with the unforeseen results.
Sharon Moll Mixon – Last night’s meeting was to work on those modifications and changes we would like to have made to it. Donna proposed making the setback and sidewalk as small as possible for the smallest possible footprint. (No 6ft and 6ft) It was also proposed by a lawyer to go ahead with some of the petition but drop part of it off. I would be upset also that your letter was not read out loud at this meeting. If I were you I would expect a response from what you submitted also.
I can’t help but suspect that this push for sidewalks is more than a safety concern, but a desire for the street to look more manicured and live up to a certain aesthetic ideal that is not universal. I’m repeating my previous post.
BUT- cost is a huge factor. For us, more than $5000. You can’t just ask people to swallow that kind of expense out of the blue. We need to show up at whatever meetings there are and publicly oppose this. Like there’s time to do all that.