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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Project Impact

Screen shot 2016-05-23 at 2.27.48 PMb w_names.jpg

Pictured here is a portion of the northern section of Lorimer Road.
On this map, the YELLOW dotted lines indicate where Lorimer Road is currently; the PURPLE lines indicate the width of the City’s easement. The solid GREEN lines show where the new, “improved” road will be; the solid RED lines indicate the location of the new curb. The sidewalk (located on one side—the west side—only) is pictured here as an ORANGE band.

Note that the yellow line—the edge of the current road—and the red line—the edge of the new road/where the new curb will be—intersect in front of the Mixon’s property (Sharon Mixon initiated the street & sidewalk project).

The Mixons, in other words, stand to lose … nothing, easement-wise. Those who live across the street, however, stand to lose everything, easement-wise.

How, one might ask — Mixons and Burfords and City of Raleigh officials and staff — is this fair?

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September 9, 2015 Facebook posts

Jane Fenn:  For me the biggest problem with this whole situation is that for you and your neighbors on the east side of Lorimer, the look of the street and the impact on trees you enjoy will change only by 3.5 feet, roughly speaking. For me and all my neighbors on the west side, the look of Lorimer will change by 5 feet (sidewalk) plus 6 feet (setback) plus 3.5 feet. The inequity of this property impact differential is breathtaking.

Shannon Bellezza:  …If the petition is upheld, a sidewalk will be installed and the look and feel of Lorimer Rd. will drastically change.

Currie Mixon:  I disagree that it will drastically change. It will change somewhat, but not drastically.

[—which, given that the drastic change will affect residents on the other side of the road, is easy for Mr. Mixon to say….]

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“Some Streets Do Not Need Sidewalks”

June 18, 2016 (Avent Chat Yahoo Group post) –

Steve Grothmann (Lorimer Road resident):

“Some streets do not need sidewalks, due to very light traffic. Lorimer [Road] north of Kaplan [Drive] is an example, where the road-widening/sidewalk project will encourage faster traffic. I predict that some will call for speed bumps on Lorimer after the widening project. I’m convinced that a simple stop sign at the bottom of the hill would have slowed the little traffic we have and addressed safety concerns. Signs don’t use up the [City] easements in our yards.”

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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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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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Justis Peters – Woodlinks Drive

“Justis Peters, 1315 Lorimer Road, spoke in support of the improvements. He questioned however if it could be amended to add sidewalks down the side of his property on Woodlinks. He stated he owns the majority of the frontage on Woodlinks and if the sidewalk could be extended to make it a complete sidewalk the people along Fairway Ridge would benefit.” —from City Council Meeting Minutes, 9/1/2015 [Note: Donna Burford, the Lorimer Road petitioner, lives on Fairway Ridge Drive; neither Peters nor Burford will be assessed for either project]

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From: Smith, Gail
To: Johnson, Chris ;  Upchurch, Jimmy ;  Eldredge, Leslie
CC: Powell, Donetta
Sent time: 02 Sep, 2015 2:55:15 PM

 

From: Upchurch, Jimmy
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 9:37 AM
To: Smith, Gail; Eldredge, Leslie
Cc: Johnson, Chris; Powell, Donetta
Subject: Lorimer Road Petition Motion To Approve

Gail,

Please clarify Ms. Crowder’s motion in regards to Mr. Justis Peters request last night for us to extend the proposed sidewalk installation on Lorimer around his side yard on Woodlinks to connect to the existing sidewalk that stops at his property line.

This addition, as requested by Mr. Peters, to the proposed improvements included in the petition would only affect Mr. Peters property and being sidewalk installation along his property only, it would be completely at City expense as sidewalk installation is not assessable with this proposed project.

Thanks.

Jimmy Upchurch
Assessment Supervisor
City of Raleigh Public Works Department
Design/Construction Division

 

t_file_at3.jpg
Mr. Peter’s request to add sidewalk along his side yard

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From: Smith, Gail
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 10:38 AM
To: Upchurch, Jimmy; Eldredge, Leslie
Cc: Johnson, Chris; Powell, Donetta
Subject: RE: Lorimer Road Petition Motion To Approve

Her motion was to approve the improvements with the change that sidewalk will be reduced to 5 ft. – Sidewalk from Kaplan to Garland.  In staff this am there was discussion about adding the Peters property.  Tom said that could not occur without going through the entire process again but suggested to Rich that if Mr. Peters was willing to pay for the project that maybe we could enter into a contract to add the improvements to his property to the contract.

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