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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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

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Public Works Committee Meeting Minutes (9/22/2015)

Excerpts from the meeting appear below –

The Public Works Committee of the City of Raleigh met in regular session on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, Room 201 of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina with the following present:

                        Committee                                                     Staff

Councilor Eugene Weeks, Chairman       Assistant City Manager Tansy Hayward

Councilor John Odom                                   Interim Public Works Director Richard Kelly

Absent and Excused                                     City Attorney Thomas McCormick

Councilor Wayne Maiorano                       Transportation Planner Jason Myers

Civil Engineer Thomas Fiorello

Sr. Transportation Engineer Jed Niffenegger

Transportation Planning Manager Eric Lamb

 

These are summary minutes unless otherwise indicated.

Mr. Weeks called the meeting to order indicating Mr. Maiorano was absent and excused from today’s meeting, and the following items were discussed with actions taken as shown. Continue reading

Public Works Committee Meeting (11/10/2015)

Excerpts from the Public Works Committee Meeting Minutes, November 10, 2015 (emphasis added) –

PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE

The Public Works Committee of the City of Raleigh met in regular session on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, Room 201 of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina with the following present:

Committee
Councilor Eugene Weeks, Chairman
Councilor John Odom
Councilor Wayne Maiorano

Staff
Assistant City Manager Tansy Hayward
Acting Public Works Director Richard Kelly
Deputy City Attorney Ira Botvinick
Engineering Plans Review Manager Kenneth Ritchie
Senior Transportation Engineer Jed Niffenegger

These are summary minutes unless otherwise indicated.

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Item #13-17 – Neighborhood Traffic Management Program – Policy Issues. This item was previously discussed at the Public Works Committee’s October 27, 2015 meeting and held over for further discussion.

Chairman Weeks indicated the Committee received correspondence from 2 Laurel Hills residents and stated and clarified that intent of today’s meeting was to consider changes to the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program to be implemented citywide.

Senior Transportation Engineer Jed Niffenegger summarized the following staff report included in the agenda Committee’s agenda packet:

Background:

For the past several months, we have been internally reviewing the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP). This review consisted of three main components. First, there was an internal review based on lessons learned and problems encountered. Second, a peer review was conducted of the largest US Cities and ones specifically in North Carolina. Lastly, an online survey was done to get feedback from Raleigh residents who are the true “customers” of the program. Continue reading

Public Works Committee Meeting (11/12/2014)

Excerpts from the Public Works Committee Meeting Minutes, November 12, 2014 (emphasis added) –

 

PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE

The Public Works Committee of the City of Raleigh met in regular session on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, Room 201 of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina with the following present:

Committee
Councilor Eugene Weeks, Chairman
Councilor John Odom
Councilor Wayne Maiorano

Staff
Public Works Director Carl Dawson
City Attorney Thomas McCormick
Assistant Public Utilities Director Kenneth Waldroup
Senior Traffic Engineer Jed Niffenegger

These are summary minutes unless otherwise indicated.

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Policy issues were addressed, including “a lengthy discussion…[of] the petition process” –

 

Item #13-17 – Neighborhood Traffic Management Program – Policy Issues. Chairman Weeks indicated during the November 5, 2014 City Council meeting this item was referred to the Public Works Committee for further discussion.

Senior Traffic Engineer Jed Niffenegger gave a brief review of the City’s Traffic Calming program noting the program is citizen-driven, and went on to note speed bumps were the most effective traffic calming device. He stated there is no assessment involved with the program as all improvements take place within the right-of-way. He gave an overview of the pro0posed changes to the program including adding procedures to stop projects and/or remove existing traffic calming devices. He stated staff recommends retaining the 75 percent threshold for removal as well as approving new projects.

Mr. Odom questioned whether any other residents filed petitions for removal or stopping projects with Mr. Niffenegger responding Staff addresses petitions to remove some speed bumps, but not all within a project. He went on to compare the Traffic Calming petition process with the City’s parking petition process. Lengthy discussion took place regarding the petition process as well as how petitions are worded with Public Works Director Carl Dawson pointing out there are citizens who have stated the petition they signed was not why they signed the petition in the first place. Continue reading