“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.”

.  .  .  .  .  .

City Council Presentation (12/1/2015, Steve Grothmann)

A video of the 12/1/2015 evening session is HERE.

.  .  .  .  .  .

COUNCIL MINUTES

The City Council of the City of Raleigh met in a regular reconvened session at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 in the City Council Chamber, Room 201 of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, with all Council members present:

Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Presiding
Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin
Councilor Corey D. Branch
Councilor David Cox
Councilor Kay C. Crowder
Councilor Bonner Gaylord
Councilor Russ Stephenson
Councilor Dickie Thompson

Mayor McFarlane reconvened the meeting and the following items were discussed with action taken as shown.

. . . . . .

STREET IMPROVEMENTS – LORIMER ROAD – REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION – NO ACTION TAKEN

Steve Grothmann, 1501 Lorimer Road, stated the impetus of these improvements was sidewalk installation. He stated there is very light traffic on Lorimer Road and he feels it would be good if the Council would authorize a study before moving ahead. He stated he would be surprised that there were even 200 cars per day and talked about the City’s policies which talks about improvements only where there are at least 1,000 vehicles per day. He stated the width of the street keeps the traffic slow, talked about the water which goes down to the creek, the fear that paving would create more run off, the fact that they have vegetation on both sides of the street now. He talked about the unique character of the street, property value information, rural character, uniqueness of the area, etc. He stated he is not against sidewalks per say but he does not feel they are needed in this location. He feels the street improvements will create more traffic and requested that their block be removed from the authorized improvements.

Mayor McFarlane stated unless she hears a motion to reconsider, the Council would move on to the next item. There were no motions or requests to reconsider.

 

 

Kay Crowder, District D Representative

But who in District D does she truly represent?
.  .  .  .  .  .
“As the administrator of this [Facebook] page I removed Kay Crowder from this secret group. If you would like to talk to her in person PM me and I will give you her assistant’s number. I was surprised how easy it was to get in touch with her.” —Sharon Moll Mixon, Facebook post, September 10, 2015
.  .  .  .  .  .

“That has not been my experience at all. I have her assistant’s phone number and have spoken to him many times since mid-August. Not once have I ever been allowed to speak to her. I have emailed her — not one reply. I have written a letter — no reply. Every way there is of reaching her goes through the assistant — nothing goes to her directly. I was told recently by the assistant that she would call me. So far, nothing. He did say she might receive a hundred emails a day and did I expect she responded to all? My thought there is what working person does NOT receive many many emails a day, and we all have to respond as part of our jobs. Did she think when she took this office that she could choose to respond only when it was convenient for her or matched her own goals? I have not found her responsive nor helpful. She would know, I would think, that a council member is going to hear from constituents and I would further think she would know that part of her job responsibilities is responding. I do say emphatically that her assistant Nick Sadler is unfailingly courteous and helpful but his job is clearly to shield her and he does it well. If you have been successful at speaking with her, Sharon, I can’t help but wonder if the difference is that you are supporting something she wants and I am advocating changes in something she wants. My correspondence with her has been respectful and has offered positive suggestions, but it does not agree with what she clearly is pushing. I did speak very assertively to the assistant once about not ever being able to reach her directly in my frustration, and still he remained helpful and friendly, but no way was he going to get me through to her directly at all. His job responsibilities are clear and he fulfills them very well. He does his best to answer any question I ask but he is making sure I don’t get through directly to her. I don’t doubt that she has seen what I have sent — I am certain he does that effectively. I personally have not had any reason to think at this point that she is fulfilling her responsibility of being responsive to those she represents — a key art of the job she was elected to do. Please do call the council offices at 919-996-3050 and I sincerely hope each of you has better luck at getting through to her than I have had.” —Jane Fenn, Facebook post, September 10, 2015

.  .  .  .  .  .

“I wrote [Kay Crowder] an email, very objectively conveying some of the concerns of the 1/3 opposed and pointing out the emotional debate on this page, and asking for her input about those concerns. She did respond, but it was very rote and didn’t really say anything more than, ‘the petition passed and the rules were followed.'” —Steve Grothmann, Facebook post, September 13, 2015

Jeff Essic – Facebook Post

Regarding issues on the North end of Lorimer Road:

Jeff Essic (September 3, 2015, Facebook) – The flooding of Hunter and Marina’s driveway will not be improved one bit by the work of Lorimer Rd. Their flood water is coming off Western Blvd, the church lot along Garland, the apartments along Kent and Chaney, etc. Helen Adams’ lot gets flooded just because she lives at the bottom of a hill, and that’s what happens. The curbs and gutters aren’t going to make any difference for her. The water that hits Lorimer’s pavement goes into the ditches and straight to the creek. [I’ve] watched our ditches after hard rains and…most of the water on our side, when it gets to Helen’s ditch, seeps into the ground due to the thick pine straw. If Helen thinks this water is causing her flooding, then the first step would be to clean out that ditch. Of course once everything is curb and gutter, it is going to be piped straight to the creek with no chance of infiltrating into the soil, and will cause an increase of flooding for everyone downstream. For some reason this increase of impervious surface doesn’t seem to bother our City Council, even though we get assessed a stormwater fee each month for all the impervious surface on our property, including our gravel driveway.

Also since I’ve brought up Garland St. – did everyone catch Mrs. Crowder say that she is talking with a developer about doing some construction on Garland? I suspect she is referring to the lot across from the church. This property will likely be for sale soon and is a prime location for high-density development. I think this is a key to why she pushed through the whole issue, including sidewalks on the north end despite a majority of opposition. As Steve [Grothmann] has already said, the aesthetic of the surrounding neighborhood will become a selling point. Sidewalks along Garland and Chaney will be next. Developers are going to continue to put multi-family housing along the Kent corridor to replace the aging single-family houses every chance they get – just like the new townhouses on Method near the NCSU greenhouses. This is not bad, but I’m just saying that it is going to greatly increase the stormwater runoff to Hunter and Marina’s driveway and the sidewalk issue is a small step and part of Crowder and council’s larger plan to bring increased density in our neck of the woods.

As for me, I am going to be very sorry to see many of the trees that line and shade our streets cut away for a wider street and sidewalks. Every time I turn off Western and go down Garland and onto Lorimer, it is so nice to again be amongst the trees where things are calm and peaceful. I’m consoling myself by realizing that the trees actually do need major trimming cutting back, and ones behind them will fill in, but it’s not going to be nearly as pretty for a while. But I have no doubt that traffic speeds are going to increase (after all, the visible thread of landing in a deep ditch if you run off the road are no more) and probably traffic volumes. Also, have you thought about the increase in solicitations from salesmen due to improved walkability?

Comments:

– Steve Grothmann (9/3/15, 2:45 pm, Facebook) – I wondered about how this plan would actually affect drainage issues. I don’t know enough about people’s individual yards to guess, but it’s clear that piping away runoff directly is the worst thing for the environment and the creek and wherever the water ends up.

Is it really true that there is no other course than this plan for people with drainage problems? I sympathize with them. Maybe there are other public means to address the drainage, maybe private, that aren’t bundled with sidewalks?

Our street really has a rustic, natural, country character, in the middle of town, which is a big part of why I love it. Would hate to lose one bit of that.

– Erin Salmon (9/3/15, 5:24 pm, Facebook) – I am not positive about the property that Kay was referring to, but I am looking into it. Unfortunately, it may be 4324 Garland Road, which was sold in March. If it is true, that means a developer now owns that property rather than a family. This is between Lorimer Road and Onslow Road, NOT between Chaney and Kent. I will keep you all posted.

– Sharon Moll Mixon (9/4/15, 12:35 am, Facebook) – I am guessing Kay is talking about the house for sale on the corner of Kent and Garland.

 

Steve Grothmann – Facebook Posts

– Steve Grothmann (9/13/15, Facebook) – I wrote [Kay Crowder] an email, very objectively conveying some of the concerns of the 1/3 opposed and pointing out the emotional debate on this page, and asking for her input about those concerns. She did respond, but it was very rote and didn’t really say anything more than, “the petition passed and the rules were followed.”
.  .  .  .  .  .

“Sidewalk Petition Prioritization Ranking Criteria”

Prioritization criteria.jpg

– Erin Salmon (11/2/2015, Facebook) – I did find the traffic study that was done on Lorimer in 2014 for the current project (even though we were told at the last meeting that there was not one), and I can provide the numbers from that to fill in some of the numbers in question. This document could be helpful in presenting a case to the City Council which asks them to reconsider the application of the UDO standard in our neighborhood. A neighborhood whose streets and house placements were designed long before the current standards.

– Steve Grothmann (11/2/2015, Facebook) – We have far less than 1000 cars/day. I counted only about 12-13/hr Fri evening when Western was at peak traffic. Another evening it was as low as 8 in 90 minutes. During the day it is very sparse. I’d guess we’re under 200/day, at least by my house.

INDY Article (1/27/2016) & Comments

January 27, 2016 (INDY Week)

A divisive street-improvement plan raises questions about Raleigh’s citizen-petition process

By Jane Porter

Ryan Barnum lives at 1300 Lorimer Road, a shady, narrow street in west Raleigh. When he bought his 1950s house last April for $284,000, he’d never heard of an in-the-works proposal to install a 6-foot sidewalk on a stretch of that street, along with curbs, gutters and storm drains.

Soon after he closed, a woman named Donna Burford contacted him. A few months earlier, Burford—who lives on an adjacent street—had started gathering signatures on a citizen petition for the street improvements, lobbying neighbors up and down Lorimer to gain the 50-percent-plus-one support the city requires to validate such petitions. Barnum says Burford pitched the sidewalk improvements as a way to fix flooding issues.

“I was very reluctant to sign the petition,” Barnum says. He had good reason: The 14 property owners on the northern side of Lorimer would be assessed a total of $53,600 for the improvements; city taxpayers and property owners on the southern end of Lorimer will pick up the remaining $1.7 million. Because Barnum has the most property fronting the street, he’ll be charged more than $10,000. Later, he says, he learned that he could have started his own citizen petition to have the city merely repave the road and install stop signs for a fraction of the cost. Continue reading