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UPDATE:

City Councillor Russ Stephenson (the member of the Public Works Committee who expressed most doubts about the Franklin/Person Street project) has agreed to meet with us, the project supporters, on Tuesday next week.

Nicole Kennedy of Nicole's Studio, 715 Person Street, has most generously offered to host this gathering. So please make a note:

Tuesday, April 17, 6:15 PM

Nicole's Studio

The meeting is intended as a non-confrontational, non-debating opportunity for Russ to meet quietly with neighborhood residents, local leaders and businesses who support the project. No media. No developers. The architect will be there to answer questions. We will also be discussing our strategy for the future.

In Nicole's own words:

"I believe at this point it would really help to gather the neighborhood together here in my gallery and get everyone on the same page and up to speed with some kind of cohesive 'game plan'. Also to re-energize the neighborhood one last time before we all become completely depleted on this project."

Caffe Luna and Rick Conti of Conti's Italian Market have generously offered to provide the wine and refreshments.

At the Public Works Committee meeting, Russ Stephenson expressed doubts concerning the Delway exit which is vital to the project. He is under the (apparently erroneous) impression that Raleigh Fire Dept opposes it. We now have provided updated background info on this subject, following new traffic studies, which you can download at our petition website, www.trianglelocations.com.

If you agree that we need to do everything possible to remove this blight on our neighborhood landscape, please try to be there.

At the very least you will, I promise, enjoy looking at some magnificent paintings.

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  • 4 weeks later...

FYI, the Public Works Committee recommends approval to the council... tomorrow's agenda item:

7. SP-85-06 - Franklin Street Mixed Use Development

The Committee recommends approval of SP-85-06 according to revised plans dated May 3, 2007. Such plans include egress access only onto Delway Street, and a sidewalk easement agreement for tree grates.

The Committee further recommends that Council direct staff to look at ways to improve pedestrian safety in the Person Street area including the possibility of additional on-street parking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a seemingly endless battle. Below is an e-mail from our Mordecai CAC chair:

Following the Public Works Committee recommendation, supported by City Council, to investigate creating more pedestrian-friendly streets in our neighborhoods, many of you have submitted your proposals which include:

Roundabouts; Two-way Streets; Delway Access; Caution Signs; Pedestrian Crossings; Stop lights; Parking on both sides of Person; Reduced traffic lanes on Wake Forest; Textured Crosswalks on Blount.

We've posted your suggestions with some illustrative diagrams on www.trianglelocations.com/summary.htm. The focus is on the arteries passing through residential areas -- Blount, Person, Delway and Wake Forest, which at present are maintained by State Transportation Dept, but which could, and perhaps should, become a city responsibility. Some of the proposals may require a change in policy and significant city investment, and so I am copying this email to our council representative James West and the council members on the Public Works Committee. If you have any comment on these suggestions, or have any new proposals to add, please go the feedback form at http://www.trianglelocations.com/index.html#feedback.

This email list comprises those who earlier expressed support for the Franklin St Plaza, being a cross section of the two CACs involved (Mordecai and North Central), but I will leave future communication to the CACs or the neighborhood groups.

Philip is hoping to organize an informal meeting next week for those interested in helping workout a comprehensive proposal -- so please let me (or Philip at [email protected]) know if you'd like to be involved. We will present proposals at the next Mordecai CAC meeting on June 12 (7:30 PM at Hope Elementary Schooll, 1116 N. Blount), prior to submitting to city and council. All are welcome and we've invited a representative from City Transportation Department to be present.

We are in this new battle partly because -- despite all our efforts -- we have learned that it is a real possibility that the proposed Franklin Street Plaza may not now come to pass. The struggle has left a hesitant and exhausted developer. Possible solutions are: A. to come up with a few million bucks; or B. re-structure streets and traffic to provide more fertile soil for this or any future development -- as well as improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. (I prefer solution B).

Thanks for your past support, and I only regret that the battle continues.

Richard Graham-Yooll

Mordecai CAC co-chair

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Wonder if the city has considered dismantling the whole Person/Blount/Old Wake Forest throughway configuration...was probably put in when this roadway was the US 1 heading north out of downtown. With Capital Blvd., it no longer is really needed, is it? Maybe its time for that area to revert to neighborhood streets, with Person and Blount both two way. The southbound traffic roaring around those sharp bends to get over to Blount Street is certainly not conducive to pedestrian and neighborhood oriented development...Anyone know the history of street development and routing in that area?

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Wonder if the city has considered dismantling the whole Person/Blount/Old Wake Forest throughway configuration...was probably put in when this roadway was the US 1 heading north out of downtown. With Capital Blvd., it no longer is really needed, is it? Maybe its time for that area to revert to neighborhood streets, with Person and Blount both two way. The southbound traffic roaring around those sharp bends to get over to Blount Street is certainly not conducive to pedestrian and neighborhood oriented development...Anyone know the history of street development and routing in that area?

The last thing the city should do is remove connectivity. Slow the traffic in this area by other means, but I would hate to see access to Capital removed.

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I don't think Jeff is meaning that connection to Captial be removed, probably more like make a nice square block around Delway, Blount and Person all with two-way streets and maybe a traffic light at a Wake Forest, Person, Delway "T" and another light maybe at the Blount/Delway "T" with the curving high capacity pavement taken out on north bound Person and the Delway/Blount curve. The Drie map. shows something of this alignment from 1872 with Wake Forest turning into Franklin Street heading west at Person St. Now of course there is a block more of development out to Delway. My understanding is that most of the one-way conversions and tinkering with that sort of stuff happened in the 1950's. Capital was carved out in the 1950's so Wake Forest may have had those two curves added earlier. Eitherway, I have always thought that setup was a detriment to the neighborhood like routing US 64 through Boylan Heights was and the North/South Expressway would have been to Oakwood in the Odell Plan.

Edited by Jones133
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I don't think Jeff is meaning that connection to Captial be removed, probably more like make a nice square block around Delway, Blount and Person all with two-way streets and maybe a traffic light at a Wake Forest, Person, Delway "T" and another light maybe at the Blount/Delway "T" with the curving high capacity pavement taken out on north bound Person and the Delway/Blount curve. The Drie map. shows something of this alignment from 1872 with Wake Forest turning into Franklin Street heading west at Person St. Now of course there is a block more of development out to Delway. My understanding is that most of the one-way conversions and tinkering with that sort of stuff happened in the 1950's. Capital was carved out in the 1950's so Wake Forest may have had those two curves added earlier. Eitherway, I have always thought that setup was a detriment to the neighborhood like routing US 64 through Boylan Heights was and the North/South Expressway would have been to Oakwood in the Odell Plan.

Yes. I misread Jeff's entry.

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Yes. The current high speed curves simply encourage, well, high speed. Largely unnecessary...that is no longer a major commuter route north out of downtown. I suppose some people may use it to cut all the way across the city (Hammond/Person/Wake Forest) as a north south route, but I can't imagine why. Was this routing originally denoted as US 1 or 401 before they built the Beltline?

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From east of downtown, Person/WF Road is an easier way to get to northbound Capital Blvd than going through downtown to McDowell. I often use Blount/Hammond to get to 440 as well. I think that part of Wake Forest Road was US 1 pre-Capital, since there are still remnants of a few "motor lodges" on that stretch of road.

I would prefer the Person/Blount corridor be "re-gridded" at the curve/one-way split. I don't know if making those streets two way could handle existing useage, but if they can, go for it. The only hard part is southbound blount being able to "see" the wake forrest traffic, but they could change the existing yield to a stop near the Peace College baseball field, or make that a signaled intersection.

I hope the developer/owner of Franklin Street Plaza goes ahead with their plans, especially since they see the community's support, etc. Hopefully this process has not soured any chance of redeveloping the NW corner of Person and Franklin, currently home of the parking lot and dollar store.

The North Blount project will hopefully spur further development in the area. I've always wondered why the area has not followed the path of Five Points, but I think the city's parking regulations (parking only on the east side of Person???) have squashed potentially good projects.

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I don't think I'd be in favor of changing the Blount/Person pair to 2-way traffic--or I'd have to see a very convincing argument. With Hargett/Martin (done), South/Lenoir (coming soon), and Jones/Lane (future?), it makes perfect sense, as those roads serve local traffic and carry minimal volumes... contrast that with Blount/Person, which ties into the larger N-S Litchford, Atlantic, Old WF, Hammond, and Timber Drive (in Garner) corridor that was developed in the 80s & 90s. Sure it doesn't carry traffic like Capital, but I think it's still important to move N-S traffic, and the on-street parking on Blount and Person slows traffic down pretty well.

I'm sure I could find the emprical traffic factors in a manual somewhere, but I'd be willing to bet that the incremental traffic calming (motorists driving above the posted speed) benefit achieved from allowing on-street parking is greater than that of only a one-to-two way conversion. I walk in these areas every day, and Blount/Person feels safer to me than McDowell/Dawson thru town.

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I could be wrong here - but, I have the impression that Capital/McDowell/Dawson are the only streets that carry a meaningful amount of traffic through downtown. The Wilmington/Salisbury pair and the Person/Blount pair seem to deliver traffic to and from destinations within downtown.

If the traffic projections support converting Blount/Person to two-way, then I'm all for it; I'm not quite sure how the connections to Hammond and Wake Forest would work in that situation, though. If not, then I'd at least like to see the pair converted to a uniform two-lane configuration with on-street parking on both sides. Completely repaving the streets, rebuilding the curbs, and relaying the sidewalks is in order, too. The crowning on Person is WAY out of control from decades of resurfacing without redoing the roadbed. The sidewalks are in poor shape and too narrow. The curbs and street trees are crowding each other. The utilities could be buried. All-in-all the corridor could use a refresh, though Hillsborough and Peace should both be higher priorities.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update from the Mordecai CAC n their recommendations for the streets adjecnt to or near the project:

Since it is probably not practical to achieve major change in one move, a possible scenario might be to propose our request to the city in three steps, scaled according to cost and ease of implementation.

Step 1.

We ask the city to take immediate action to:

i) Restripe Wake Forest Road to a three-lane road with the center lane for turning, the lane on the far west side converted to a bicycle/pedestrain lane only, and as previously discussed, add a traffic light/pedestrian crossing to the Wake Forest Rd/Frank Street intersection,

ii) Add on street parking to the west side of Person St. between Peace and Franklin Streets in the business district

iii) Install a paved pedestrian crossing on Person Street between Pace and Franklin.

Step 2.

We ask the city to investigate the replacement of traffic light junctions at the WakeForest/Atlantic and Person/Wake Forest intersections with roundabouts and the Delway/Blount intersection with a stop sign/traffic signal on Delway.

Step 3.

We ask the city to investigate and implement the conversion of Blount, Delway, Person, Jones and Lane into two-way streets.

Simultaneously with Steps 1, 2, and 3, we ask the city to study the installation of additional traffic signals, pedestrian friendly crosswalks, on-street parking, and streetscaping, as the Blount Street redevelopment progresses and the area becomes even more residential. We also suggest that street lighting and overhead line consolidation be addressed during this process.

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of course, this will be pooh-poohed by the knuckledraggers on the City Council because of the cost...I think we should try and get a referendum on the ballot in the next election that requires that every dollar spent on new infrastructure in green-fields areas (and thus contributing to sprawl) MUST be matched one-to-one with investment in reinvigorating an existing neighborhood, such as these really thoughtful recommendations from the Mordecai CAC...

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Update from the Mordecai CAC n their recommendations for the streets adjecnt to or near the project:

i) Restripe Wake Forest Road to a three-lane road with the center lane for turning, the lane on the far west side converted to a bicycle/pedestrain lane only, and as previously discussed, add a traffic light/pedestrian crossing to the Wake Forest Rd/Frank Street intersection,

........ We also suggest that street lighting and overhead line consolidation be addressed during this process.

Wow...........asking for the world here !!!!

Myself, I want all the fire hydrants on my street painted like Stormy, the Hurricanes' Hog Mascot, but not sure how I can get that thrown in with the new North Hills East. which is just up the street. I guess I should have asked when they brought the neighbors together. :dontknow:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes, the redevelopmet of this piece of property is a brilliant idea, but not as it's been designed. Just one traffic entrance, and that on a one-way street?! Bad idea. The residents of Franklin Street oppose an entrance on their street because of the traffic, but they're still going to get the traffic of residents and patrons crossing from Blount to Person, and I suspect that many of those drivers will be speeding across in irritation at having to drive all the way around the block, and then trying to catch a green light at Person.

People familiar with the area should be able to envision the potentially more disastrous and dangerous scenario of folks coming south on Wake Forest, avoiding the round-the block nuisance by turning left onto Sasser (no stoplight), right onto Bloodworth, and right onto Franklin, then buzzing through the parking lot on the corner, straight across Person, into the plaza's driveway. Anyone who's experienced the mess on Sasser at Bloodworth and Wake Forest during a Salvation Army soccer game or church service will understand the inevitability of auto accidents and pedestrian injuries. The last thing this spot needs is more traffic! A traffic light on the other hand, that's something to support.

A second entrance to the project, on either Blount or Franklin, is absolutely necessary for the safety of drivers and pedestrians in the area, for the convenience of its residents and guests, and for the feasability of the retail businesses. I don't think anyone wants it to become a new set of empty storefronts. Remember there already exists an entrance on Franklin.

I can't wait to see this site revitalized, but hope that more thought goes into it.

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