Archive for June, 2007

6/30 – The Week in Review

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

What a busy week with a variety of things that happened. I started off Monday meeting with Senator Janet Cowell. I was particularly interested in her co-chair position on the technology committee, but we discussed a few other items as well. I was appreciative of her time and thought we had a successful meeting. That evening, the officers of the Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch met for a planning session. We’ve got National Night Out coming up in August and we wanted to review other things going on like the yard sale recipe draft, block captain promotion, and housekeeping items.

On Tuesday, I worked on the Trailwood Drive issue. I confirmed speed enforcement efforts with RPD (Captain Mise) and notified the list and blog. Basically, RPD had previously identified Trailwood as a bad area for speeding and the recent speed reduction only helps prove that this is a dangerous stretch of road for motorists exceeding the speed limit.

On Wednesday, I worked on some action items from the Monday meeting of the PRR-Watch officers. I got organizational letterhead, budget, and other items posted in a protected directory on the website. On Thursday evening, I worked on some branding things for the organization that I will reveal to the group later in the month once the officers have had a chance to review it and provide feedback.

All-in-all, a busy week for the community, but some great stuff going on. I saw Trailwood Hills had some good, healthy discussion about some vandalism at the pool and the Trailwood Drive community talking about the new speed limit.

Trailwood Drive – Officially Forty

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Well folks, your asked for it. Now it’s here.

Trailwood Drive 40 MPh Sign

Trailwood Drive is now officially 40 MPH (as of Friday, June 22, 2007)  in the NCDOT controlled portion from Avent Ferry Road to the Raleigh Fire Station (right before Thistledown).  The Trailwood community is very pleased that this safety measure was taken seriously by the City of Raleigh and NCDOT.  This should help deter most speeders in the area.

The best thing you can do to help, is to obey the posted speed limit in this area.  There’s no rush, so just take your time.  You can help better vehicular safety and lead by example.

However, my good neighbors, the statistics are against us.  Raleigh Police Department (RPD) has told me time and time again that most speeding tickets issued occur within 1-2 miles of a residence home.  And RPD has jurisdiction to ticket along Trailwood – so don’t be fooled by this common misnomer.  They can issue speeding citations within 3-miles of the posted City Limits.  Oh and those Gorman Street checkpoints, will also be occurring on Trailwood.  RPD knows about this secret party trail.
Drive safe.  Thanks to all those who made this possibly, the Trailwood neighbors (Tom, Wendell), Councilor Crowder (District D), Rep. Deborah Ross, our good friends at NCDOT (Steve), and Raleigh Transportation (Mike).   It might take an extra 10 seconds to get through Trailwood Drive, but at least were not ending up in a ditch or T-boning someone in their driveway.

Keeping the Sidewalk Safe (Part 2)

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

I had a chance to speak with Jerry, the head Maintenance Engineer at the Oaks of Carolina facility. They are taking the concern seriously and they are glad to be good neighbors. We discussed the upkeep of the undeveloped area behind the Oaks of Carolina. The major concerns that I and other neighbors had are the following:

  • uncut grass, particularly the natural area on the portions between the property and the sidewalk
  • broken glass on the sidewalk
  • trash and other litter accumulating in the area
  • red clay storm water runoff

So the contractors that maintain the grounds are being informed and will add this area to their schedule. We are very lucky to have such a good neighbor at Oaks of Carolina and that they do care about their impact to the neighborhood. Hopefully, by maintaining this area from overgrowth and litter, it will beautify the overall appearance.

Keeping the Sidewalk Safe

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

So as many of my fellow neighborhood walkers may know, the sidewalk on the south portion of Lineberry Drive isn’t well-maintained. The property is owned by UHS-Pruitt who is the corporate owner of the Oaks of Carolina facility The portion along the undeveloped property is overgrown with tall grass & weeds, bleeds red clay from where grass won’t grow and storm water runs over the sidewalk, and seems to always have broken glass covering the area.

This is very unsafe for pedestrians. A few months ago I called the manager of Oaks of Carolina facility, but never got a return call. So I contacted someone I know at UHS-Pruitt from when I was working with them on getting Lineberry Drive paved. I got a very quick response. Today, I got a call from Jerry, the site engineer for Oaks of Carolina. He left me a message, but I plan on talking with him soon to discuss this issue. I hope that we can get the sidewalk cleaned-up, maintained, and sage for pedestrians.

Year-round lawn water conservation – Tips you can use

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

“On May 15, the Raleigh City Council unanimously approved mandatory year-round lawn irrigation water conservation measures for City of Raleigh water customers.” – City of Raleigh website

The new year-round lawn water conservation measures take effect on Monday, July 2, 2007 and will apply to all City of Raleigh water customers (including other municipalities that are connected to the public utilities system). The City of Raleigh operates under Voluntary water restrictions year-round.

Can you still water your lawn? Yeah, but it depends on your house number. And sprinklers and systems used on Monday’s is a no-no. If you live in an odd numbered house, you can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. If you live in an even numbered house, you can water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Hand watering is allowed on any day (but you must be holding the hose).

Additional water saving tips:

  • Understand your lawn/grass needs – most grasses only require 1-inch of water / week to stay healthy
  • Consider planting indigenous grass – fescue (which is common in Raleigh) does not thrive in July & August (fescues are cool season grasses – do a Google search)
  • Don’t mow your grass TOO short
  • Keep your grass maintained and do not over fertilize
  • Water in early morning or evenings, don’t water in the heat of the day
  • Don’t water your driveway (or other impermeable surface)

Are there penalties? You bet! The first time you violate, you’ll get a written notice. A second violation will result in a $50 fine. Watch out now, a third violation will cost you $200. Three strikes and you’re out, because any time after that, the water service will be interrupted (ie cut off).

Here is some additional info from the City:

3rd Annual Downtown Appetite for Art

Monday, June 18th, 2007

For the third year in a row, the Downtown Appetite for Art event will be held. This year, it’s at Exploris Museum from 7-11 pm and it features the Breakfast Club. The food looks excellent with dishes from Mura’s, Sullivan’s, April & George, Hibernian, Firebird’s, and Yancy’s. I’ve never attended this event before, but I heard it’s very well organized and is a great time. It’s for a good cause too, it benefits the Wake County Boys &Girls Club of America. Find out more at http://www.da4a.net/

Uprooted at Sterling

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

So it looks like someone jacked-up a few bushes near Sterling Townhomes over the weekend.  It’s just lovely how the landscape was tore up and left for the weekly clean-up.  Is this a bush-hit-n-run?  At least the utility pole wasn’t involved with this and I hope that no one was seriously injured.

Sterling Bush 1

Sterling Bush 2

Sterling Bush 3

Lordy Lordy, Trailwood will be 40

Friday, June 15th, 2007

There are current plans to have the speed limit reduced from 45 MPH to 40 MPH on the state owned part of Trailwood Drive. Of course we knew this, back in March 2007. The latest is that this should be done within the next two-four weeks.

I found out some interesing information about the process around this. First, to reduce a speed limit in a state controlled area, it must be approved locally, regionally, and then by the statewide traffic engineer. Currently the reduction has been approved by the local and regional offices and it’s waiting for approval at the state level. This approval is about two weeks out and about two more weeks after that before crews are expected to change the signs.

This Saturday, Captain Mise will be attending our monthly DDNA meeting. This area will be brought up as an enforcement issue.

3 Wrecks on Trailwood – Ah, Ah, Ah

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

The last two days have been very busy. Let’s start with the three wrecks that happened on Trailwood Drive on Monday (and I’ll follow-up with some Lineberry Park stuff later this week).

Yeah…so I get this email from the Trailwood Community to find out that there were 3, yes, 1-2-3 wrecks that happened on Trailwood Drive. In one day. Ironically, within three driveways of each other. I believe that no one was seriously hurt. (This time.)  I actually saw the tail end of one around 10 AM on my way into work.
This really irritated me. Now I’m on a mission. And for those of you that know me, you don’t want me on a mission. (Remember when Lineberry Drive was half paved – yeah, that kind of mission.) So I revisit some old emails from my good neighbor Tom Kwak. He presented to City Council back in December 2006 requesting that the speed limit be reduced to 35 MPH. This presentation. The Council was hands down in favor. Now it was time to work the NCDOT magic wand.

So over the course of December 2006 and January 2007, Councilor Crowder worked with Steve Johnson, our NCDOT District Engineer, to increase the safety of this segment of Trailwood and reduce the speed limit. The end result after the NCDOT study was supposed to be the following:  “the speed limit will be 35 mph from Tanager south and 40 mph to the north.”  As far as I know, the speed limit on said mentioned 40 MPH portion was still 45 MPH today (6/13/07). That note came to me on March 11, 2007. Yep, that’s right 3 months ago.

To make a long story short, I wrote very precise and as-short-as-possible email to the entire Raleigh City Council, the City Manager, the CoR Transportation Director (Mike Kennon), NCDOT (Battle Whitley), Rep. Ross, and some contacts at the N&O. So far, Mayor Meeker has responded and I’ve gotten his support. Councilor Crowder is supportive of these efforts and we’ve discussed this over the phone. Councilor Isley has responded and is supportive. Rep. Ross is very concerned with this and I am directing most of the efforts to work with her at the State level since this is the best route to work with NCDOT. Additionally, don’t be surprise if you see something in the N&O Triangle Troubleshooter.

So there are a lot of moving parts to this, but I believe I’ve crafted some decisive goals and success points. The goals are the following:

  • Get the NCDOT to post the promised speed limit (which I believe is supposed to be 40 MPH instead of 45 MPH)
  • Re-evaluate the situation that is in the NCDOT jurisdiction, and
  •  Have concentrated enforcement on this segment over the summer

Please feel free to email me with suggestions or feedback. This is a unique stretch of road in our area and it’s easy and tempting to speed. Guilty as charged. Just take your foot off the gas and you can easily get to 40 MPH down some of these hills. However, I think that all the residents that travel this road should lead by example and travel safely at the posted speed limit. I’ve noticed that the motorist that I hold up behind me, sit at the traffic light just like me. There’s no rush. Live Aloha.

Skate Park Fails SWCAC, 17-5

Monday, June 11th, 2007

I attended the SWCAC (South West Citizens Advisory Council) this evening, June 11, 2007. Officer Upchurch provided an update and statistics on recent crimes in the SWCAC area. Then, Parks and Rec gave us a recap on upcoming events at Carolina Pines, which was mostly summer camp stuff. Then the main housing and environmental inspector for our area said a few words and reminded us that this time of year, their office gets a lot of calls for tall grass. He said the two biggest issues are with grass and abandoned/public nuisance vehicles. So keep your lawn mowed and take care of your vehicles.

The hot topic of the evening was the proposed Skate Park at Carolina Pines. The presenters had a handout and informed us that information available at http://www.raleighnc.gov/parkplan.

I was very interested to hear the concerns from the SWCAC attendees. Which, by the way, the room was fairly packed (with over 30 people). I was trying to get an overall feel for the tone and by some of the under-breath remarks and snickers, I could tell that the majority of the crowd was anti-skate park. This was reflected in the 17-5 vote, 17 not in favor of the skate park, 5 in favor of the skate park.

From what I can gather, the overall sentiment was this…

  • Carolina Pines needs current repairs and those are needed before we add more amenities
  • We are just getting a new dog park, is this too much too fast
  • Where is the park Master Plan for Carolina Pines?
  • There are no connections to Carolina Pines from the existing neighborhoods on the West side of Lake Wheeler
  • What about sidewalks on Lake Wheeler connecting to the park?
  • Traffic impact

Of course, I asked some tough questions that couldn’t be answered. I wanted to know if there had been an economic impact study (for both local economic impact as well as large revenue attracting events to the park) and a projected park use study (what are the predictions on skate park utilization). I also wrote down urban impact and crime impact in my notes, but knew that I would get the same answer; those studies exist, but not for this specific site.

So to provide objective feedback, the presentation was successful. There were legitimate questions and concerns raised. The presenters took the feedback and provided the group with the schedule moving forward.

They seemed to indicate that the Carolina Pines site was preferred for several reasons:

  • proximity to downtown
  • parking
  • good site soil (the other site at Marsh Creek has very rocky land)
  • forested buffer
  • favoritism from the skate community

My personal opinion…I wonder what kind of opportunity Carolina Pines could be losing if the Skate Park goes somewhere else. At the same time, I think that something like a skate park should be placed in a more urban area where there is better access to shopping, dining, and similar amenities. Mixed feelings, but excited that Raleigh is dedicated with budget, plans, etc. to make a skate park a reality in the Capital City.

Lastly, there was a small plug for the requested neighborhood park in the Lineberry Community. Look for more info on this, your support is needed if you want the Lineberry park to happen.