Archive for December, 2007

Crosswalks, Crossbars, and Pedestrians, Oh My!

Monday, December 31st, 2007

To end out the 2007, I had a meeting with Raleigh transportation officials to discuss pedestrian thoroughfares in the Lineberry area.  Particularly, around the newly acquired park land at Sierra Drive and Lineberry Drive.

The concept is that we establish the pedestrian thoroughfares sooner rather than later – so that by the time the park arrives, we have well-established and defined pedestrian access points.  I met with Booby Croom, Mike Kennon, and Rebecca Duffy.

We made some good progress and it was a decent start.  We discussed the following items:

  • Cross-bars for sidewalks parallel to Lineberry
  • Stop-bars at major area intersections
  • Completion of Sierra Drive sidewalk (pending utilities being moved)
  • Crosswalks at Lineberry / Sierra and Lineberry / Alder Ridge

The items that Raleigh Transportation said they would look into are as follows:

  • Pedestrian analysis sometime during Spring 2008 to determine if there is need for crosswalks at Lineberry / Sierra and/or Lineberry / Alder Ridge
  • Crossbar at Trailwood Hills Drive and Lineberry Drive
  • Stop bar or stop sign relocation at Lineberry / Alder Ridge

Cookies Delivered to Fire Dept. & RPD

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

I wanted to share this message from Cindy Montalbano at Extra Attic (Trailwood & Tryon)

I made a bunch, about 10 dozen, of cookies last night. I broke my oven in the process and had to finish them up today after the oven was repaired, lol. Only at the holiday does something like that happen. So along with the two folks who brought over cookies we had plenty to go to the Fire Station on Trailwood and to the Police Station off Blue Ridge. They all said THANK YOU and Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Holiday and thank you for letting our local fire and police know they are appreciated.

Happy Holidays.  Thank you Cindy and thank you to all those who contributed.

Christmas Lighting

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

WOW! Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you have to admit there are a lot of lights in one particular yard on Balboa.

The Pleasant Ridge and Ramsgate Community Watch hosted a celebration of lights on Monday, December 10th at this location. About 30 or so of the neighbors attended.

Mr. and Mrs. Poole opened their yard to the neighborhood to show off the lights displayed by their son Scott. Mrs. Poole shared with us that just a couple days before, someone had stolen one of their blow up displays. Scott was being optimistic that someone was just playing a prank, and would bring it back. Despite this, the Poole’s were thrilled to have people over to enjoy the display.

The kids (of all ages) got to walk around the yard and look at all of the displays up close and personal. After checking it all out, you could stop by the refreshment table and have some cookies and hot chocolate. Even though we were having our December “summer” spell, the hot chocolate was enjoyed by many.

It was really great to hear people introducing themselves to others, and sharing where they lived. It felt somewhat like an old fashion block party. There was a true feeling of community.

I really hope we are able to make this a tradition, and add new activities, that bring back this sense of community. We have had a lot of people tell us about the block parties they had in our neighborhood growing up, and I hope this is the start of their return.

DDNA Meeting Saturday 12/15/2007 (@ Royal Bean)

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Attendance
Laurent de Comormond – Cameron Village
R. Bethea – Method / WCAC
Carolyn Sheets – Avent West / WCAC
John G. Reaves, Jr. – Caraleigh / SWCAC
Jason Hibbets – Lineberry Alliance / PRR Watch / SWCAC
Elizabeth Byrd – Avent West / WCAC (Chair)
Phil Poe – Glenwood Brooklyn / Five Points CAC
Bill Padgett
Thomas Crowder – District D

Open Items
~ We talked about delivering cookies to the District 26 police department for the holidays, but no one volunteered.  If someone would like to step up and do this, please contact Elizabeth Byrd or Jason Hibbets.

Notes
We enjoyed a variety of breakfast items that everyone brought.

  • We gave thanks for all the things we accomplished this year
  • Talked about infill concerns around how the city is progressing on the issue and what the end result will be
  • Discussed new development and water conservation issues
  • Hillsborough / Morgan will be a single roundabout without the expresss lane
  • Tree ordinance – talked about the relationship witht he tree canopy and water usage, most recent tree ordinance is very restrictive to home owners with large trees and prevent them from making landscape choices without paying heavy fees.  We need incentives to plant tress and not easy ways to get rid of them.
  • Thomas is Co-Chair of the Budget and Economic Development (BED) committee and is leading an effort for Neighborhood Empowerment
  • Criminal Activity being added to the PROP – RPD is trying to understand where they are included and how things will get reported.  Adding the criminal element to the PROP should be reviewed in February 2008.
  • Talked about Wake County Real Estate Assessment.  Jason told folks to check out a site called Zillow: http://www.zillow.com/
  • Inspections / Zoning breakfast in January

No Parking Means No Parking

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Trailwood Hills Drive & Lineberry Drive have been No Parking zones for quite a while, however, a vicious cycle of violators lead to No Parking Tow-Away Zones this past April. Tickets are still being issued to abusers and motorists now have a safer intersection at Trailwood Drive and Lineberry Drive. The curvy Lineberry Drive has stayed clear of no-parking violators with the exception of a few landscapers and moving vans here and there.

The Trailwood Hills neighborhood got a new look this week, a number of streets in this neighborhood now have limited parking to one-side only. Many residents returning to their homes this week found the No Parking signs posted on Laural Falls Lanes, Appalachian Drive, and Beach Cap Court, and parts of Trailwood Hills Drive (near the intersection of Lineberry Drive). A number of no parking tickets were issued to violators on Saturday morning, December 15, 2007.

The Trailwood Hills HOA requested the changes to increase the safety for the entire neighborhood and Raleigh City Council approved the proposal submitted by various city departments, including an evaluation performed by the Fire Department: “Parking on both sides of the street will prohibit access on these streets by emergency apparatus when meeting other vehicles head on. Parking only on one side may still affect fire ladder company operations. It is advised to prohibit parking at least on one side of this street and preferably both sides of each street as the minimum unobstructed width required in the NC Fire Code is 20 feet.

Spurred by an influx of additional cars in this family neighborhood, some homes boasting 6-8 vehicles flooding the streets others choosing to convert their garages to semi-living space, the HOA has been looking for solutions when residents had trouble getting down their streets in their own vehicles on a daily basis. Over the past four years, the topic has come and gone, a number of meetings were held, and a variety of solutions discussed.  Even after all the meeting and discussions, some neighbors were still surprised this week. “When I got home last night I found a sign saying ‘No Parking’ in front of my house.” one neighbor emailed me.

The City of Raleigh likes street-side parking as it helps with traffic calming, another problem being felt throughout the Lineberry area, but the ability for emergency access far outweighs the need to park in front of ones home.  As neighbors adjust to the new parking rules, some will still find it convenient to park wherever they please.  As I learned through following this issue, the HOA is dedicated to the safety of their neighborhood and has the support of the Raleigh Police Department to enforce the new rules.

Yeah For More Sidewalks

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I wanted to provide an update on several improvements that have been recently completed or are about to begin in the Lineberry area.

1) Lineberry Drive Street Improvements. 
This project included curb, gutter, and sidewalk improvements & road widening between Broad Oaks (near Joanne Drive) and Trailwood Hills (Alder Ridge Lane).  First off, I think the project looks great!  If you haven’t seen it, schedule a walk over there sometime.

There is currently one outstanding item on this project.  With the widening of the road, the new center of the road was “dotted” with white paint to indicate the center with the intention to stripe.  Will this road be re-striped with a new double yellow center line you ask?  Due to the widening, the center of street has shifted and the centerline of the street will be re-marked.   And what about the small portion of white stripping on the North-West side? The white line is scheduled to be removed.  All items are scheduled to be done by the Transportation Department.

2) Lineberry Drive Crosswalk Assessment. 
I have been asking the city about a crosswalk connecting the Alder Ridge Lane sidewalk to the Lineberry Drive Sidewalk (east, think nursing home side) which would require a curb-cut and access ramp.  I got this item on one of the city council daytime agenda’s a few weeks ago and got approval from the city for the curb cut.  We are currently waiting on the Transportation Department to establish a pattern of pedestrian traffic to determine the exact location of the walkway.  We should hopefully see the crosswalk soon.

3) Trailwood Hills Drive Sidewalk.
This project started this week (12/10) and should be completed be Friday.  It is connecting the missing sidewalk between Trailwood Hills and Camden Crossings.  Enjoy not having to duck into the street anymore!

4) Sierra Drive Sidewalk. 
Yes, we will have a complete, connected sidewalk on Sierra Drive from Lake Wheeler Road to Lineberry Drive.  The current target completion is January 2008. The design for sidewalk is complete and the city also has the contractor lined up to do this work.  The city is waiting and waiting and waiting for relocation of the two utility boxes which are in conflict with the proposed sidewalk.  So it’s coming, just not fast enough.

After that project is complete, I’ve requested a crosswalk assessment be made and implemented to connect Sierra Drive and Lineberry Drive.

SWCAC Recap – December 2007

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I attended the December meeting of the South West CAC this evening (12.10).  A few folks showed up (not many) but we had a very good session with new Councilor At-Large, Mary Ann Baldwin. There was some good dialogue, more conversation-like.  Mary Ann spoke of a few things that she would like to accomplish/work on for the next two years including liaison to NC Gov’t, working on Dorothea Dix, transit issues in Raleigh, helping with schools (reducing the planning time required by the city), and of course, water resources and conservation efforts.

A few questions from the crowd about infill issues.  I focused my questions & concerns around some of the things I’m working on:

  1. Creating a pedestrian safe Raleigh – better sidewalk & greenway connectivity, aging sidewalks (replacement), and more multi-purpose paths.  Make it easier for citizens to request crosswalks and stop bars.  Recognizing that our sidewalk/greenway system is a form of transit as Raleigh becomes more urbanized.
  2. Student Housing – looking at all the issues around partying, parking, and other side effects of students living in family neighborhoods.  There is a happy medium, but very few have found it.
  3. Shopping cart blight – this issue plagues the entire city.  Shopping carts from the super markets and big box stores scattered in neighborhoods, parks, and everywhere but the property from which they came from.  I don’t know the solution, but I know on a recent jog this past Sunday I counted for carts in the Avent Ferry / Gorman Street area.

Additional business was conducted, Thomas Crowder (Councilor for District D) joined our meeting as well.  Other items included a Parks & Rec update on upcoming events and classes and some interesting collaboration on adding the criminal element to the PROP.  Mary Belle handed out a letter prepared by SERA (SouthEast Raleigh Assembly) that is making a recommendation to add certain criminal elements to the PROP.  The group offered some great ideas to improve the recommendation including making the proposed voluntary registration system more positive and even having a concept to help landlords remove problem tenants.  I will see if I can discuss the proposal in a future post.

Trailwood Hills get one-sided parking

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Last week, City Council approved the proposal outlined on the Trailwood Hills website regarding restricted parking on certain streets. The latest update has now been posted: http://trailwoodhills.com/parking_update_12102007.php

Residents should note the following streets on the proposal will now have restricted parking: “… no parking zones [shall] be established on the east side of Laurel Falls Lane beginning at Trailwood Hills Drive southward to Alder Ridge Lane. On the east side of Appalachian Drive beginning at Beech Gap Court southward to Alder Ridge Lane. On the west side of Beech Gap Court beginning at Laurel Falls Lane southward 840 feet. On the east side of Trailwood Hills Drive 200 feet south and 125 feet north of Laurel Falls Lane.”

No parking signs should be postedby the end of this week (12/10).

Recycling Used Electronic Items

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

I got this message from Linda Leighton, City of Raleigh Recycling Coordinator. Consider the different recycling options for your used electronic items this holiday season:

With Christmas just around the corner I want to remind everyone that there will be so many new electronic items bought (often the “latest and the greatest”) – many of them will be replacing products that either are still useable, or at least are recyclable! Let’s not let the “old” needlessly end up taking space in Wake County’s landfill!

Examples of electronic items:
TVs, MP3 players, Shredders, DVD players, Cameras, VCRs, Stereo equipment, Radios, Home theater, iPods, Clocks, GPS units, Computers, Cell phones, Laptops, Printers, Copiers, Camcorders, Scanners, Fax machines, Telephones

Many other items with a plug can also be recycled if they are no longer useable! Wake County’s Multi-Materials Facility can accept almost anything with a plug. (Their web site does not yet list all these items, but they will be accepted for recycling.) Remember to think about things like:

Vacuum cleaners, Deep fryers, Crock pots, Toasters, Irons, Curling irons, Blenders, Coffee pots, Electric frying pans, Mixers, Toaster ovens, Food processors

Many times a gift is an upgrade and the old item is perfectly usable. If this is the case, please consider give the old one to someone else to use or donating it to a charitable organization such a Goodwill, Vietnam Vets or the Salvation Army. You may also take it to the City’s Swap Shop. Please remember, to donate it to any of these places, it must be in working condition.

Please feel free to pass this information along to your family, friends and neighbors,
~ Linda Leighton, City of Raleigh Recycling Coordinator

For Computer recycling, see the following information from the City of Raleigh: Local Computer Recycling/ReUse Options

City Council Meeting Announced for Jan 10, 2008

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

From the Raleigh City Clerk’s Office:
Special meeting announcement – Raleigh City Council and Raleigh Planning Commission

There will be a joint meeting of the City Council and Raleigh Planning Commission at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 in the City Council chamber. The meeting is a work session for the comprehensive plan update.