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Carrboro alderwoman says go slow with downtown “slow zone”

February 21, 2014 

A Carrboro alderwoman doesn’t want the town to move too fast on creating a downtown “slow zone.”

The Board of Aldermen is considering ideas to slow traffic and put bicyclists and pedestrians first.

Seth LaJeunesse of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board presented ideas Tuesday night for a defined area where the speed limit would be 20 mph or less. That’s already the limit in most downtown places, but the slow zone concept would alert drivers that pedestrians and bicyclists must be safe sharing the road.

Traffic-calming devices and slow zones can reduce crashes by about 30 percent, LaJeunesse said.

Among the ideas is to create a “woonerf” on East Weaver Street. Woonerf is a Dutch word for a street that gives pedestrians and bicyclists priority over cars and trucks. While motor vehicles could still use the street, they would most likely be slowed down to about 5 mph by traffic-calming devices.

The Dutch get very creative in how they create woonerfs, LaJeunesse said. For example, a large flower planter could be placed in the middle of the street to slow traffic down, he said.

But Alderwoman Jacquie Gist doesn’t want the town to get too creative too quickly. The town should ask downtown business people if they would support those types of strategies.

“They may have a different perspective on it,” Gist said. “It’s really their livelihood and our tax base that’s affected.”

Groups suing school system to air documentary

Some of the groups that recently filed a federal civil rights complaint against the Wake County school system will air a documentary on the school-to-prison pipeline Saturday afternoon.

The 25-minute documentary spotlights the stories of three students who the film charges were pushed out of school and into the juvenile and criminal systems because of harsh and unfair school discipline policies. Organizers of the forum charge that the students’ stories represent an all too familiar experience for thousands of Wake students – particularly African-American students.

Following the screening, event organizers will hold a community dialogue with students, parents and advocates from 2 to 4 p.m. in Finlator Hall at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St., Raleigh.

The event sponsors filed a complaint in January with the U.S. Department of Justice charging that the school system and local law enforcement agencies have engaged in discriminatory school policing. The documentary is produced by Advocates for Children’s Services, which is providing legal representation for the complaint.

Cary wants public input on spending

Cary leaders are asking for suggestions from the public on how they should prioritize spending in next year’s budget.

Residents can share their ideas during a public hearing Thursday evening at town hall. Cary is also collecting input through email and social media.

The town plans to hold more public meetings in May, when staff is expected to draft a budget for the Town Council. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Cary has made it a point since 2006 to involve residents early on in the budget-writing process.

The public hearing on budget will take place during a town council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at town hall, 316 N. Academy St.

Voter community training planned

The Durham People’s Alliance, with a group called “Durham Votes Coalition,” is holding a community training and campaign kickoff Saturday morning.

The “You Can Vote” campaign is intended to educate voters on changes to the state’s voting laws, according to the People’s Alliance. It was organized in response to the state voter ID bill.

State Sen. Mike Woodard will speak at the event, which is a training session for people who want to help inform and register voters.

The kickoff runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main St., Durham. Contact: Garrett Dixon, 919-682-7777,

Compiled by Beth Velliquette, T. Keung Hui, Paul A. Specht and Jim Wise.

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