Town Council members unanimously decided Thursday to begin work on a project that aims to solve traffic back-ups near Trader Joe’s on Kildaire Farm Road.
Town staff and council members have been searching for a solution since September 2014 to fix traffic jams that often block the entrance to the Shoppes of Kildaire shopping center. The center is at the corner of Kildaire Farm Road and Cary Parkway. High Meadow Drive, a two-lane road behind the center, often gets congested.
Drivers hoping to turn left onto Cary Parkway must wait for a green arrow on High Meadow Drive. The line for that light sometimes extends so far down High Meadow Drive that the entrance to Trader Joe’s is blocked.
The approved plan includes adding another turn lane on High Meadow Drive for traffic turning left onto Cary Parkway. There also will be a new left-turn lane on High Meadow Drive for vehicles turning into the shopping center.
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The plan will cost an estimated $125,000, according to a Cary staff report.
“This is a significant improvement from what we have today,” Councilman Don Frantz said. “I’d like to try it out.”
Council members also approved adding a “Do not block the driveway” sign in front of the Trader Joe’s entrance; a sidewalk extending from Hanover Place to Cary Parkway on the opposite side of the shopping center; and a curb improvement on Cary Parkway.
Mayor Pro Tem Jack Smith said the curb has been changed before to accommodate trucks’ inability to make the sharp turn onto Cary Parkway without running off the street.
“Do the best you can to be realistic,” Smith advised staff.
Smith said he has worked with residents in the area, who he said support the plan passed by the council.
“I still think we can do better, but I feel an obligation to represent that perspective,” Smith said.
In other business
▪ The Page Educational Gardens was renamed the Anne B. Kratzer Educational Garden in honor of a woman who has worked to revitalize the garden since the early 1970s. This year is the 20th anniversary of the garden, which grows herbs near the Page-Walker Hotel on the Town Hall campus.
“Thank you for giving me this honor,” Kratzer said. “I am very much humbled by your kindness.”
▪ There won’t be a question-and-answer forum for town elections this year, but candidates will have a chance to record a five-minute statement to be aired on Cary TV.
The North Carolina Center for Voter Education has been the forum’s manager for several years but no longer exists. The council discussed options that could serve as a substitute.
Council members considered not sponsoring a forum at all. Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson pointed out that there are other forums available to candidates, such as social media and news outlets.
But ultimately, they decided to give candidates the opportunity to record their comments before the Oct. 6 election.
There are four seats up for election in Cary, including the mayor’s seat and Gale Adcock’s District D seat, which represents central and western Cary. The Town Council voted to keep the position open after Adcock won a seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.
▪ The council voted to accept a change to the Land Development Ordinance (LDO) that will allow European Performance, a vehicle restoration facility at 523 Old Apex Road, to continue operating. The LDO doesn’t allow for new repair shops in certain areas of the town.
If the council had not changed the regulations, the shop would have needed to move from its location west of downtown. Council members said there is an important distinction between a restoration facility and a typical car repair store. The restoration facility is quieter, and cars are stored inside.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know that the Town of Cary needs to be saying what businesses we should or should not be allowing,” Frantz said.