Residents in Knightdale’s Planter’s Walk neighborhood have expressed their opposition to plans to created bike lanes along Lynnwood Road and establish some off-street parking to make it easier to access the greenway that runs through one section of the neighborhood.
Their primary opposition to the proposal seems to be that they don’t want more people in their neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the town board caved in to the protestations of the 30 or so people who attended a recent town council meeting and didn’t consider the fact that there are some 700 homes in the neighborhood.
And in voting to pacify the neighbors who opposed the idea they missed out on an opportunity to provide a valuable asset for all the people in a town of 12,000.
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Knightdale has promoted itself as a destination for young, active families and they have invested in infrastructure to make that a valid claim.
The town is still building its signature park, but already the town has a greenway system and roads wide enough to accommodate bicycle lanes. By casting votes against improved access to the greenway and against providing bike lanes in an area convenient to many residents, the town council makes it more difficult to justify its claim.
It would be easy enough to simply say council members were trying to satisfy the feelings of those who turned out that night to voice their opinions.
But those residents’ primary concern is for themselves and their property. They are not charged with the responsibility of providing for the greater good. The town council is. And the three-member majority that voted against the plan – James Roberson, Mike Chalk and Randy Young – missed the opportunity, with last week’s vote to make an important improvement that would have provided much more benefit for many more people than just those who stood up against the plan.
It is one of the unpleasant duties of an elected official to make unpopular decisions in the face of vociferous opposition. The council abdicated that responsibility in this instance.