A final report detailing projects to improve local roads, sidewalks, greenways and public transportation is in, with several dozen recommendations.
Fuquay-Varina’s congested traffic is a key concern for residents, who in November voted overwhelmingly to approve a bond referendum for $21 million in roadwork that will require a significant property tax increase.
The town’s traffic committee reaffirmed that bond in its final report presented Jan. 4, giving high priority to the three main projects that will be funded by the bond – the completion of Judd Parkway northwest of town and the widening of the Main Street intersections with Judd Parkway and Sunset Lake Road.
The committee consisted of town staff and elected officials along with a half dozen residents who volunteered. The committee originally included then-commissioner Ed Ridpath, but was replaced by Blake Massengill after Ridpath didn’t reclaim his seat on the board.
Their report, which is at bit.ly/1OoZS3D, gave nearly 40 recommendations broken into three categories: streets, public transit and bicycle/pedestrian.
“This is vital information,” Mayor John Byrne said. “While we’ve done a lot of good things – we’ve probably added over three miles of sidewalks in the last few years, and we’ve been bringing people into the downtown areas – these are areas we need to review and bring some attention to.”
The bond covers funding for some of the recommendations, but most are unfunded.
The Main Street/Sunset Lake Road intersection, part of the bond referendum, is mentioned frequently in the committee report and was named as the most pressing issue in town by the nearly 1,400 residents who responded to a survey the committee conducted.
“That shows we’re going the right direction,” said Massengill, the town’s mayor pro tem.
Some of the other near-term traffic goals include:
▪ The intersection on Sunset Lake Road where Bass Lake Road turns into Hilltop Needmore Road.
▪ The three-way intersection of U.S. 401, N.C. 55 and N.C. 42.
▪ A longer turn lane at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School.
Long-term recommendations include a bypass for U.S. 401 and building bridges at railroad crossings so cars won’t have to stop for trains.
Buses in, sidewalks and bike paths out
Regarding public transit, Fuquay-Varina already has an Express Route into downtown Raleigh. The plan suggests adding a stop on that route at Wake Technical Community College, and adding a second Express Route into Cary and RTP. It also suggests more local bus lines, possibly in partnership with Holly Springs.
In December, Wake County leaders unveiled a plan to ask for a countywide bond referendum to fund more bus routes – including some in Fuquay-Varina.
The state plans to fund the current express bus route until August. The committee recommended that the town continue funding it between then and whenever the county funding begins.
As for bicyclists and pedestrians, the recommendations call for fewer sidewalks and bike lanes and more multi-use paths. Multi-use paths are wider versions of sidewalks that cyclists are allowed to ride on and that have enough room for both walkers and bikers. The paths keep bikers off the road.
The plan also calls for a more complete pedestrian network, with the hope that more people will use buses if it’s easier to walk or bike around town.
Although the report was the committee’s final action, local leaders said the topic isn’t going to be forgotten. Town Manager Adam Mitchell said to expect more discussion of transit issues during the town’s annual retreat this weekend in Pinehurst.
“Transit and transportation, I imagine, will be a highly discussed topic,” he said.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran
Read the report at bit.ly/1OoZS3D.