Eastern Wake News

Knightdale does not support proposed transportation changes

The town reaffirmed its committment to a plan created among several transportation agencies last week, while also making it clear to the City of Raleigh there was no interest in adjusting the plan.

Knightdale’s council formally expressed support for its current Unified Development Ordinance, which does not reflect changes Raleigh wants to make to its own Comprehensive Plan.

The City of Raleigh, Knightdale and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization all have complimentary plans to support future transportation efforts.

“I think our current (plan) serves Knightdale better,” Mayor Russell Killen said at last Wednesday’s council meeting. “I think we’re a lot closer to getting this right the way we have it then the way they proposed.”

Eric Lamb, Raleigh’s manager of transportation planning, said the catalyst for the changes were a new study done by CAMPO of the area.

“(That report) developed recommendations to make some realignments in that area,” he said. “We were moving forward with putting those recommendations in our plans and we hoped Knightdale would do the same.”

CAMPO approved the changes and Raleigh is also on board, but with Knightdale’s objection, Lamb said it was likely the changes would not come to fruition.

It’s possible to work out a compromise, he said, but it would still be OK to leave the plan as it is.

“If Knightdale objects, clearly they’re a stakeholder, we probably need to have some conversations to make sure we're making the right decisions,” Lamb said.

“Nobody’s going to force something through at the expense of another jurisdiction.”

Making room for future development

Most of the proposed changes are in Raleigh’s extra-terrestrial jurisdiction; an area not technically within the city limits, but still under Raleigh control.

As drafted, Raleigh’s changes would affect areas near Buffaloe and Old Milburnie roads right outside of Knightdale and ultimately affect an already agreed upon project of extending Skycrest Drive and dealing with roads branching off it.

Right now Skycrest Drive extends only from Raleigh Boulevard to just past North New Hope Road in Raleigh.

Raleigh’s proposed changes would make drivers coming off I-540 onto the future Skycrest Drive drive toward Buffaloe Road instead of Forestville Road. Buffaloe Road, according to traffic projections, could become one of the most congested corridors in the northeastern part of the county, Knightdale planner Jeff Triezenberg said.

Raleigh’s proposed changes would also focus on widening Forestville Road, which already has tight curves and small rights-of-way.

The proposed plan builds out less into certain parcels of land near East Wake Middle School, near Forestville and Old Milburnie roads, because of what Triezenberg identified as “development pressure.”

According to Knightdale’s staff report on the changes, City of Raleigh staff has said development plans may be submitted for land at that intersection.

Lamb said, however, nothing is final until landowners know how the transportation infrastructure will look. The interested parties have told the City of Raleigh they are not opposed to the current, adopted plan that has one road running through the southwest corner and down the east side of the parcel.

“Things can stay as is with no problem ... (but) we do have a responsibility that we have a good, clear street plan in the event development occurs,” he said.

That land is in Raleigh’s extra-terrestrial jurisdiction, meaning Raleigh staff would oversee any development projects there.