The city planning commission voted Tuesday on a street name change, dropping “new” from New Falls of Neuse Road and designating the older branch of the road as “Old Falls of Neuse.”
“In the long term, it makes sense to have the road continuous,” said Mike Gutekunst, the acting geographic information system manager for the city.
The name changes, which must be approved by the City Council, result from the completion of the new bridge across the Neuse River in the fall of 2011 that connected Falls of Neuse Road with New Falls of Neuse Road in the Wakefield development. The four-lane road now changes names at an intersection with the older stretch of Falls of Neuse Road, which crosses the river just below the Falls Dam. Drivers must turn left to continue on Falls of Neuse Road, whereas if they go straight, the road adds “new” to its name.
Gutekunst said the name change would help eliminate confusion among motorists and emergency responders. Businesses and residents would change only the street name of their addresses, not the street number.
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“Any time there are duplicate or close street names, it does pose a problem,” said Barry Furey, director of the Raleigh-Wake County Emergency Communications Center.
Letters were sent to all property owners affected by the name change, Gutekunst said. His staff also hand-delivered letters to the majority of the businesses affected, although when contacted, representatives of several businesses on New Falls of Neuse Road said they had not heard of the proposed name change. Five others contacted did not return phone messages.
Gutekunst said a few businesses had concerns relating to business cards and other items with an address on them. As of Thursday, his office had not received any phone calls about the matter, and he had spoken with businesses only when delivering the letters.
“The overwhelming majority of folks said, ‘This makes sense,’ ” he said.
Beyond the bridge, Falls of Neuse Road extends into northern Wake County. Although the proposed name change means the city controls the name of only the short section of the road between the intersection and the bridge, Gutekunst said he has been working with Wake County on the matter.