A plan to slow drivers on a street near North Hills comes as the neighborhood deals with cut-through traffic while residential and commercial growth continues nearby.
The Raleigh City Council is expected to consider on Tuesday a $430,000 plan that would add sidewalks, curb extensions, medians and mini roundabouts toCurrituck Drive between Lassiter Mill and Tyrrell roads.
While the long-established neighborhood once sat on the outskirts of Raleigh, it’s now part of a booming area, with a new generation of families.
Councilman John Odom said the city has reaped the tax benefits of development in the area. He said the proposed expense is a reasonable one for a neighborhood that’s changed as a result of that growth.
“North Hills has changed in the past 50 years unbelievably, there’s no doubt about that,” Odom said during a meeting of the council’s public works committee.
Odom and Councilman Eugene Weeks voted in favor of the plan in committee, while Councilman Wayne Maiorano voted against it.
Maiorano said the road does need improvements, but he’s not convinced the traffic circles included in the plan are the right approach.
“I think this street needs work to be done,” he said. “But I also appreciate this is a significant cost on one street. We couldn’t possibly invest this amount of money on every street that needs it.”
The plan is part of the city’s traffic-calming program. Before a plan even enters the design phase, 75 percent of residents on the affected part of the street must sign a petition in favor of the idea of traffic-calming measures.
The measures on Currituck Drive are designed to encourage people to drive 30 mph.
Neighbors who have spoken in favor of the plan say they’ve seen accidents when drivers speed down the street. They want the city to take action before someone is hurt.
But other neighbors say they think the city’s plan goes too far and that some traffic-calming measures may be necessary but not along the entire street.
“We’re not against traffic calming. It’s just the absurdity of tearing up the whole street and making it an obstacle course,” said Ed Sinnema, who lives on Currituck.
The city’s traffic-calming program has its critics, whose concerns include that residents who live on side streets don’t participate in the petition process and the lack of an appeal process once a project is initiated.
A series of changes to the program that would address issues such as appeals and removing existing traffic-calming features are under consideration in the public works committee.