North Raleigh News

Raleigh neighbors divided on plan to slow traffic

Residents are divided over whether to support a city plan to deter speeding on Currituck Drive, a popular cut-through near North Hills.

The $430,000 proposal would add sidewalks, curb extensions, medians and mini-roundabouts to Currituck between Lassiter Mill and Tyrrell roads, in a well-established neighborhood.

At a public hearing of the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday, many of those who supported the plan were newer residents of the neighborhood with young children, while residents who have been there for decades questioned the need for the plan or its specifics.

Councilman John Odom said the debate isn’t a surprising one. Neighborhoods are changing as the city grows.

“That’s what we’re facing: It’s a new cycle of youth and children,” he said.

The city council voted to send the proposal to committee for further study.

At the council meeting, several residents who live on Currituck Drive said the road desperately needs the traffic-calming measures, especially because new development in North Hills could mean more traffic.

Jennifer Blue-Smith, the mother of two young boys, said her children rarely play in the front yard because of how fast drivers travel.

“I don’t even like them going to the mailbox on their own,” she said. “It just feels like a major safety issue to me.”

Eighty percent of the residents on the portion of Currituck in the plan signed a petition initiating the project after city planners determined the road qualified for Raleigh’s traffic-calming program.

But another group of neighbors says the plan would make an unnecessary obstacle course out of the road.

Christine Klein, who lives just off Currituck, said that when she moved to the neighborhood in the mid-1980s with a young family, she also worried about speeding cars.

She sympathizes with the concerns of the residents of the road, but thinks the current plan is too much. After crews marked where the new features would be on the road, she tried to drive the road as if the new features were in place but found it difficult.

“I was kind of resigned to it, until I saw the chalk marks,” she said. “It took my breath away.”

Klein said she would prefer to see a more modest plan that tries to raise awareness and enforce the current rules with tickets and perhaps add speed tables to the road.

One thing just about everyone at the hearing spoke in favor of was the part of the plan to add sidewalks to both sides of the street. The sidewalks account for $157,500 of the total estimated project cost.

Transportation planner Jason Myers said it would be difficult to move forward with the sidewalks first, even though they are popular, because of the way the parts of the plan work together.

Barr: 919-836-4952;

Twitter: @barrmsarah