Wake County

North Hills expansion plan draws concerns about traffic

In January, construction was underway on The Dartmouth Apartments at St. Albans Drive and Dartmouth Road, one of six buildings under construction on 113 acres at North Hills being developed by Kane Realty Corporation.
In January, construction was underway on The Dartmouth Apartments at St. Albans Drive and Dartmouth Road, one of six buildings under construction on 113 acres at North Hills being developed by Kane Realty Corporation. clowenst@newsobserver.com

Neighbors say they are worried about increased traffic that would come with a plan to expand North Hills.

About 100 people attended a meeting of the Midtown Citizens Advisory Council on Monday to hear developers’ plans to add about 34 acres to North Hills’ footprint. Plans call for more retail, office space and apartments east of Six Forks Road toward Wake Forest Road.

The advisory council, made up of residents who provide feedback to the city on proposed developments, plans to vote on the project in November to give residents more time to learn about it. Originally, the council expected to vote in October.

“I think we’ve got to have the opportunity for the citizens to ask questions and hear answers, too,” said council chairman Patrick Martin.

Kane Realty, which developed the thriving North Hills community just north of Interstate 440, wants to expand its mixed-use efforts. If approved by the city, the company could build up to 1.3 million square feet of office space, 125,000 square feet of retail space, 2,100 residential units, 950 hotel rooms and 450 senior-living units.

Some residents said traffic is already a problem in the residential areas near North Hills east of Six Forks Road.

A petition created by residents calls for the city of Raleigh to install traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps on Hardimont Road, which is often used as a cut-through from Six Forks to Wake Forest Road. The petition has more than 90 signatures.

“I’m not against what Kane is doing,” said Diane Young, who has lived near the intersection of Hardimont Road and St. Albans Drive for more than two decades. “I just want some relief on Hardimont Road.”

Matt Marriott, who is helping circulate the petition, said motorists have hit his house on Tufts Court twice since 2014. Hardimont Road curves near St. Albans, and he said drivers sometimes lose control.

Literally, within a week of closing on the house, it got hit,” Marriott said.

John Kane, CEO of Kane Realty, said during the meeting Monday at the Eastgate Park neighborhood center that he is in favor of traffic-calming measures. He said speed bumps have been successful on Northbrook Drive on the other side of Six Forks Road.

The City Council must approve such measures.

In the meantime, Kane urged drivers to be polite. People that cut through there – definitely stop cutting through,” he said.

A traffic analysis by consulting firm Kimley-Horn is expected to be completed next month. He said he hopes it will shed more light on what could be done to ease traffic woes.

“We’re not opposed at all to (traffic control),” Kane said. “In fact, we’d be very supportive to it.”

Some residents also expressed concerns about stormwater and tree preservation.

Chris Owens said he moved from a neighborhood near N.C. State University to Hardimont Road to escape an urban environment. Now he can see new buildings from his home.

“You used to be able to see forest and stars and sky, but now it’s a parking lot that’s all lit up,” Owens said. “I didn’t buy a house downtown for a reason. I wanted lots of trees and no new skyline.”

The Midtown Citizens Advisory Council will meet next on Oct. 24 at the Sertoma Arts Center at Shelley Lake Park on West Millbrook Road. The facility will more easily accommodate a large crowd.

Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi

  Comments