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David Simonton 
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Re: “A divisive street-improvement plan raises questions about Raleigh’s citizen-petition process

For anyone wishing to keep up with the latest news about the Lorimer Road project, there's a new-ish public Facebook Group dedicated to the subject, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/7487513052…

Please have a look - and consider joining! Thanks.

Posted by David Simonton on 06/14/2017 at 8:11 PM

Re: “A divisive street-improvement plan raises questions about Raleigh’s citizen-petition process

A revised project-cost estimate has just been released.

I have to wonder how Raleigh residents feel about $2,000,000.00 being spent to install a sidewalk on this minor road in West Raleigh, where the speed limit is 25mph, where there is little traffic and even less pedestrian traffic, and where a fair number of residents don't even want it!

Is the fact that Kay Crowder wants this justification enough? Is this really the best use of our money? Has a Cost/Benefit Analysis been conducted?


Posted by David Simonton on 06/07/2017 at 8:21 PM

Re: “A divisive street-improvement plan raises questions about Raleigh’s citizen-petition process

It should be noted that Donna Burford, the petitioner, works for Council Member Kay Crowder, District D Representative (Lorimer Road is located in District D). The fact that Crowder did not recuse herself when the vote was taken on Burford's petition, but instead whispered in the other Concil member's ears just before the (unanimous) vote, strikes me as being worthy of further investigation, especially considering what's been learned about the (blatently rigged) process since. There is now a website dedicated to the details of those circumstances: https://lorimerroadraleigh.com/ It was created in part as a "heads up" for other older Raleigh neighborhoods: don't let what happened here happen to you! Finally, it should also be noted that neither Burford nor Crowder actually live on Lorimer Road, and that neither of them live on streets with sidewalk themselves.

Posted by David Simonton on 05/16/2016 at 1:26 PM
Posted by David Simonton on 04/22/2016 at 2:58 PM

Re: “Raleigh City Council Live Blog: Evening Edition

In an email addressed to District Representative Kay Crowder back in August, Petitioner Donna Burford pleaded for a "4’ or even 3’ setback" on the west side of Lorimer Road. This modest concession would have been in keeping with the City's guiding principle:
. . . .

WHEREAS, the City Council is committed to the preservation of existing neighborhoods by maintaining their character and aesthetic qualities....
. . . .
We were promised a project with minimal impact here; what we got instead was one-foot less than the maximum.

At an October Neighborhood Meeting, with Council Member Crowder present, a resident reminded her, "We were told we had way more flexibility in terms of the size of setbacks and sidewalks." To which Mrs. Crowder replied, "The new UDO says no."

It took bait&switch tactics and coercion, but never-the-less the City finally found a way (after numerous failed petitions here) to infiltrate this old, West Raleigh neighborhood. As Jimmy Upchurch with the Public Works Department reported on September 1, "...If we completed Lorimer, that would just set up more of the network to get a continuous sidewalk throughout the neighborhood."

There's nothing wrong with sidewalks. But there is something very wrong about duping Raleigh's citizens to get them; and something very wrongheaded about imposing 2016 standards in existing neighborhoods, effectively destroying rather than "maintaining their character and aesthetic qualities." That could easily be accomplished in these old neighborhoods by reducing the width of sidewalks and setbacks — but the new UDO says "no."

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Posted by David Simonton on 03/02/2016 at 9:52 AM

Re: “Raleigh City Council Live Blog: Evening Edition

In the City of Raleigh's response to the Lorimer petition, cited here, the following description of the City's door-to-door petition process appears: "The petitioner is provided with the petition packet and charged as the liaison with residents and City staff as they go door to door to obtain signatures in favor of the requested improvements. Staff addresses questions from residents according to City policies...".

Who are we to surmise that the "they" going door to door to obtain signatures are/is?

Is it a) residents and City staff? b) the petitioner, residents and City staff? or c) the petitioner and the petition packet? (In the case of Lorimer Road, it was the petitioner and her sister who circulated the petition. So they were the “they” in our case.)

But...is that what the City is saying here? What ARE they saying? It's ambiguous.

Why oh why all the subterfuge?

Posted by David Simonton on 02/10/2016 at 7:47 PM

Re: “A divisive street-improvement plan raises questions about Raleigh’s citizen-petition process

71% of property owners living on the section of Lorimer Road between Onslow Road and Garland Drive—one block, the “north end” of Lorimer—want no part of this project as it's planned. We’d like to go back to the drawing board to work out a compromise. We believe that, under the circumstances, it’s a more-than-reasonable request.

We petitioned the City Council—twice—to separate us from the original petition. But both times the answer was no. Whatever happened to majority rules? 71% of us are about to have to pay for (and maintain) something we neither want nor feel we need.

At an October 20th neighborhood meeting, District D Representative Kay Crowder was asked, “Why didn’t the Council consider splitting out the north end of Lorimer from the petition?” Mrs. Crowder’s (non-)answer: “The City wants to do whole streets, whole sections at once. ‘Microgaps,’ where sidewalks stop in the middle of the block, are only trouble to fix later. The City is trying to fix existing ones, and not create any more.” A “microgap,” by the way, according to Transportation Manager Eric Lamb, is “a missing section of sidewalk anywhere from 25 feet to 300 feet long and often involves a single property owner not wanting a sidewalk crossing in front of his or her property.”

On September 1, Crowder explained using another rational: "Though we don't have sidewalks on Garland (or all of Garland) yet, I do think in the future that will happen as development happens on that street. I recently had a discussion with someone who's trying to buy property on that street to build homes, and, under the code, he would have to put sidewalks in.”

Ouch! Some developer’s future requirements trumps what 71% of current day residents want for their own block.

And then there’s this: “…The goal is to make sure that kids can get to school.”

Okay. So, what lesson would those kids learn from the way the adults conducted themselves here in order to get what they wanted? —“Do whatever it takes, kids. And say any darn that comes to mind to avoid having to answer for your bad behavior ... even if it’s only 'no comment.'”

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Posted by David Simonton on 02/09/2016 at 2:57 PM

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