Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leesville Rd Update

We wanted to share the following with you:

As some of you may be aware, yesterday the Raleigh City Council adopted its budget for FY 2008-2009. I am happy to announce that the approximately $1.1 million which the City had recommended to begin the design phase of the Leesville Road Project was approved. That is what we sought, and what we initially needed to keep this project on track. However, funds for completing the project are contingent upon another Bond Referendum being held, and passed. Although Leesville Road’s share of that referendum will (only) be approximately 10 million, the total referendum package will be approximately $129 million. The referendum was initially recommended for the fall of 2008, but due to the overall current economic situation, as well as the fact that the budget that the City Council just approved already includes some significant tax and fee increases for citizens, it was decided to put off the referendum until some time in 2009. However, in speaking with some folks at the City, this delay probably will not have a significant adverse impact on the Leesville Road Project due to the fact that the design phase will probably take 12 – 18 months anyway.

We thank everyone who contacted the City Council. Several council members have commented to me that they have received letters and emails from their constituents concerning this project. Please take another minute to write, call, or email the City Council and thank them for what they have done so far, and to encourage them to make sure that this project stays on the fast track for completion. Our work is not over yet, but I believe a major accomplishment has been realized. On behalf of Father Mark G. Reamer, our pastor, and Ben Whitehouse, we wish to thank-you for your efforts in this endeavor. We will be in touch as this project progresses.

Marc R. Kielty

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Concerned about Leesville Rd? Take action NOW!

Thought it was important to share the below from Mark Kielty:

As you know, and as we have been discussing, in 2005 voters identified the section of Leesville Road from New Leesville Boulevard to the I-540 interchange for proposed funding as part of a $60 million Transportation Bond Referendum. Since January 2008, representatives of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Bethany Hills Baptist Church, along with residents of Harrington Grove, Harrington Meadows, Harrington Pointe, Dominion Park, Leesville Downs, Woodlawn, Barton’s Creek, Sedgefield, Farmridge, Wood Valley, Farless Drive, and other area residents, have met to discuss the issues surrounding the project, and our continued resolve to see the project funded and completed. Since that meeting in January, we have learned that the funds from the 2005 referendum have been diverted to other projects and that reportedly, there is currently no funding left for the Leesville Road Project.

During the last several weeks, Reverend Mark G. Reamer, the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, and Marc Kielty, the Coordinator of Communications, have met with individual members of the Raleigh City Council to express the group’s concerns over this project, and to seek their assurance that the project will continue. Meetings were held with Mayor Charles Meeker; At Large Councilors Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin; District A Councilor Nancy McFarlane; and District E Councilor Philip Isley who represents the neighborhoods surrounding Leesville Road. Each indicated that they will thoughtfully consider our ongoing request to find funding in order to continue with the original plans to widen Leesville Road, but it is up to the community to bring continued attention to the issue. As we all have heard, and as one of the councilors actually mentioned, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Although we realize it is probably not possible for the City Council to find funding for the entire project without another referendum, we believe that the City can, and should, find funding to continue with the design phase of the project which, by itself, will take several years. We do not believe the entire project should be allowed to indefinitely stall.

In the next few weeks, the City Council will be deciding upon its FY 2008/ 2009 budget. We at St. Francis of Assisi will continue to do our part to keep the council focused on this issue. However, comments made by the city council members indicate that without the vocal support of the surrounding neighborhoods, the project will probably not move forward until after another bond referendum; possibly several years in the future.

Below is the contact information for the Raleigh City Council. Urge your neighbors to contact the Raleigh City Council as soon as possible to voice support for funding the Leesville Road Widening Project. Attached is a postcard that we will be using at St. Francis. Feel free to copy and distribute the postcard to those in your neighborhood. . Now is the time to have your voices heard. When it can be ascertained what day the council will actually be discussing their Capital Budget in an open meeting, we will forward that information to you. It will be imperative that neighborhood representatives attend that meeting to show support for the funding.


Council Member Email Address

Mayor Charles Meeker: charles.meeker@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor Mary Ann Baldwin: mary-ann.baldwin@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor Russ Stephenson: russ.stephenson@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor Nancy McFarlane: nancy.mcfarlane@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor Rodger Koopman: rodger.koopman@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor James West: james.west@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor Thomas Crowder: thomas.crowder@ci.raleigh.nc.us
Councilor Philip Isley: pisley@boyceisley.com

The mailing address for the Mayor and all City Council Members is:
Post Office Box 590
Raleigh, NC 27602

Their phone number is 890-3050.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Petition to widen Leesville Road

Many homeowners are extremely concerned about the poor traffic flow and potential dangers on Leesville Rd north of I-540 to the intersection of New Leesville Blvd. If you share these concerns, please sign the petition to widen Leesville Road or delay the opening of the school until the road project is completed.
We would categorize it as a "very poor” situation now and an "unacceptable" situation if the new school is allowed to open BEFORE Leesville Rd is widened to four lanes with a middle turning lane ALL THE WAY between I-540 and New Leesville Blvd.

Please either expedite the road improvements or delay the opening of the new school until the road project is completed. Thank you for immediate attention to this problem.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Here's the 'bad news' about Leesville Road

Leesville Road is still a skinny two lanes wide near the Interstate 540 Outer Loop interchange that opened in 1999, but its traffic is starting to thicken.

Apartment complexes are sprouting along the road north from I-540 to Leesville's intersection with Hickory Grove Church Road. The Franciscan School at that intersection is a car-pool magnet. A Wake County elementary school is under construction nearby.

Brian Ray says it takes 15 minutes each morning to drive the 1.2 miles from Hickory Grove Church Road to I-540. Keith Spainhour finds it slow going, too, en route from his home in northwest Wake County to work in Research Triangle Park.

They both worry that the morning drive will get a lot worse when the new Sycamore Creek Elementary School opens in fall 2008. They recall that a bond issue Raleigh voters approved in 2005 included money to widen this part of Leesville Road.

So, they ask, When will the new asphalt arrive?

"I was wondering what the delay was and why they haven't started it," Spainhour said.

Alas, traffic will get thicker here before it gets faster. Leesville will stay skinny for a few more years. The Wake school system will widen part of the road near Sycamore Creek Elementary School, but the city won't start work on the rest of the road -- a $10.2 million job -- until 2011.

"Ohhhh, no," Sue S. Harris said, gasping when she heard that distant date. "That will be miserable. Man, that is bad news."

Harris lives nearby in eastern Durham County. She frequently passes through the neighborhood on her way to I-540 ("a wonderful artery," she says) and Triangle Town Center. She sees Leesville Road at its worst in the morning, when she chauffeurs two grandsons to the Franciscan School.

Construction of the I-540 arc across North Raleigh has increased traffic on each of the loop's north-south spoke roads. But the growth has been heavier on some others than on Leesville Road.

The state Department of Transportation counted 22,000 cars a day on Leesville near I-540 in 2005, up from 15,000 in 1998 before the loop opened.

The city is moving faster on a few more urgent road projects funded with 2005 bond money -- improvements to Perry Creek, Tryon and Falls of Neuse roads.

"Falls of Neuse has been pretty monstrous as far as its traffic growth," said Eric J. Lamb, city transportation services manager.

With road construction inflation running about 15 percent per year, costs have risen well above the $60 million voters approved in 2005. Short funding has forced the city to shelve a few items on the 2005 list, including the widening of Mitchell Mill Road.

"But we're still moving forward on Leesville," Lamb said.

Meanwhile, Harris wants city engineers to consider improving how the traffic signals handle Leesville's heavy morning flow. She would like to see the city tinker with the timing at the Farless Road intersection -- to give more green-light time to Leesville drivers and a bit less to those on Farless.

Also see our post on morning traffic congestion.

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