Transit, housing bonds could be on the ballot this fall

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Raleigh voters could have a bond referendum on the table when they go to the polls this fall. The Raleigh City Council is in initial debate over a $20 to $30 million bond for transportation projects and an additional $15 million for affordable housing.

Councilors voted 7-0 Tuesday to study the bond issue and plan to hold a work session next month to make a decision about putting it on the ballot.

The transportation side of the bond would fund small road projects, sidewalks, bike paths, busses and other transit-oriented projects.

The affordable housing chunk would fund the city’s existing housing assistance projects for low-income residents.

Crabtree Valley transit study

Councilors finished their initial review of the Crabtree Valley transportation study. The report has a number of recommendations for changing the landscape of traffic around Crabtree Valley mall.

Drivers in the area take between 40,000 and 70,000 trips through the area each day. And as the city grows, so will the headaches of moving through the Glenwood Avenue and I-440 intersection.

The plan involves widening streets in the area and making it easier to get either into the mall or around it, instead of the current situation where all drivers get caught in the same mess. Read a full description of the study here.

Here are council’s changes to the plan:

  • Creating new interchanges at Crabtree Valley Avenue and Blue Ridge Road and at Crabtree Valley Avenue extension and I-440;
  • Realigning Ridge Road to connect to Glenwood Avenue. The realigned road will run parallel to Varnell Avenue;
  • Realigning Crabtree Valley Avenue between Homewood Banks Drive and Creedmoor Road; and,
  • Removing the proposed Crabtree Valley Avenue extension, between I-440 and Glenwood Avenue, from the City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

The plan for Crabtree Valley’s streets is still unfunded. But when that funding does become available, there will be a plan in place.

Wake Co. parking deck

The city’s finally has a plan to deal with the façade of the new Wake County parking deck at the corner of Davie and McDowell streets downtown. The credit crisis of the past couple years delayed development of an office building planned to go around the deck.

According to Elizabeth Byrd with the Raleigh Appearance Commission, Empire Properties, which is developing the site, will pay to put banners on the currently grey, concrete sides of the building.

Byrd called the current look of the building “unsightly.”

The project is a public-private partnership with Wake County and Empire Properties.

The N.C. State University Design School will produce a design for the banner, and Empire will pay the $200,000 price tag for installation and maintenance.

Greenway grant

The state’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund recently awarded the city a grant of almost $460,000 to buy up property to extend the Walnut Creek Greenway. The city will match the state grant with about $915,000 in existing greenway funds.

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