Round-Up: Councilors Approve Walk [Raleigh] Pilot

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Raleigh City Council members this week authorized Raleigh City Attorney Thomas McCormick to look into Club Bodi after a recent shooting near the downtown club left a man dead.

Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin noted that the shooting was the second related to the club, located on South West Street, in less than a year, which warrants a closer look.

“I’d like to ask the city attorney to investigate the operations and the history of compliance at Club Bodi and authorize him to file any appropriate legal actions to ensure public safety in the area,” Baldwin said.

McCormick agreed that the situation requires a serious look and said his office would be happy to do it.

Walk [Raleigh] Pilot Program Approved
Councilors approved the Walk [Raleigh] Pilot Program and referred oversight of the program to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.

Walk [Raleigh] is a Raleigh-based company that assists communities with promoting walkability. The program posts wayfinding signage that identifies locations throughout the community and the estimate time to walk there.

The signage, combined with an Internet-based campaign management and data collection, have helped promote walkability in 75 cities around the world.

raleighwalksign

Jennifer Suarez / Raleigh Public Record

Sig Hutchinson, a member of Raleigh’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, said the concept is simple.

“If you give your citizens information about how far it is to a location and point them in the right direction, they’ll actually do it,” he said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is partnering with Walk [Raleigh] to develop campaigns in three cities across the state to promote wellness.

The initiative will allow Raleigh to receive signage and technical support, and serve as the pilot project for the partnership. In return, Raleigh will commit resources in planning, promoting and implementing the Walk [Raleigh] campaign alongside program representatives.

Window Sign Task Force Set
City Councilors have selected members for a 10-person Window Sign Task Force to analyze and report on Raleigh’s sign rules debate.

The task force consists of members from a variety of backgrounds, who live in different parts of the city.

Councilor Eugene Weeks said he was concerned that the 10-person team did not adequately represent some businesses.

“Is there leeway for 12?” Weeks asked. “You only have two African-American businesses in downtown Raleigh and they are both affected by this.”

Mayor Nancy McFarlane emphasized the importance of creating a well-balanced task force that was representative of all residents and business owners.

“I think there’s certainly one from downtown Raleigh,” McFarlane said. “There are businesses all over the entire city and I think they were trying to give representation to the entire city and not have it totally weighted with everybody downtown.”

The issue of regulating Raleigh’s window signs arose recently when a resident complained about a television-type window sign in a business on Glenwood South. Since then, ocal business owners and City Councilors have lined up on both sides of the debate.

The task force will have 45 days to review the issue before reporting a recommendation back to City Council.

Three Area Parks Receiving Solar Trash Compactors
Raleigh’s BigBelly Solar Trash and Recycling Collection program is expanding.

Big Belly trash cans save the city thousands of dollars each year.

Leo Suarez / Raleigh Public Record

Big Belly trash cans save the city thousands of dollars each year.

City Councilors approved ten new BigBelly Solar Compactors to be installed at three area parks.

  • Brier Creek Park will receive three compactors
  • Honeycutt Park will receive two compactors
  • Anderson Point Park will receive five compactors

The money for the new solar trash compactors is coming from a North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Grant.

The solar trash compactors remove air volume of wasted space, and BigBelly software monitors trash levels. An email is sent to Solid Waste Services when the unit is ready to be emptied.

The units help the city of Raleigh reduce fuel use and carbon emissions as well as reducing staff time for pickups and wear and tear on streets.

Installation of the trash compactors around Raleigh began in 2012 as part of a program funded by a U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. They are located in parks and downtown areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

City Could Lower Threshold for Sidewalk Petitions
Changes to Raleigh’s sidewalk petition process may make it easier for residents to get sidewalks put in their neighborhoods.

Councilors approved lowering the required number of neighborhood residents that must approve a sidewalk petition from 75 percent to 50 percent plus one.

Councilor Thomas Crowder said asking neighbors to get approval from 75 percent of their neighborhood is too much.

broken_sidewalk_front

Jennifer Suarez / Raleigh Public Record

“I think it’s hurting neighborhoods that want sidewalks, where a majority of the folks want them,” he said.

Councilor Bonner Gaylord agreed.

“I’d like to set a lower threshold of 50 percent plus one,” Gaylor said. “My gut feeling is that 50 percent plus one is going to be more appropriate and get us more sidewalks in locations that they’re needed across the city.”

Jimmy Upchurch, of Raleigh’s Public Works Department, said the number was initially raised to 75 percent when the city stopped assessing property owners for new sidewalks. The high number was expected to help ease some of the difficulties they faced with new sidewalk projects.

The fewer people are on board with a project, the harder it is for the city to get the required easements necessary for the projects.

“We felt that raising that bar would give us more property support going into these projects,” Upchurch said.

Upchurch said 33 sidewalk petitions were issued last year. Of those 33, only three met the required 75 percent threshold. The majority fell into the 25 percent to 50 percent approval range. If the standard was lowered, it would have captured two additional projects.

Sidewalk petition requests are sent through the mail; those that are not returned are counted against a project.

Gaylord and Crowder both said they felt like lowering the required threshold would still be more attainable for neighborhoods.

“I think it could potentially set a more attainable goal for neighbors who may want to get out and do some canvassing and talk to their neighbors about it to make sure those requests come back in,” Gaylord said.

Road Races Approved
Race: DREF (Delta Research Educational Foundation) 5K Run/Walk
Location: Downtown
Length: 5K
Date and Time: Sat., July 12 from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Attendees: Not specified

Race: Kids In Training Youth Triathlon
Location: Near Brier Creek Country Club
Length: Varied
Date and Time: Sun., July 13 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Attendees: About 150

Race: Harrington Grove Kids’ Triathlon
Location: Harrington Grove Subdivision, New Leesville Boulevard
Length: Varied
Date and Time: Sat., Aug. 2 from 8 to 10 a.m.
Attendees: Not specified

Race: Raleigh 8000
Location: Celebration at Six Forks Shopping Center, Six Forks Road, Shelley Lake Greenway
Length: 8K
Date and Time: Sat., Aug. 23 from 7:30 to 9 a.m.
Attendees: About 400

Race: Safe Haven for Cats 5K
Location: Durant Road, Capital Hills Road
Length: 5K
Date and Time: Sat., Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Attendees: About 300

One thought on “Round-Up: Councilors Approve Walk [Raleigh] Pilot

  1. Will the 10-member sign task force be taking public input? If so, how does that work? If not, how can we talk to these people? Can you publish their names and affiliations, please?