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« First you fire them up | Main | How not to sell a Senate seat »

Dec 09, 2008


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Ed, you can go to the Guilford County GIS sight and click on any parcel and it will tell you who owns the property. There is one individual who owns six houses on Wrenn and Newlyn. A well known realtor-probably just rentals.


Herein lies one of the problems of the Transportation bonds. Is widening that section of Elm St. really necessary? Are we stuck with doing it just because the bond passed? It would be worthwhile if the city revisited the items in the bond to determine priority and need. I just don't see the need of widening Elm St. unless the sole purpose was to accomodate a bike lane.

Ed Cone

Kim, thnx for the tip -- tis a wonderful site. "Probably just rentals," sure, for now, but if the character of the neighborhood changes, who can say?

New2, Elm is heavily congested in that stretch, especially during commuting prime time, widening it is not on the face of it a bad idea -- although I'm sure some people would disagree strongly. Certainly makes sense for the City to prioritize and scrutinize projects, I don't think the bond is a mandate for given jobs but I'd like to know more.

David Wharton

New2, GDOT was painstaking in getting public input on the prioritizing of these bond projects, and held a series of meetings earlier this year. There were two articles in the N&R about them, as well as mailings to citizens and e-mail invitations. Not many people showed up for them, as is pretty typical.

The N. Elm widening was in the presentations they gave in neighborhoods all over town. After the public input period, they presented the public feedback to City Council, which then prioritized the projects in their public meetings.

The recommendation to widen Elm is partly based on hard criteria like traffic counts, and this area has been on GDOT's radar for a long time, I think.

I don't mean to be snarky, but these projects have already been prioritized to death.


Ed, David - I was one of the few people who actually attended those transportation meetings. The information presented was, quite frankly, very poorly organized and presented. Having worked with transportation planners in the past, I know it's not hard to show the LOS (Level of Service) numbers (i.e., congestion) that show a certain action is warranted. Just because it's been on the books for a long time doesn't mean it is still a good project. It took 40 years to complete Wendover and it will take 60 years to complete (if ever) the Urban Loop. It's quite likely that the same data that showed widening was needed on this section of N. Elm is now no longer relevant. So, it is a question of wisely using dollars and if the passing of the bond is requiring the city to spend money unwisely because the needs have changed. I can name many other streets that are congested for 15-30 minutes at peak hours. That's hardly justification for widening a road.

Joe Wilson

The tricky issue is Cornwallis being a feeder from the East and West to this Elm street traffic tie up, you would have to widen both streets to alleviate the problem. You would need the corner where The new Regions Bank is, St Pius would need to come down as well in addition to the Bank of Oak Ridge building and the opposite corner near Brown-Gardiner. Then we could have some relief from the intersection and it could resemble the other end of Cornwallis near Lawndale.


Widening streets is like the falling price of gas. It does little to change trasnportation behavior. Like high gas, congested, narrow streets can positively influence the living patterns we all say we like in a city - compact, walkable neighborhoods. Anyone know of a good example of a place that has built its way out of congestion? Seems there are many more examples of places that have tried.

David Wharton

New2, now we're on the same page.

N. Elm was not an important priority for me (I went to the meetings, too, to support a different project), and I also think that a city without some auto traffic congestion isn't really a city.

But I think the public process on this has been more than adequate. Investigations by the Rhino and N&R would have been much more helpful in September.

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