A reader, George Buccigrossi, asked: What are your plans for better traffic flow and where would you concentrate? I am going to rephrase his question to ask the following:
** Do you have a plan or an idea to improve traffic flow? If so, what is it?
** The major roads/streets in Wake Forest are owned and maintained by the state Department of Transportation. How would you work with your fellow commissioners and the town manager and staff to apply the updated transportation plan that is due to be adopted this fall to improve the traffic challenges the town faces now and will face in the future? Those challenges include “hot spots,” intersections on state-owned roads where there need to be remedies.
** Did you attend the public meeting about the update for the comprehensive transportation plan? Have you seen anything about the update if you did not attend? Have you read the current transportation plan?
** Would you be in favor of all proposed developments having a traffic study included and why? (The town pays for the traffic study.) Would you question the traffic study for such things as far fewer trips to and from a day care than the enrollment?
**How would you handle the limitations and obstacles created by state laws that govern how much a local municipality like Wake Forest can require from a proposed development?
** Are you aware of the major road changes in the near future? DOT plans to build a traffic bridge over the CSX rail line on Rogers Road starting in 2020 (if that date holds) that will turn all of Rogers from South Main Street to just beyond the Heritage Lake Road/Forestville Road intersection to five lanes.
Also, before Holding Village can get a permit for its 401st housing unit – the subdivision has about 215 homes now and planned apartments will add substantially to that total – the developer has to complete the extension of South Franklin Street from its dead end in a former pasture to the N.C. 98 Bypass. That will totally change the traffic patterns on Rogers Road and South Main Street.
Another smaller possibility is to extend Rogers Branch Road across a future commercial site to meet Forestville Road at the traffic signal for Foundation Drive, the entrance to Heritage High School. Foundation Drive then could be extended across Smith Creek and a town-owned natural area to reach Ligon Mill Road.
** What other streets do you see as needed?
George, great question and thank you for asking. There are a few ways that we can do to help our traffic issues. First, we need to expand our major roads, such as Rodgers (already planned for). Although, an action like that can sometimes be regressive because the wider road will bring more traffic ( https://www.wired.com/2014/06/wuwt-traffic-induced-demand/). Second, we need to continue to look for more connecting streets. This will divert some of the traffic and reduce congestion. Finally, we should change some of our major traffic lights into smart lights. These are lights that are connected to cameras that can communicate with each other. This will allow blocks of cars to navigate with fewer stops and could reduce travel wait time by 40% (https://www.rapidflowtech.com/). Most of these plans would depend on approval from the DOT. Getting other commissioners and the town manager on board and us stressing what our priorities are should go far in making these plans a reality. I have been unable to attend any of the transportation plan meetings. I cannot find a link on the government site to them either. I have read the very outdated current plan as well as the walk and bike plan. I am not in favor of ALL new developments having traffic studies. Only the ones that will be located around our most congested areas of town would I ask for it. My bigger concern is how will new developments impact our already capped schools. While schools are not technically under our responsibilities we need to be cognizant of what impact our rezonings and approvals will have on them. I understand that the current NCGA has local governments hamstrung in what we can and cannot do. My goal would be to work with my local representatives to try and change that. We know what our community needs better than a bunch of politicians in downtown Raleigh. We should have more control. I am aware of the major changes coming to Rodgers Rd. It will be vital that the town commissioners, mayor, and city planner stay active in listening to the feedback our citizens give us about any potential issues these changes may bring (and there will be some). As I mentioned previously, we need to continue to look for additional routes for side traffic.