Local News

Paying for Crabtree Valley traffic plan questioned

Posted March 4, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Some people are questioning the city's decision to hire a consultant to study traffic near Crabtree Valley Mall and devise long-range strategies for unclogging streets in the area.

The City Council on Tuesday approved spending about $250,000 on the study, which will include input from residents and merchants in the area.

Traffic near Crabtree Valley Mall Consultant to study Crabtree traffic

"Every time you turn around, it's a consultant," said Michael Sanera, research director and local government analyst for the conservative John Locke Foundation. "With a large planning department, it seems like some of this stuff could be done in-house and save the taxpayers some money."

Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said it's not uncommon for the city to outsource such studies, saying a consultant can do the job faster than city staff, who are busy working on other projects.

"I think here the desire was to get this done this fiscal year – (or) by December 2009 – and to do that, you have to outsource it," Silver said.

The City Council recently decided to remove a proposed $30 million Crabtree Valley Avenue Extension, between Glenwood Avenue and Creedmoor Road, from the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Silver said a new plan could provide better options.

"It's very detailed – (involving) a lot of modeling – and may require some flyovers or additions to the (Interstate 440) Beltline. That's a little bit beyond some of the expertise we have in-house," he said.

Traffic along the Glenwood Avenue corridor is expected to grow by as much as 70 percent by 2035, which makes solving congestion issues critical for Raleigh's future, Mayor Charles Meeker said.

"It's a very difficult place. There's only one way under the Beltline. There's a lot of through traffic, as well as a lot of destination traffic to Crabtree Valley (Mall)," Meeker said. "It's just a mess."

The money for the study is already in the city budget and wasn't taken from any other projects, he said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Mar 5, 2009

    do you people ACTUALLY believe that a GOVERNMENT run agency that has NO DEADLINES and NO BUDGETS that they need to worry about can do ANYTHING better than an outsourced consultant? You people are AMAZING to me! Why not have the government hire some landscapers, and have them do landscaping too....after all, they SHOULD be able to do it better than an outside source! If a consultant is hired, they are given a scope of work, they are hammered to the absolute bottom dollar, and then given a deadline to complete a task that BY LAW must be done before any construction can be done....YET many of you consider this a waste of OUR tax-payers dollars!!!! AMAZING! I would like you all to tell me who you call when you need a package to arive over-night.....US postal service? or is it UPS or FED-EX? come on people.....wake up! and quit commenting on things you don't completely understand!

  • HadEnough Mar 5, 2009

    Hiring consultants and having meetings is what government is all about. The primary reason for this is so no one person will have to make a decision. Blame can not be put on one but rather on a consultant or a committee.

  • aintbackingdwn Mar 5, 2009

    Crabtree should be closed. It's replaced by Triangle Town center and outdated.

  • mtnmama Mar 5, 2009

    I think everyone on here needs to organize to oust these stupid politicians who get off on spending our money on frivolous, outsourced, commissioned studies to arrive at a solution that they themselves ought to be able to "insource" and come together to lead our cities like they were elected to do in the first place. Clearly, government is too big, too loose, and too disorganized to be effective. It's rediculous to continue wasting taxpayer money on something that could be reassigned, or even handled in the form of a contest among local colleges and universities to draft a plan. That way, we cold save our money and utilize one of our most valuable resources-- (college/university students) while enhancing their educational experience. Truth be known, we all know these independent, outsourced studies are in reality, some politician's buddy or family member looking to make a quick year or two worth of salary. More of the good ol'boy system at work, imo.

  • WHEEL Mar 5, 2009

    Sounds like Silver's Planning Department is great until something actually needs planning and then they need to outsource it.

  • kevboom Mar 5, 2009

    "There's only one way under the Beltline."

    Maybe. A lot of the congestion seems to be at the intersection of Lead Mine Road and Glenwood where five lanes of traffic driving down the hill turn left, go straight, or turn right. It might be possible to connect North Hills Drive, which currently dumps into this busy intersection, under 440 to National Drive. I know this crosses a flood plain behind the Holiday Inn, but it's something to consider. Mostly empty land that would be easy to acquire. With a new road under 440, North Raleigh traffic heading out of downtown on Glenwood in the afternoon could divert onto National before driving north without ever entering and further congesting the Crabtree area. Like a spillway on a dam, when backup is too much for a single portal to handle, you need another portal. Also, couldn't a flyover be created for the traffic that currently gets off 440 West at Ridge Road, connecting to Summitt Park West and Crabtree Mall? Help people stay off Glenwood.

  • intuit Mar 4, 2009

    The same people complaining about the cost of this research project would be the same ones complaining about the congestion in 20 years. You think it's congested now? Let us just leave it alone completely and factor in all the growth over the course of the next 20 years and see what the complaints will be. The vast majority of complainers are exactly the ones that contributed to Raleigh's ever growing population.

  • imtiredofit Mar 4, 2009

    If the planning dept isn't capable of doing this type of road planning then I think we should outsource all road development in Raleigh and get rid of the Raleigh planning dept. This would probably save the city a lot of money and give us better designed roads.

  • methinkthis Mar 4, 2009

    Great idea! I need to be able to get to the Cheesecake Factory uninhibited. City policy created the problem. Crabtree has been a bad idea from the beginning. It was built in the flood plain and has flooded several times. It has always been a traffic mess, both within the mall area and the public streets. The question we should all be asking though is how much is the city going to spend to fix it and the other areas that it is allowing to be built up to the same traffic snarls. North Hills and Town Center are two that come to mind, I am sure there are others. Too often our planners/city councilors salivate after the business with not thought or concern about the future costs of maintaining their decisions. My solution is go north, avoid Crabtree and avoid North Hills. I don't need them.

  • Myword Mar 4, 2009

    Here's the plan: Avoid Crabtee during rush hour and go there at other times.
    City of Raleigh, please send me that check now.