Raleigh officials praise city's winter storm response
Posted March 3, 2015
Updated March 5, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Mayor Nancy McFarlane and City Manager Ruffin Hall expressed pleasure Tuesday with the city's response to recent winter storms, crediting preparations by road crews and drivers who heeded warnings and stayed off area roads.
Raleigh's 40 Public Works trucks are responsible for about 2,500 lane-miles of road, and they treated city streets and cleared away snow at a cost of a little more than $400,000, officials said.
Road crews spread 500 tons of salt on Raleigh roads, and city workers responded to 180 tree calls when wet snow snapped limbs and branches.
Although calls to the city's 911 communications center increased 30 percent during the storms, no major incidents and no major injuries were reported, they said.
The storms knocked out power to two water treatment plants, but backup generators kicked on. Hall said the generators were clearly a good investment for the city.
Following are other actions taken at the Raleigh City Council meeting:
- The council tentatively approved new rules on business signs in the city. The council plans to hold a public hearing on the issue next month before taking a final vote.
The regulations would allow businesses to use up to 50 percent of their window space for signage, up from the current 30 percent maximum. The permitted number of colors on a sign also would increase to nine.
- Council members also agreed to spend an additional $12 million on the planned Union Station rail and transit hub downtown, bringing the total cost to about $80 million. Officials cited increasing property values among the reasons for the higher costs. Construction could start this spring.
- While a much-debated shopping center on Falls of Neuse Road at Dunn Road is somewhat smaller in size, the City Council still wants to know how it will impact traffic.
Original plans called for a 50,000-square-foot anchor store, thought to be Publix supermarket, but the developer cut the store size in nearly half after neighbors voiced concerns. The planned anchor tenant pulled out of the revamped center, and the developer is now trying to persuade a specialty grocer to anchor the project.
After the traffic study, the council will hold a public hearing on the development.
- The council accepted a $6.77 million bid from Fred Smith Co. to resurface 32 miles of city streets.
- The council designated the Lewis-Joyner House, at 304 E. Jones St. in the Oakwood neighborhood, as the 157th Raleigh Historic Landmark. The house has historical significance for its association with James Yadkin Joyner, North Carolina superintendent of public education from 1902 until 1919. The two-story Victorian gable-front-and-wing home was built around 1878 by by Julius Lewis & Co.