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Raleigh residents balk at six-lane Six Forks Road

Posted March 9

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— Some north Raleigh residents are criticizing a city plan to widen a 2-mile stretch of Six Forks Road from four to six lanes.

Between 36,000 and 48,000 vehicles travel on Six Forks Road between Interstate 440 and Lynn Road each day, according to the state Department of Transportation, and city officials want to make the thoroughfare safer, more attractive and friendlier to bicyclists.

After three years of study, city planners have recommended a $45 million project that would add two lanes for vehicles as well as bike lanes, reduce the speed limit to 35 mph and install landscaped medians and extensive streetscaping.

"Six lanes of traffic on Six Forks is not going to be good for the neighborhoods," North Hills resident Patrick Martin said Wednesday.

Raleigh officials said more development in and around North Hills will bring more traffic to an area that already has a crash rate more than two times the state average.

"Right now, that's manageable, but just barely," City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said of the traffic volume on Six Forks Road. "If we don't do anything in the next five years, we're going to be in trouble."

Martin said widening the road won't solve the traffic problem and could make it worse – and not just for drivers.

"We're only three blocks from Brooks Elementary, and the kids from the neighborhood can walk to Brooks easily," he said.

Martin said he believes traffic volume would drop significantly if the city would encourage people to carpool, but Baldwin called that unrealistic.

Councilman Russ Stephenson said he wants to explore more transit options and make improvements to Six Forks Road's existing four lanes to alleviate congestion and improve safety before the city looks at widening the street.

Baldwin said officials need to review the costs involved in various options.

"If we do a dedicated bus lane, what will that cost? What will that cost in terms of right-of-way?" she said. "The second piece is, do we need to widen the road?

"Everybody wants to make sure that we're forward-thinking, that we ask all the right questions and we do the right thing," she added.

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  • Dana McCall Mar 10, 2016
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    This article refers to one objector, who clearly doesn't understand the safety engineering in the 6-wide plan. Most of us residents are in favor of what planners proposed.

    Funny how the term "forward-thinking" gets thrown around and never includes a future of self-driving cars. Buses will never be even moderately used in this corridor.

  • James Barefoot Mar 9, 2016
    user avatar

    I did not want the noise of I40 next to our farm?? I never have gotten used to it. But O well...

  • Byrd Ferguson Mar 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Nancy McFarlane please do something about the huge pot holes and man hole cover potholes on six forks road. Its been like that for years and you haven't done anything to fix it.