Ticketing in Raleigh's Five Points raises concerns

Posted July 21, 2010 5:31 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2010 7:46 p.m. EDT

— A resurfacing project on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh has police handing out a higher number of traffic tickets and frustrated drivers calling on the mayor to do something about it.

This month, the North Carolina Department of Transportation closed Whitaker Mill and Fairview roads where they intersect with Glenwood as part of a $1.7 million project to remove crumbling asphalt.

The closure has left motorists traveling through the Five Points neighborhood contending with roadblocks and a maze of orange construction barrels and figuring out new ways to get around.

Drivers have been using the parking lot at the BP station at the corner of Glenwood and Fairview as a way to easily get through the blockade.

The issue: the city has an ordinance restricting vehicles from using parking lots to cut through to another street.

Raleigh police say they've issued about 75 citations since construction began in the area this month.

"It makes sense under normal circumstances, but this is not normal circumstances," said Bill Peebles, who owns Rialto Theatre, which sits about a block away from the intersection.

Peebles and other Five Points business owners think it's unfair to target their customers and employees while the road is under construction.

Complaints have reached Mayor Charles Meeker, who's researching the problem. Although he realizes police have a job to do, he hopes a compromise can be reached.

"Certainly, there could be warnings. There could be some kind of signage warning people they should not try to cut through private property," Meeker said. "There ought to be some solution so that a motorist already inconvenienced by road construction shouldn't be further inconvenienced by a ticket."

As long as drivers are cited for the shortcut, business owners worry it could cut into their bottom line.

"I just think common sense has gone out the window," Peebles said.

Work on the $1.7 million resurfacing of Glenwood, from Wade Avenue to Women's Club Drive, began in February and was supposed to be finished in June.

Road crews, however, found crumbling concrete beneath the roadway, delaying the completion date until at least, August.