Project for Traffic Calming along the Mecklenburg Corridor

A project to track the ongoing discussions and information gathering around the Mecklenburg Corridor, the area between Midwood Baptist Church and The Plaza along Mecklenburg Avenue.

Table of Contents


Overview

Overview of the project

Original Goals and Assumptions

Goals of calming traffic along the Mecklenburg Corridor (1/6/2011 ).

Meetings and Group Discussion

Community Meeting at Fellowship Hall (7/21/2011 ).
Invitations went out for our Community Meeting w/ CDOT (7/13/2011)
Formal meeting with neighbors door to door round 3 (4/30/2011 ).
Formal meeting with neighbors door to door round 2 (4/23/2011 ).
Formal meeting with neighbors door to door round 1 (4/17/2011 ).
Found out about ongoing push to add road humps to Country Club Road (4/11/2011).
Spoke on the phone with the Country Club (3/4/2011 ).
Talked with June Blotnick following the Quarterly Meeting (1/27/2011 ).
First informal meeting with CDOT on our options (1/19/2011 ).
Spoke informally with Midwood Baptist Church (1/7/2011 ).

Notes and Correspondence

Email correspondance and follow ups on Fort Street Sidewalk Request (4/14/2011 ).
Email correspondance and follow ups on Traffic/Radar Feedback Trailer Request (4/13/2011 ).
First email on the new traffic calming project for the Mecklenburg Corridor (1/10/2011 ).

Images and Links

CDOT rendering of Mecklenburg Corridor traffic calming proposal
More Images to come ...

Overview

2010 The traffic calming project is intended to be an open process for the residents in the Mecklenburg Ave Corridor and to effect some change in the speeds in the area we are most concerned. Sarah and I want to be as communicative and option-oriented as possible. To do this, we want to have discussions of the options available to us along the Mecklenburg Corridor with all interested parties. back to top

Original Goals and Assumptions

1.6.2011 Excerpt of email to CDOT explaining our assumptions and goals for this project. To: Chip (CDOT), Sarah

The only problem we are trying to fix is on Mecklenburg Ave. from The Plaza to Country Club Rd. The concerns are as follows:

If there are issues that come out of our communication w/ the residents that expands what “the problem” is, then we will take that into account but at this point, that corridor is all we are trying to address.

I am not sure any of us are in favor of speed humps so leaving those completely out of the current conversation, we are looking for alternatives. One thing I want to get from you is a list of what is in fact available in the form of traffic calming, your opinions of the options, and case studies for their individual effectiveness if they are available (are such things available?). What I have seen in the city are:

Are there other options that we are leaving out and would all of these be considerations? We discussed bike lanes but I grew concerned that they might preclude parking and that something like that would raise more issues than it fixes so we’re leaving that out for now (unless you suggest otherwise). I also assume that anything w/ plantings would be on us (the neighborhood) for upkeep.

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Meetings and Group Discussion

7.21.2011

We held a Community Meeting at Fellowship Hall on Thursday night. We had 10 neighbors attend. Chip and Johanna led the meeting and brought large blow ups of the proposed traffic pattern and some AV presentation materials. We never got to the latter as the group stayed around the blow-ups for discussion.

Some of the concerns that were brought up were ...
The loss of parking along Mecklenburg around the proposed traffic circle at Fort & Lynhaven.
This appeared to be addressable for the resident across from MBC with some trimming of the median that leads to the circle.
This appeared to be addressable for Sunday church parking but encouraging diagonal parking in front of the church (on Sundays) and the relocation of the remaining dead bushes to allow for diagonal parking on Fort St.
Many questions/requests were made for the addition of cross-walks on Mecklenburg at either the park or where the sidewalk ends
This was addressed by CDOT as something that will not happen as we do not command sufficient traffic to warrant the additon and they are currently at their limits in trying to maintain the current school crossings they are responsible for.
CDOT also suggested that we add some pedestrian refuge (? pavers ?) in the proposed medians to ease crossing Mecklenburg
There was prior concern and additonal concern at the meeting that there was little affect with the current design to address speeding earlier on Mecklenburg (prior to cresting the hill around Thurmond Pl).
CDOT offered up the suggestion of adding a median between the Plaza and Thurmond Pl (closer to Thrumond Pl) and potentially add signage to create a more neighborhood feel to the entry (potentially adding a gateway sign to the neighborhood).
There was discussion on what else could be done to help encourage street parking and make the road seem narrower (to encourage lower speeds).
Bike lanes which had been previously discussed were debated but ultimately not a good solution because of the use of street parking and their unusability for cyclists in that context.
Striping for parking was discussed but I do not recall the eventual result of that item (I don't believe they were going to persue).
Striping corner bump-outs to suggest parking zones were welcomed as a good alternative to more costly alternatives and could encourage more street parking.
There was concern that the loss of a stop sign at Lynhaven would be a negative trade off (the design/implementation of a traffic circle changes stops to yeilds).
CDOT offered to run a simulation of an alternate configuration that would preserve the stop signs but would have to remove the circle. There was nothing known at the time that it would be as effective (thus a viable option).
The majority appeared to be in agreement that ultimately, the effectiveness of the 5mph traffic circle design was the goal we were trying to achieve (and if another option was as effective, it was an acceptable alternative).

It is unclear if there will be a follow up meeting at this time. I will be in touch with CDOT to see what our next steps should be. Adam & Nicole were present from the board and Nicole was briefed of the meeting summary after she left. The board will meet within two weeks and this will likely be discussed at that time.

WCNC TV picked up the meeting and ran a story on it on their 11 o'clock newscast.

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7.13.2011

Important News!

Community Meeting for Residents Along the Mecklenburg Corridor between Country Club and The Plaza:

Many of you are aware that speeding has been an issue on Mecklenburg Ave. After receiving several resident complaints we began meeting with neighbors and CDOT to discuss ways to slow traffic between The Plaza and Country Club Road.

The proposed solution calls for a Traffic Circle at the intersection of Fort/Lynhaven & Mecklenburg and a Traffic Impeller at the intersections of Norcross/Daniel and Mecklenburg. The intent of these devices is to slow traffic without adding“stops” or “humps”.

Persons with property in the “Impact Zone” will be receving a postcard about this meeting and we’d like to hear their thoughts on the proposed changes. While most people support this proposal it is by no means a “done deal” and CDOT wants their input.

see Mecklenburg Corridor Project for more background

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4.30.2011

I continued meeting with neighbors that were in the "impact" zones along Mecklenburg Ave.

Id In favor Questions/Concerns
04301116 Yes None
04231120 Yes
  1. How would this impact property value in that traffic would be slower, therefore making the homes on the street more compatible with a “neighborhood” (this from a resident on Mecklenburg proper)?
  2. Considering there is a lot of foot and bike traffic today, how much will this implementation itself (traffic circle/impeller as proposed) help those two groups?
04301121 Yes None
04301122 Yes
  1. Can there be some sort of traffic measure added to Beacon Street and Thurmond Pl? The concern is that these two measures will impact speeds once they get there but can anything be done before then (since the 25mph signs seems ineffective).
  2. Can additional 25mph signs be added along the street
04301117 Yes None
04301118 Yes None
04301119 Yes As a renter, how much does our opinion on this matter?
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4.23.2011

I continued meeting with neighbors with less of a focus on Fort Street's sidewalk nomination process preferring to focus on the "impact" zones along Mecklenburg Ave (at Traffic Circle and Impeller locations)

Id In favor Questions/Concerns
04231109 Yes None
04231110 Yes/Indifferent None
04231111 Yes! None
04231112 Yes If the implementation were to be the rain garden, where was the water going to come from to consistently feed this. Follow up: Would like to see a living example in CLT of an impeller.
04231113 Opposed Happy with how things are now and was not interested in having this [construction?] going on at this time.
04231114 Yes Was interested in how the layout will work and how it might affect parking
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4.17.2011

I began meeting with neighbors in earnest focusing on Fort Stret and Lynhaven with a secondary focus of getting signatures/measure of interest in sidewalks (on Fort Street) and trying to see if there was someone that wanted to take ownership of the sidewalk nomination process for Lynhaven.

Id In favor Questions/Concerns
04171101 Yes None
04171102 Yes None
04171103 Yes None
04171104 Yes Agrees this is a very real problem and is in favor, yet has concern for impact on cyclists/roller bladers
04171115 N/A Neither in favor or opposed.
04171105 Yes None
04171106 Yes Was intrested if this would improve or affect property values
04171107 Yes None
04171108 No Does not feel the government should spend tax payer money in this way, felt that this was completely unnecessary.

 

Began nomination form for Fort Street for sidewalk project. Got nine out of 10 signatures. Will return to this process but would like to pursue one issue at a time (and the traffic calming needs to be the top of the list). Would consider having a co-owner of this is anyone seems interested as I don't want this to take up too much time (of the greater traffic calming project). back to top
4.11.2011

I found out through various discussions that there was an ongoing push on Country Club (between Mecklenburg and Matheson) to install road humps. Talking with Sarah earlier in the day, she gave me the contact person heading that project. We spoke on the phone this evening and I shared with him the information we had discovered about various "alternative" approaches to traffic calming and let him know what we had been pursuing. It was unclear if they (Country Club residents) were going to pursue sidewalk nomination process as there had been earlier attempts that went nowhere due to concerns over property use.

I gave him my contact information, emailed him a brief email giving him this URL and followed up by CC'ing him on my communication to Seargent Sloop regarding getting the Radar/Driver Feedback Trailer (he has expressed interest in getting in the queue for using it on Country Club).

As a personal note, this (adding road humps to Country Club) is something I feel that residents on Fort Street and Lynhaven should know as I am concerned this will add to our already existing traffic/speed problem with cut through driving (to Matheson) and if it is bad now, adding road humps to Country Club can only add to that.

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4.9.2011

I began taking in comments and information informally from neighbors to try get an idea of what information I might have to answer.

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3.4.2011

I spoke with Damon DiOrio (CEO, the Charlotte Country Club) on the phone briefly and he was exceptionally cordial to the idea of working with us to both participate in discussions around traffic calming along the Mecklenburg Corridor and talk with members and vendors to be mindful of neighborhood speed limits. I will follow up with him once we have some more information to get out and once we begin to move towards a group meeting. Overall a very good conversation and he seemed very excited to be helpful.

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1.27.2011 Talked with June Blotnick following the Quarterly Meeting as she is clearly one of our "interested" parties. She was extremely helpful at pointing out other names and contacts that we can approach to get their input. This was just an informal and quick overview of what we are doing but we appreciated her input and look forward to talking with her more. back to top
1.19.2011 Sarah, Johanna and Adam met to discuss what options are available for us along the Mecklenburg Corridor and what CDOT recommends (if they have a strong recommendation). back to top
Attendees: Sarah, Johanna, Adam Date/Time: January 19th Location: Fort Street

Options: These traffic calming measures work as “systems.” We do have some global options and some options within options but this is not a cafeteria where we can piece together parts and pieces to make a whole.

Ideally, we’d like to add a traffic circle and impeller combination at Fort Street and Norcross respectively. This would allow for the option of roughly a 33' rain garden or a smaller traditional traffic circle. We will look into if there is a need for additional calming at the area around Thurmond. Thurmond at present does not possess the necessary infrastructure to implement an impeller and there may be no present need.

sAnother option is a refuge-type median system. This would run the length of the corridor (Mecklenburg Avenue between The Plaza and Fort Street) with breaks corresponding to driveways and present a walkway across to the park and has some potential payoff. This is the same type of median in use on East Boulevard. What makes this work on East Blvd. however is the cross-traffic. We may never see the sort of impact as we don’t generate any similar amount of pedestrian cross-traffic.

We discussed other options such as looking into a return to (diagonal) parking for the church in front of it, adding designated (by bump-outs and painted lines) parking around the park but these could be much more disruptive for the immediate neighbors and we are not of a mind that they are preferred measures.

How this is funded … Any project outside of an all-way stop (or road humps) would be a “capital” project. I..e this would be from (already funded) bonds, not from CDOT’s budget. Now while these are not inherently “cheap” solutions, they represent miniscule amounts with regard to the overall expenditures of CDOT and they are not paid for by taxes. Unlike a normal CDOT project, there is no board sponsored letter or petition process for this. CDOT will present the project to the interested parties along the Mecklenburg corridor and if there is agreement, they will move it along.

Completed:

Pending:

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1.7.2011

I spoke w/ Pastor Gary of Midwood Baptist today. He seems very interested in what we are doing and feels that with his congregation, it will only be a benefit to slow traffic down along Mecklenburg Ave. I expressed our want for them to be a part but not any greater or lesser part than anyone else involved and he seems very receptive to that. He also a) though it was a good idea to and b) will be talking to his congregation and the school upstairs about slowing down (recognizing that we are in no way accusing them of the speeding but knowing it’s our due diligence to ask them to participate in trying to slow things down). He will also talk w/ the congregation that rents out the church as well.

The one thing that he will probably bring to us as a concern on their part is the impact of parking with certain traffic calming measures but I told him that was good to bring to the discussion. He would like to find out how feasible it would be to return to plans from far back about adding parking at the front of their building to better accommodate parking (something that was not doable because of traffic flow prior?? - I am not sure the history here, will ask).

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Notes and Correspondence

4.14.2011 Upon a request from several neighbors on Fort and Lynhaven, I asked what it would take to get us into the queue for sidewalks. back to top
Progress and Question on Sidewalks - April 14, 2011 To: Scott Correll From: Adam

Hello Scott, I wasn’t sure if I could contact you directly on this. Do you know if either of these streets are in the queue for sidewalks and if not, can you give me a picture of that process?

The two streets in question are 2500-2600 Fort Street (between Mecklenburg Ave and where it turns into Brook) and Lynhaven.

Thanks and I look forward to finding out more about this,

Adam

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Follow Up/Further Information
April 14, 2011

Scott informed that both streets will require nomination forms . Summarizing the document (in my words):

... ergo, getting the residents to sign the petition in no way guarantees that there will be sidewalks, merely that there is no way at our proximity to public facilities and traffic volume to ever have sidewalks without having a nomination form (petition) first.

Follow Up/Further Information
April 16, 2011

I spoke with a resident on Lynhaven to take on their petition for sidewalks. I didn't feel it was appropriate that I lead that charge but since it was something several residents were interested in, I got the paperwork and found a willing resident to take ownership of that.

4.13.2011 Upon a request from a neighbor, I pursued getting Radar/Driver Feedback Trailer for Fort Street. back to top
Radar/Driver Feedback Trailer request - April 13, 2011 To: Sgt Sloop, Officer Sweatt Cc: Randy Martin From: Adam

I hope you are both well. I am a Plaza Midwood resident and I have been working on a Traffic Calming project for the Mecklenburg Corridor (that’s what I have been calling it – the area from Country Club to The Plaza along Meck). My wife and I (we live on Fort St. behind Midwood Baptist) became concerned w/ the speeds along Fort Street immediate and late last year, I took on the project to discuss options provided by CDOT with neighbors and get buy-in/interest/concerns. Most of our discussions with CDOT are around affecting Mecklenburg.

One of the things that came out of discussions w/ a couple on Fort Street last weekend was an interest in temporarily putting up a Radar/Driver Feedback Trailer in hopes that drivers “seeing” how fast they are going will slow down. I think it’s a great idea even if it only has a temporary benefit. I would also be interested in knowing if I could use any of the data collected later. So the question is, do you guys put us in the queue to get the Feedback Trailer and is the data usable (two separate issues and if I cannot use the data, using this to just slow folks down temporarily would be great). Also, I am cc’ing Randy who is also interested in affecting the speeds along Country Club (between Meck and Matheson) as he may want to get in the same queue for the feedback device.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can lend me on this and thanks for the work you do,

Adam Richman

2530 Fort Street

If you are interested, here is a site I have put together to help me track the history of the project. I will be updating it later this week as I have time to reflect the last few weeks. http://ipsolve.com/PMTraffic/PM_Meck_Corridor_Traffic.htm

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Follow Up/Further Information
April 14, 2011

Officer Sweatt informed that he was going to check on the radar trailer to see if it is available and in the interim, ask radar certified officers to check it out.

Follow Up/Further Information
April 19, 2011

Officer Crum (Eastway Traffic Officer and H.I.T.S. officer) informed that was aware of my discussions with Officer Sweatt and could add that he feels there is a huge problem with speeding in this Mecklenburg Corridor (including the side streets). He has been very active along this area and has written over 50 tickets during the last two weeks. He will be at our next Plaza Midwood Quarterly Meeting (where I am hoping to get a few moments of his time).

1.10.2011 This was the first (of this traffic calming iteration) state of things email to distribute to those below on the list. I brought up deferment to help convey how strongly we are opposed to adding road hump and hoping that we can alleviate some concerns by all neighbors. back to top
Mecklenburg Corridor, Next Steps - January 7, 2011 To: Nicole, Tom, Robie, Mary, Nick Cc: Sarah From: Adam

Morning folks, what a winter wonderland of a Monday!

After getting your email feedback and talking with others, Sarah and I want to take a step back and put some more time between now and when we meet as a larger group. My goals are to spend this time getting in more information and getting that information out to any interested parties along the Mecklenburg Corridor. From here on, both for us and CDOT, when we say the Mecklenburg Corridor, we are referring explicitly to the corridor between Country Club/Fort/Lynhaven and The Plaza heading both east and west (but not concerned about the area east of Country Club).

Here are our immediate plans:

Explaining Deferment: I feel that there might be some misunderstanding as to the subject of deferring road humps EOY 2010. The road hump request was not part of what we want to accomplish – it was an item already on the option list (and I think it predates both Sarah and I). We are not in favor of road humps (fact is, neither of us think it would do anything for what we are trying to do) and deferment was just a way of saying we were not going to pursue them in 2011.

Stay warm and well and hope you can enjoy the snow today. Thanks all,

Adam

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Images, Documents and Links

Meck Corridor Proposal png
Nomination_Form_FINAL_042908.pdf