Worsening traffic near Crabtree could mean no new retail - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Worsening traffic near Crabtree could mean no new retail

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New retail stores may not be able to set up shop near Crabtree Valley Mall.

City leaders in Raleigh are discussing the possibility of restricting new stores, in an effort to fix the worsening traffic problem.

"Over the last 30 years I've been driving through the Crabtree area, the traffic gets heavier and heavier," explained one driver.

During peak hours the intersection of Glenwood Ave. and Lead Mine Rd. can become gridlocked, and city leaders know it.

"A level of service "F" is about as bad as you can get and that area clearly is a level of service "F". It's failing," explained Mitchell Silver, Planning Director for the city of Raleigh.

City staff studied the intersection and found during the morning rush, the intersection will see about 8500 cars per hour. During afternoon rush hour, that number jumps up to about 10,000 cars per hour which they say is way over capacity.

Average wait time were anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes.

"Council asked staff to do a study and the price tag was significant. It was 50 to 100 million dollars in order to fix the intersection," Silver said.

The city council was not ready to spend that much money, so one plan now is to restrict new retail.

Other office and residential development would still be allowed. Planners say its shopping that tends to bring the most traffic.

However, landowners aren't backing the new plan and say the city shouldn't limit any development.

"Certainly it's a mall and they're very concerned about capping the amount of retail," explained Silver.

 "I don't want to see them limiting retail, but obviously something needs to be done," said one shopper.

"We know the traffic counts will be close to I-40 levels over the next 20 years," said Silver.

City leaders say long term plans could include an entirely new highway or road that would bypass mall traffic all together. Silver says since the roads are state owned, it will take the NC Department of Transportation to fund any long-term fixes.

If city council approves the proposed plan, it will go before a public hearing on July 16th.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Born in California but growing up in South Carolina, Jonathan Rodriguez joined WNCN in June 2013 as a digital journalist. More>>

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