Residents concerned about speeding issues in neighborhood

Published 12:10 am Thursday, October 25, 2018

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Although Lewisville-Clemmons Road might rank at the top of the list among traffic concerns in Clemmons, there are issues on other roads in the fast-growing community.

Just ask residents on Gardenspring Drive, who came to Monday night’s Clemmons Village Council to talk about what they feel has become a “dangerous place” because of an “enormous speeding problem” on their street.

“I don’t feel safe walking my dog,” said Sharon Jennings, who lives on the street, which is used as a cut through from the growing number of developments along Peace Haven Road to Lasater Road. “I do not feel safe walking to get my mail. I don’t feel safe, period. I’ve seen people coming through our neighborhood, doing 50, 60, and there’s a blind hill and an intersection at the end.”

Jennings was one of six residents in that community to address the council during the public comments portion of the meeting, all seeking solutions to the speeding problem “before someone gets killed.” They petitioned the council several years ago to reduce the speeding limit from 35 mph to 25 mph but said that’s had little impact.

There have also been electronic speed signs put up and citations handed out to no avail. One solution, which was mentioned several times, is speed humps.

“Our group has spoken with several residents at Arbor Run, a neighborhood in Lewisville,” said Laurie Fitzgerald. “and they have speed humps. We’ve also spoken with the HOA president in Arbor Run, and the mayor of Lewisville, Mike Horn, who also lives in Arbor Run. Both said they have tried many different speed calming measures, but the speed humps have been the only effective measure to reduce the speed. The residents of Gardenspring need a permanent solution to our speeding problem.”

Leo Alley, who lives on Sandhurst Drive (another cut through that borders Gardenspring and petitioned the council to have its speed limit lowered to 25 mph years ago) also had “Slow Children Playing” signs put up. But that didn’t help either for kids or elderly residents who are scared to get near the street.

“If you drive through our neighborhood, one thing you will notice, and there are young people who are moving back to our neighborhood, is that you won’t see them out playing because it’s not safe,” Alley said. “It’s really not safe to be out there.”

Alley said he conducted a personal test to see how long it would take to get from Waterford on Peace Haven Road to Harper Road and then to I-40 – and that it took exactly four minutes. Then he used the cut through with Lasater, Sandhurst/Gardenspring to Fair Oaks Drive and I-40, and it was just 55 seconds shorter.

“It has gotten to be worse, and I hope it’s something you will address in the near future,” Alley said.

Council members Michelle Barson and P.J. Lofland mentioned that this was something that came up during the retreat early in the year and that they were passionate about finding solutions to make neighborhoods safer.

And Mayor John Wait said that although there usually are not responses to public comments, he said that even before Monday night’s meeting staff had reached out to Public Works Director Mike Gunnell to work on traffic-calming measures to present to council.

“If everyone in our community came and presented things in the tone and manner in which you have done so tonight, I think that we can accomplish a whole lot in this town,” Wait said. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you coming and expressing your opinions forcefully but politely as you did.”
In other news on the highways, speaking of Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Wait said that it was confirmed as the No. 1 project on the local list for the Transportation Advisory Committee and Technical Coordinating Committee in last week’s meeting.

“Where that project ranked among all the projects at the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) at the division needs level sort of underscores that we need to keep the conversation going with DOT to make sure that we can get the best project we can out of it and also all the affected businesses up and down that stretch there,” Wait said.

In September, the council approved making improvements to Lewisville-Clemmons Road, including a median from I-40 to Stadium Drive and a new interchange at I-40, and allocating all Transportation Advisory Committee points to the project.

Planner Megan Ledbetter said that final right-of-way acquisitions were being verified and secured on the U.S. 158 sidewalk project and that construction authorization to bid the project should follow in the coming weeks.

In the planner’s report, Ledbetter said that she and Aaron King, the planner director from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, sent a draft memorandum on Monday to Buffkin and Dudley Watts, Forsyth County manager, regarding Tanglewood Business Park zoning options and any modifications that need to be made and/or the next steps in the process.

Also, Ledbetter said that she and Gunnell had met with representatives of the Regional Transportation Authority for signage that would be placed in two locations in the Clemmons jurisdiction for the PART Shuttle Service, which will begin on Monday. The two bus stops will be at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical location at the corner of Peace Haven and Lewisville-Clemmons roads and at the north end of town at Shiki’s on River Center Drive.

In other business, the council:

• Appointed Ted Guenther as the Clemmons representative to the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission.

• Heard from Scott Buffkin in the manager’s report that work was continuing on Phase II of the Market Center Drive project and hoping there may be some movement with the Kmart owners on that portion of project. Buffkin added that discussions have been going on regarding a revision of the Clemmons 101 classroom concept, transitioning to more of a “behind the scenes tour of Clemmons government.” A tentative date has been set for Feb. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Public Works, and he said the new plan is still “a work in progress.”

• Heard from Barson, who has worked on a contracts review process for the Village, which will include all contracts going forward will have up to a two-year expiration period only along with a staggered system for the election cycle where all council members will be more involved in the process.

• Decided by consensus to seek more information for possible live streaming of council meetings from Strategic Connections, which has offered an option with a one-time cost of $6,463, after looking at a couple of other options reviewed by Steve Gearren, director of operations.

• Received an update from Michael Tingle, who is chairman of the Ad-hoc Transportation Committee that was formed earlier this year. He said the two key areas of focus have been assisting the Village with any transportation or traffic issues as requested and rewriting the comprehensive Village transportation and traffic plan. Tingle said that the last transportation plan was completed 10 years ago and that he hoped the revision should be completed in September 2019.

• Called for public hearings after the recent annexation of property in previous meetings to modify the zoning from county zoning (RS30) to Village zoning for the respective locations at the intersection of Peace Haven and Harper roads, and Lewisville-Clemmons Road.

• Heard from Wait, who read a proclamation recognizing Veterans Day 2018 on Monday, Nov. 12, and also mentioned that the regular council meeting on that night will instead be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the marketing/communications report that the Fire Department Appreciation Day will be at Mamma Mia’s Italian Ice from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m on Nov. 6, the Flag Retirement Ceremony in honor of veterans at the Clemmons Civic Club will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 13, and the Annual Tree Lighting will be at 6 p.m. at Village Hall.