Buice column: Clemmons — The good and the bad

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2019

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Everyone wants to live in Clemmons, or so it seems, with people moving here in droves. Others are taking notice.

A recent report from GOBankingRates, a personal finance website, placed the village among the top four suburbs in North Carolina.

The new study focused on the best places to raise a family on the edges of large metropolitan areas throughout the country. The website identified four large cities in N.C. with suburbs considered to be the best in the state: Winston-Salem (Clemmons), Charlotte (Harrisburg), Durham (Carrboro) Raleigh (Clayton).

The study analyzed various factors, including the cost of living, quality of schools and safety in suburban areas near the largest cities across the country, breaking it down state by state.

The specific factors included: median home list price and median month rent (sourced from Zillow’s May 2019 index); annual cost of groceries, health care, utilities and transportation (sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017-19 Consumer Expenditure Survey); quality of school districts (sourced from Niche); and violent and property crime rates per 1,000 residents (sourced from Neighborhood Scout).

The study cited specific reasons that two of the four were considered to be among the top suburbs in N.C. — Clayton (for the cheapest housing costs, with a median home list price of $266,660 and an average rent of $1,392 per month) and Carrboro (for the best school district, identifying Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools receiving an A-plus grade from Niche for overall quality).

No other breakdown was provided for Clemmons and Harrisburg, but obviously all the factors weighed in to making the select list of suburbs.

The conclusion stated: “It’s easy to see why the suburban lifestyle can be appealing. Overall, suburban communities tend to be wealthier, better-educated and healthier in comparison to their inner-city and rural counterparts.”

There’s no doubt that except for the horrific traffic at certain times on Lewisville-Clemmons Road (more on this below), there are many reasons Clemmons is appealing to those looking for a great place to live.

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Mentioning Lewisville-Clemmons Road reminded me of a subject that got less flattering results a few months back when I wrote in this space about Clemmons receiving the No. 1 ranking for having the worst drivers in N.C.

The village claimed the top (or worst) spot in the ratings put out by QuoteWizard, which is in the insurance lead business.

I figured we got the top spot more for the bad traffic, particularly during the rush hours and lunchtime, and thought QuoteWizard representatives might have driven down Lewisville-Clemmons Road at the wrong time.

I wondered about the methodology involved in determining what a “worst driver” was and saw the company’s research team evaluated driver quality from the 50 largest cities in North Carolina by population: “We analyzed 2018 data of over 80,000 insurance quotes from N.C. drivers using QuoteWizard to find the rate of overall incidents in each city. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and citations.”

Commenting specifically on Clemmons, it stated: “With a busy I-40 running southwest of the larger city (Winston-Salem) into Clemmons, there’s plenty of road traffic to rack up incidents in the city. Forsyth County accounted for 42 road fatalities, 11.16 per 100,000 residents, in 2017.”

OK, some of those numbers don’t look so good, but the NCDOT and Clemmons agreed around this time last year to work together on proposed improvements for Lewisville-Clemmons Road and the I-40 interchange (NCDOT Project U-6004), and planned to meet and discuss this week more specifics on where things stand with the project.

But then came the recent news from NCDOT that all preconstruction activities on this project — and others statewide — were put on hold until further notice because of budgetary challenges created by the impact of recovery efforts from Hurricanes Florence and Michael, rockslides, snowstorms and isolated flash floods as well as settlement expenses related to Map Act cases.

Last week, NCDOT officials backed off the being “on hold” stance somewhat, saying it was a just a matter of the state being reimbursed by the federal government.

Regardless, it’s not going to get better any time soon, meaning Clemmons will likely continue to be in the running for the No. 1 ranking for worst drivers for the foreseeable future.

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Speaking of cities, I’ve always thought it was amazing that Clemmons has about 20,000 residents and that the Jerry Long Family YMCA right in the heart of town has 15,000 members. That’s a city within itself.