Clemmons walks away from ped plan

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Council opts for comprehensive transportation update

The Clemmons Village Council decided to take a different path with future transportation needs in Monday night’s meeting by putting the brakes on a pedestrian plan to take a more comprehensive approach.
One of the action items on the agenda was an interlocal agreement for a pedestrian study to provide an overview of existing conditions and recommend plans and policies to improve the existing network.
However, after planner Nasser Rahimzadeh reviewed using Surface Transportation Block Grant Direct Attributable (STBG-DA) funds for its plan, consisting of $40,000 of STBG-DA funds, with a $10,000 match from Clemmons — making a total of $50,000 — council member Mike Combest suggested a better solution would be “to look at it more comprehensively.”
Rahimzadeh said that an adjustment to the interlocal agreement in place with the Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization was to make sure the village would not be penalized as it was likely this would spill over into July 2023 — beyond the 2022-23 fiscal year — for finishing the local agreement.
Council member Mary Cameron asked if this study would include the area that’s in the NCDOT’s proposed changes to Lewisville-Clemmons Road.
Rahimzadeh responded that “I think that’s a yes,” but he added “we haven’t gotten to that point yet” and that paperwork was just being completed.
Council member Bradley Taylor then raised the question if this bicycle/pedestrian plan would complement a future transportation plan after extensive discussions at the last two meetings about needing to update the transportation plan, which was last done in 2009, and talking about the Village Point Small Area Plan, etc.
Rahimzadeh said that this $50,000 was geared to the pedestrian plan, and then there’s the additional $200,000 that was originally set aside for a previous Kinnamon Bridge study that was shifted to go toward a comprehensive traffic study for the village.
“Those key intersections will just be traffic studies/analysis and hopefully that will build into the village updating its transportation plan — probably a few years from then,” he said.
To that point, Cameron commented: “The only problem with that is stuff changes.”
Rahimzadeh countered by saying: “The hope is when this information gets finished we get to an actual transportation plan that deals with automobiles, because a comprehensive transportation plan has to include all forms of transportation. We can include the data from this ped plan directly into the comprehensive transportation plan.”
That’s when Combest gave his take: “My instinct says that we have a 13-year-old transportation plan, it seems if we’re going to update that, we’re going to look at that comprehensively because the risk is if we update portion A, whether it be bicycles or pedestrians or traffic only, that can inadvertently become a driver of the other transportation aspects. I would recommend that, unless it’s time sensitive, that we ask the question what would it take to do a comprehensive update and is there a possibility we could sequence it by mode of transportation. The comprehensive plan would tell us what to prioritize. If we’re going to spend $50K, and I get it’s not all our money, I would instinctively think what could we get for a full update?”
If that would be the direction sought by the council, Rahimzadeh said he would recommend setting the $50,000 aside and combine it into one package with the other $200,000 that’s already in place.
“Every comprehensive transportation plan has to be multimodal in nature,” he said. “$250,000 would get you a pretty product.”
Ultimately, the council agreed by consensus to table the interlocal agreement, and as Combest said, “work it into a comprehensive update as stated by the planner. I think it will be a more productive use of the money and give us a longer payoff as well.”
In last Tuesday’s Clemmons Planning Board meeting, Rahimzadeh notified the planning board that the Village of Clemmons was withdrawing the rezoning request for Zoning Docket C-250, which had called for a public hearing of a zoning map amendment for real property owned by the village from RS-40 (Single-Family Residential) to RM-8 (Multifamily Residential) for property at 2838 Harper Road consisting of 15.29 acres as shown on a parcel aerial located in the Village of Clemmons Planning Department and on the Village of Clemmons website.
Also in last week’s meeting, Rahimzadeh announced that he would be leaving his position in Clemmons as planning and community development director, effective at the end of the month. No formal announcement was made in Monday night’s council meeting.
Rahimzadeh, who was hired to the position in July 2019, thanked the planning board for their service and taking their role seriously, always doing research, and taking the large amounts of information and data he provided them into consideration for their decisions.
Tom Mekis, chairman of the board, thanked Rahimzadeh for his service to the board and community.
In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:
• Approved Resolution 2022-R-13 declaring the council’s intention to consider the closing of the right-of-way on Upland Road, and approved Resolution 2022-R-14 declaring the council’s intention to consider the closing of the right-of-way on Clouds Harbor Trail.
• Approved a budget amendment for the reallocation of American Rescue Plan Act Funds for stormwater projects, which was explained as “an accounting procedure.”
• Approved the resignation of council member Michelle Barson from her position as a Transportation Advisory Committee alternate. Bradley Taylor was approved as her replacement. Combest serves as the council’s primary representative.