Broughton Band Selected to Return to Rose Parade

CongratsWideCongratulations are in order for the Broughton High School band which tonight revealed their invitation to participate in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade. This is a true honor for the band as they recently participated in the 2008 parade. This was expected to be Band Director Jeffrey (J.R.) Richardson’s final year teaching. However his announcement before tonight’s homecoming game came as a shock to band members, parents, and alumni alike. Congratulations BHS!


City Mulling Crabtree Roadway Options

crabtreeroads The City of Raleigh released their Public Review Draft Report for the Crabtree Valley Transportation Study at the City Council meeting on September 7, 2010. The study looks at several options for easing traffic woes while increasing safety and walkability in the area near Crabtree Valley Mall. The City Council  opened a public comment period for 30 days, with comments due by 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2010.

The website for this review shows PDFs of 9 or so different plans for the area. It appears that some central themes include putting more pressure on Crabtree Valley Avenue, enabling Ridge Road traffic to access Glenwood Avenue without entering 440E, and converting all speed ramp accesses to right turns.

To begin, I passionately hate the idea of removing entrance ramps and replacing them with 90-degree turns. Somewhat recent changes at Western Blvd. and I-440 resulted in a right turn to access 440 East. The result has been more unexpected brake tapping as queues build to access the acceleration ramp. Additionally this move wastes energy as drivers have to trim much speed, make the turn, then accelerate aggressively to reach cruising speeds on I-440. Surely the pedestrian was in mind, but this intersection has about a 100,000:1 car/pedestrian ratio. These pedestrians only have to manage crossing 12 feet while monitoring traffic from one direction. If the DOT wants those accessing the ramp to hold a slow speed until after passing the pedestrian crossing, then they should use signage and corrugated pavement to slow drivers.

I really like the idea of winding Ridge Road traffic around to Glenwood Ave and requiring it to use the ramp system there to access 440. This will allow the existing Ridge Road ramp area to play a role in accessing Crabtree Valley Avenue. I also feel that Crabtree Valley Avenue can become an important piece to this puzzle.

The nine plans must be considered for not only their effectiveness, but also their costs. They are as follows:

Plan (pdf) Cost est. ($mill) Feature
A1 29.5 No ramp over Ridge
A3 44.3 Ramp over Ridge
A3b 40.1 Exit cuts into land
A4 65.7 Lead Mine Flyover
A4b 52.8 1 Glenwood Flyover
A5b 89.9 Glenwood Flyovers
B1 21.4 Flyover to CVA
B2 7.9 Add 2 lights on CVA
B4 10.0 Reroutes CVA
"Ridge Road" 11.2 Changes cloverleafs

There is an additional plan called “Ridge Road” (.pdf) that appears to be the economy model. It removes cloverleafs for people exiting Glenwood in either direction, and reopens the one from 440E to Glenwood West. The problem with this plan is that it adds a signal to the west side of the intersection, requiring people going from Glenwood West to 440W to use a left turn signal. It also reintroduces the original problem with Glenwood’s cloverleaf; traffic entering and exiting 440E must cross over each other. This plan does, however, call for this zone to extend from the current Ridge Road entrance to beyond the Glenwood bridge. The plan would be cheap, but would not reduce accidents and really would not improve traffic on 440E as the loop exit only has a 1-car-wide queue.

Elements from the plans that I like:

  • Removing all exiting traffic from 440E at the current Ridge Road exit, before entering traffic has access to I-440.
  • Routing Ridge Road with the exiting 440E traffic over to Glenwood Ave.
  • Using Arrow Drive as a crescent, only accessible from Glenwood and Blue Ridge Roads.
  • In order for Crabtree Valley Avenue to truly be accessed efficiently, the flyovers in Plan B1 will be needed. However they may not be needed in the short term, as traffic can use existing Creedmoor Rd to access CVA and its 440 accesses.
  • I like the ramp design off of 440E in Plan A3b. It cuts into the existing woods just before the existing Ridge Road intersection and offers a more gentle curve. People will want the ramp’s ascension to help trim their speed gently, and that will cause fewer ripples back onto I-440E than the plans which call for using the existing, sharp exit shape.

Elements that are Not Necessary:

  • The plans to reroute Crabtree Valley Avenue up the Edwards Mill hill behind where Brendle’s was seem to accomplish nothing. In fact, they remove any possibility of gracefully linking the avenue with Glenwood.
  • The Lead Mine access flyovers to 440E and Glenwood are an expensive solution. What might work better is a modified-SPUI where Lead Mine road flies over Glenwood to become Blue Ridge Road. It should be designed, however, to send 440-bound traffic on southbound Lead Mine over to the Crabtree Valley Ave access, instead of using Glenwood Avenue’s access.
  • 440W direct access to North Hills Drive (as seen in the “Ridge Road” plan).
  • The plans, such as A3, which show westbound Ridge Road traffic passing under the ramps that access Crabtree Valley Avenue. Westbound Ridge Road would be a lightly traveled road, and a simple stop sign to cross over exiting 440E traffic should suffice and save a lot of money. Also I feel strongly that Varnell Avenue’s access remain open to Ridge Road. I don’t like the idea of limiting a neighborhood’s access to major roads to only one point.
  • All plans call for removing the signal for traffic exiting Crabtree onto Blue Ridge Road, and converting the access to a right in/right out. This calls for all traffic intending to go northbound on Lead Mind to instead use the Homewood Banks/Crabtree Valley Avenue access to get over to northbound Blue Ridge/Lead Mine. The increased pressure on this parking lot intersection probably calls for either a signal on private property or a roundabout.

I’m not the only one with an opinion, though. Be sure to send yours via email to or via regular mail to:

Fleming El-Amin
City of Raleigh Public Works Dept.
P.O. Box 590
Raleigh, NC 27602


TWC to Show UNC/ECU Game

The UNC/ECU game on Saturday is scheduled for coverage by Unfortunately all of the aspects of the recent legal agreement between ESPN’s parent company and Time Warner Cable have not been ironed out yet, and is not yet available for TWC customers. Thankfully Time Warner announced today that they will air the game on channel 520. Gametime is 3:30.


Party Tonight with the R2D2 Droid

r2d2 At 10pm tonight the Verizon store at Brier Creek will be holding an R2D2 Droid release party. The special version of Verizon’s popular Android phone features markings of the most famous droid of all on its back. The store will stock 200 of these limited edition phones, and customers are limited to two each.

For those interested in other Android phones, you may find a confusing array of choices across the four carriers. Don’t feel bad. There are 26 different Android phones that have been in the conversation this year. Not sure what carrier has the Captivate, the Vibrant, or the G2? Never fear! gogoraleigh has created The Ultimate Android Spreadsheet to straighten all of this out. This sheet was discussed recently on both Engadget Mobile’s and (C|Net’s) Buzz Out Loud’s podcasts because it shows the price levels, brand names, availability dates (of upcoming phones), and distinguishing features of the current Android phone market. Hopefully it will help others as much as it helped me in beginning my search for the next phone.,


Meat House, HomeGoods Coming to Falls Village

meathouse1[1] If the old saying “adversity breeds opportunity” is true, then look no further than Falls Village for an example. Almost three years ago The Fresh Market closed their Falls Village store and moved to the former Harris Teeter space in Sutton Square. The anchor space in Falls Village sat vacant, casting doubt on the center’s viability in its original orientation.

A new tenant is finally on the way for the center, however. HomeGoods will open later this year/early 2011 in the space, complimenting the long-successful TJ Maxx in that center.

map it

Even better news, however, is the arrival of The Meat House to the center’s outparcel. In the space formerly occupied by Mattress Warehouse, next to Moe’s, The Meat House will open in February. It will be the chain’s second area store and will bring all of the delicious fresh and marinated meats to North Raleigh that Cary has been enjoying all year.

map it

Now to fill that space where Books-A-Million just closed…


Find a Pumpkin Patch

pumpkins With the heat finally broken, it’s time to think about fall activities like pumpkin patches and corn mazes. The most famous around here is arguably Ken’s Korny Corn Maze, and it recently opened for the season. However, there are many other options. Pumpkin Patches & More is a great resource for finding options for fall fun.


Total Wine Moving to The Lassiter?

Ever since Harris Teeter’s disastrous move across the Mississippi (Six Forks) to North Hills East, there has been a lot of talk about what would fill the old North Hills Plaza grocery store space. Many have lobbied for a specialty foods vendor or a bookstore. However word from a viable source is that Total Wine will move from its space tucked away in North Hills to the large, empty space in The Lassiter. While it is a huge step up from the little wine shop that once sat on the back side of the plaza, the news comes as a disappointment to people hoping the space would add a new opportunity for shoppers.


Capital Creations Remains Open

Just to clear up any confusion…last week Capital Creations pizza had to close their Medlin Drive location, but their Wake Forest Road location remains open.


BikeFest Returns This Weekend

The Fayetteville Street area of Downtown Raleigh will be swarmed on Friday and Saturday with sounds of thousands of motorcycles, live music, and shows. The annual Ray Price Capital City Bike Fest returns for its 6th year, and is once again free.

Deep South Entertainment will provide musical entertainment ranging from Back Seat Confidential (an all-girl AC/DC cover band) to rising country star Matt Stillwell. In total, more than 16 bands, dance troops, and martial artists will perform on two stages during the two-day event.


Oktoberfest Returns to Bavarian Brathaus

brathauslogo-full This year Oktoberfest comes to two different weekends at the Cary location of the Bavarian Brathaus. While the first has passed, the second comes Friday when the Little German Band will play beginning at 6pm.

There will also be sessions on Saturday night and on Sunday afternoon featuring entertainment and a buffet dinner. Tickets are $37 for adults and $12 for children, and include seating to see & hear the band, a full on buffet including: Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, German Potato Salad, Sauerkraut, Drunken Bavarian Chicken, Vienna Salad, dinner rolls. Space is limited and will be Stammtisch Style meaning every one will be seated on large tables together with other parties. There will also be some door prizes.


Do Not Pass Me…

Superchunk made their way to NYC and appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night where they played “Digging for Something”. Catch it before YouTube gets the takedown notice:

As a bonus NBC has posted Superchunk’s off-the-air performance of “Precision Auto” from the (awesome) 1993 “On The Mouth” CD.


Marshall Crenshaw Coming to Berkeley Cafe Wednesday

On Wednesday (9/22), starting at 8 PM (with no opener), Marshal Crenshaw will be coming to the Berkeley Cafe. Tickets are $20.

If you are a fan of artists like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Don Dixon, Buddy Holly, you will love Marshall. A quote from Trouser Press sums up Marshall Crenshaw’s early career: “Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself.” All Music Guide captured Crenshaw’s vibe perfectly: “He writes songs that are melodic, hooky and emotionally true, and he sings and plays them with an honesty and force that still finds room for humor without venom.”


Four Tops and Temptations Coming to DPAC

Motown-Temptations-Four-Tops Two classic Motown groups are coming to the DPAC on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Tickets go on sale Friday morning (9/24) at 10am. KIX 102.9 is giving away tickets, too. Listen for the TOPS/TEMPS sounder, played each day this week. They will play the sounder between 6am and 3pm.

top -->