::Raleigh Saves Trails For Rich Homeowners
By Edward R. Brown
Raleigh Chronicle Investigative Reporter
Monday, August 20, 2007
RALEIGH - In a move that seems to be a nod to new high-end homeowners in the area, the City of Raleigh has spent tax dollars to eliminate all parking on Reedy Creek Road next to a popular greenways trail, erected "No Parking" signs, and even put stone barriers to be placed on the side of the road to keep people out of the area.
Since none of the changes were made before the homes were built, there seems to be a clear connection between the addition of the new houses and the city's changes to preserve the area for the new homeowners.
Before the new upscale subdivisions in the area were under construction, Reedy Creek Road on that side of Edwards Mill Road wasn't even paved.
It's generally accepted to that it's much easier to sell mansions on a paved road than on a gravel road, so perhaps that is one explanation in the sudden paving in the last year or so after being gravel for decades.
Ironically, one of the new subdivisions, The Lakes At Umstead, features pictures of the the very same natural area that those who can't afford an $800,000 home used to be able to enjoy on the street.
"Our vision and design mission was to preserve this natural beauty and serenity...
this offering is unique as one of the last places where you can build a custom home in a truly beautiful setting," says the website which has pictures of Schenck Forest, the cows across the street, and even the greenways trail.
Now, with the development of two high end subdivisions in the area, Raleigh has decided to put an end to people parking on the street to enjoy the trail or other natural areas and has spent considerable tax dollars to make it happen.
The lots alone at the subdivisions are selling for as much as $380,000, so developers must be glad that the City of Raleigh is protecting their investments and improving the value of their properties by keeping those with lower incomes out of the area.
To that goal, the city has placed several "No Parking" signs along the right hand side of the road to keep joggers and trail walkers from parking there to use the trail.
On the left hand side of the road, the city has allowed large stone columns to be built in the right of way to block cars from parking there. It's not clear if the stones were placed there by the developers or the city, but the stonework matches a center median on the road after it was paved.
When the city paved the road, they inserted a unique stone median to make the road wider and to eliminate any extra areas on the side of the road for cars to park. Such medians in a very low volume traffic setting are rare in Raleigh and medians made out of expensive stone pavers are almost unheard of in the city.
In addition, an off-road parking area where the trail enters the woods has been completely eliminated.
For years, visitors were able to park off the road and enjoy the trails, beautiful Schenck Forest area, and the lake next to it.
Where there used to be several dozen people using the trail every day from outside of the area, there seemed be none that we spoke to who were not associated with NC State University. NCSU owns Schenck Forest and allows its employees to park up the street at one of its facilities.
For now, for Raleigh citizens who want to enjoy the natural area, they have two choices. They can either buy a home for $800,000 or more -- or they can literally walk along the trail from several miles away.
Either way, the city has succeeding in making the area off limits to those who are not associated with landowners in the area.
Calls made to a Raleigh greenways official in an effort to find out if the developer or NC State University contributed to road paving or the median stone paving were not immediately returned. ::