Friday, August 14, 2015

The Ghost Of The Florida Street Extension Returns

Back in 2012 then Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins infuriated East Greensboro voters when he made known his intentions to extend Florida Street across the NC A&T Farm to McConnell Road. At the East Greensboro Summit he showed us plans to build a 2 lane road across the farm.

From the Carolina Peacemaker November 1, 2013:

"This proposed project which has been in the city’s sights for decades and opposed by past A&T administrators for just as long, triggered outrage among university alumni, students as well as current and retired university faculty. Perkins’ opinion on this issue changed when those in opposition pointed out that pushing for the Florida Street extension would be “political suicide,” especially during an election year. "

The Florida Street Extension crawled under a rock for the 2013 elections but as of January 17, 2014 the Greensboro Metropolitan Planning Organization was still planning to build the Florida Street Extension.

"Florida Street Extension, Local ID: GUA-L006
In the 2035 Greensboro Urban Area LRTP, the Florida Street Extension project is within the 2015 horizon year. Florida Street currently terminates at NC 6 (East Lee Street). Extending it is needed to provide connectivity to McConnell Road (SR 3000). 

The LRTP project proposal (Local ID: GUA-L006) is to construct on new location a 4-lane divided boulevard from NC 6 (East Lee Street) to McConnell Road (SR 3000). The project also includes widening on existing McConnell Road and Mount Hope Church Road. This will provide east-west traffic flow continuity along McConnell Road/Florida Street travel corridor  that bypasses the central business district.  For additional information about this project, including the Purpose and Need, contact the Greensboro Department of Transportation."

Wow, that's even bigger than we were told it was going to be. Robbie showed us plans to build a 2 lane road but this document clearly states, " to construct on new location a 4-lane divided boulevard from NC 6 (East Lee Street) to McConnell Road (SR 3000)." 
Here's a link to the 1st  proposed version with a divided 2 lane with sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

And here's the 2nd version with sidewalk, multi-use path and bicycle lanes.

And to think, that's only 1/2 mile west of the long proposed K-mart connector:

"Alan Branson asked if Ward Road had already been funded. McIntyre noted it had be studied by NCDOT, but not funded. Meyer noted the McLeansville Road project which is going to construction in 2015."

Ward Road follows the path of the proposed K-mart Connector, part of a Guilford County Incentive Package that took hundreds, perhaps thousands of acres in right-of-ways from property owners along a path running from the K-mart Distribution Center all the way to Interstate 40 over 2 decades ago but was never built. To this date all that land remains vacant-- another give-a-way of Guilford County property just waiting to happen someday as area developers consider all public properties to be their very own private land banks.

Whatever happened to public properties being used to fill public needs?

Did you also happen to notice that Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan, Councilman Jamal Fox and Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter are all members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization with our Mayor being the Chair?

On October 1, 2014 Yes! Weekly reported:

"A projected $3.5 million extension of Florida Street is no longer feasible given community opposition. City planners had wanted to extend Florida Street across Lee Street through the Gateway University Research Park and NC A&T State University’s research farm. The road would have extended to McConnell Road.

But neighbors and members of the university community expressed opposition to the road project. Members of the university community sought to keep the research farm intact for the time being. Meyer told the planning committee that the city doesn’t intend to pursue the Florida Street project at this time, despite the lack of high volume north-south routes in that area."
 Was the City of Greensboro lying to Jeffery Sykes and the citizens of East Greensboro? The emphasis added above is mine and should be considered the key words. Not at this time is another way of saying we have every intention of doing it at a later time-- get it.

Again, the November 2012 City of Greensboro handout said:

But this document dated January 2014 with Nancy Barakat Vaughan in charge still claims the Florida Street Extension is on the books and is to be a 4 lane divided highway. It's page II 17, click the link and see for yourself. Like Robbie, Nancy lied, the Florida Street Extension still lives and is bigger and a greater threat than ever before.

You see, they've yet to tell you but they plan to connect Florida Street to the Urban Loop on the North side of Greensboro by way of Franklin Blvd and Huffine Mill Road thus turning Florida, Franklin, Huffine Mill and yes even Phillips Avenue into major inter city thoroughfares for all those commuters living in the burbs wanting to avoid the crush on the Urban Loop.

You only need study a City map to understand. And no one on Council bothered to make East Greensboro aware of any of this-- why?