Wait, what? WHAT? You mean, the City of Raleigh finally put a sidewalk in on Frank Street? It did not matter that I had just driven 150 miles from the beach and had yet to unpack, I had to drop everything and take a look at this miraculous public works project.
It was over five years ago that I pulled out all the stops to convince the City to install this sidewalk. In 2012, I filled out the city’s petition, knocked on the requisite doors, and came within one vote of success. That one vote, though, was impossible to acquire, even though I went the extra effort to show what it would mean to the neighborhood kids and their parents.
I begged. I pleaded. I charmed. And when that didn’t work I may have even pestered a bit. A bit.
But I never gave up. I could not let this one vote deep-six a project that would be so beneficial to the community.
It was time to regroup, so now I went directly to council. One vote is preventing this project, I told them. I need your help to make this worthy project a reality.
I made my case and they agreed! My project was added to the list. I thought my sidewalk might appear with 2-3 years and went about my business. Here is the report to Council after the item returned from the Public Works committee:
SIDEWALK/CROSSWALK – FRANK STREET – PUBLIC HEARING AUTHORIZED
Chairperson Baldwin reported, by split vote, the Law and Public Safety Committee recommends waiving the 75% requirement for accepting a petition to include a sidewalk/crosswalk on Frank Street with the understanding the project would go through a public hearing process. On behalf of the Committee, Ms. Baldwin moved the recommendation be upheld. Her motion was seconded by Mr. Maiorano. Mr. Odom stated he thinks this is a real problem and we need to look at the entire policy. Mr. Crowder talked about the possibility of changing the policy to 50 plus 1. The motion as stated was put to a roll call vote which resulted in all members voting in the affirmative except Mr. Odom and Mr. Crowder who voted in the negative. The Mayor ruled the motion adopted on a 6-2 vote.
Later in the meeting under Council report, Mr. Crowder talked about reallocation of sidewalk, funding, etc. He asked that an item be placed on the next agenda as a special item to talk about the percentage a person needs to get for a sidewalk improvement petition. He stated 75% is not democratic. He feels we need to consider this and it was agreed to place it on the next agenda.
But even though Council approved it it still languished. There are more city sidewalk projects and not enough funding. I knew Frank St. would have to compete with the other projects. Still, with city staff saying it was one of the most worthy projects they had seen I thought it would move sooner. When it did not materialize after a few years, though, I supposed the city had somewhere put the brakes on it and I wondered if I would ever see it.
So today was a victory for me that was a long time coming.