Items from across the Triad and beyond
SUMMIT AVENUE REALIGNMENT
Minor adjustments to a busy intersection could enhance the flow of traffic and pedestrians in the area between the future LeBauer Park and the Tanger Center for the Performing Arts.
City planners received the green light from Greensboro’s City Council to realign the intersection of Summit Avenue and Davie Street, improving the angular intersection into a more traditional 90-degree T-shape.
Assistant City Manager David Parrish presented the plan to council at its work session on Tuesday. The plans will add an additional turn lane at each approach and improve pedestrian crossways in three places.
In an interview Thursday, Parrish said that city staff realized that with the amount of pending work in that area, there was an opportunity to address longstanding concerns with that intersection’s limited functionality. With a large increase in pedestrian traffic expected when the park and the PAC are finished, making a more natural intersection part of the construction plans seemed obvious.
The street realignment will cost about $2.4 million, according to estimates provided to city council. The Summit Ave work will run $1.5 million and involve the primary street realignment. About $200,000 will be spent to improve pedestrian access on Davie Street, with another $700,000 being spend on landscaping, lighting and other streetscape enhancements.
The design plans for the intersection will be made part of the construction contract for LeBauer Park, Parrish said. The contract is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
LeBauer Park will be built on a 3.3 acre site along Davie Street, just north of the Cultural Center on the site of the current Festival Park. The park is named for Carolyn Weill LeBauer, who left her estate to the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro when she passed away in 2012.
LeBauer directed that her estate be used “for the creation of a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of the general population of Greensboro, particularly children and their families.”
BILLBOARDS MEET FREE SPEECH TEST
A complaint about graphic billboard advertising around the Gate City prompted city staff to review the legality of the ads for the popular Woods of Terror attraction on North Church Street.
The parents of a special needs child sent the complaint via the Internet to Greensboro’s City Council on Oct. 17, according to records reviewed by YES! Weekly. In the complaint, the couple stated that their daughter “is terrified of anything scary.” The couple said they have to make weekly trips via the interstate to area hospitals and “have to tell her to look away each time we come up on these billboards that are everywhere.”
“Woods of Terror is making plenty of money and well known,” the child’s mother wrote. “Each year they put up these terrifying billboards with no regards to small children or those like our daughter that have special needs and is terrified by these photos. A strip club cannot post photos of women dancing on a strip pole, right? SO how is this legal? Please help us figure this out and do something about these very scary advertisements all over our city and even into Winston Salem and Durham.”
Local television stations reported on a similar complaint late last month.
City zoning staff fielded the complaint on Oct. 20, with Zoning Administrator Mike Kirkman advising legal staff that there was nothing in the city’s land development ordinance that regulates the content of billboard signage.
“The City’s LDO only regulates signage based on time, place and manner for the following public purposes,” Kirkman wrote in an email before going on to list the eight regulated purposes under city code. Kirkman explained that state statues regulate billboard signage by prohibiting “obscene images related to sexual behavior of the promotion of drug paraphernalia.”
“Since the LDO does not have any provisions related to the content of signage there would be no local enforcement authority related to signs that may be objectionable to individuals but do not relate to the two items listed by State statutes,” Kirkman concluded. “I am sympathetic to the person who is concerned how these images may be too scary for younger children but do not see any authority for the City to seek their removal.”
The billboards in question showed a young woman who was made up to look like a zombie or as if she had been attacked. They were prominently displayed along major highway corridors, including US 29, I-40 and I-85 around Greensboro. !