12/26/11 — Railroad crossing decision made

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Railroad crossing decision made

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 26, 2011 1:46 PM

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Allison Carter

Following a traffic separation study, the state Department of Transportation and Raleigh-based Kimley-Horn and Associates determined the railroad crossing at West Mulberry Street near St. Mark's Church of Christ should be closed. Several other crossings throughout the corridor were initially marked for closures, but only the Mulberry closing was in the final proposal.

A traffic separation study by a Raleigh-based consulting firm suggests closing the railroad crossing at Mulberry Street, but doesn't recommend closing any other crossings along the Goldsboro railroad corridor that runs nearly parallel to Royall Avenue.

Kimley-Horn and Associates conducted the study in partnership with the state Department of Transportation to seek ways to make railroad crossings safer within the city limits. Initially the study suggested the closing of the crossings at Bryant Bain and Lionel streets near Ash Street as well as at Virginia Street near Franklin Baking Co. and Mulberry Street near St. Mark's Church of Christ.

Nancy Horne, the DOT project manager, and Matt West, Kimley-Horn's consultant project manager, were onhand Monday night at the Goldsboro City Council work session to update the board on its recommendations and answer questions about the plans.

Ms. Horne said concerns from the community -- particularly from those involved with Wayne Middle/High Academy on Lionel Street -- convinced the firm that the crossings were important to maintain connections there for residents, those visiting the school and emergency personnel.

"Between the citizens and emergency services they made the case to keep it open," she said of the Lionel Street crossing, which is closed for portions of the day already to limit traffic near the school.

Kimley-Horn's recommendations include just one closing -- at Mulberry Street -- but propose safety modifications, including increased signage, at nearly all the other crossings.

Other topics discussed during the work session included the planning of the financial calendar for the upcoming 2012-13 budget season and talks of renovating the brick home between Herman Park Center and the Wayne County Public Library Goldsboro branch into a city-run senior center.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said the west end of Herman Park Center could completely house the department's teen activities to help cut down on overcrowding in the library, while senior citizens would have a space all to themselves for card games and socializing -- and more than 100 seniors showed up to meetings in the past two months to express their support of the proposal.

Council also heard from Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan, who again presented a list of citizens interested in forming an Air Force museum steering committee.

Council moved to appoint Jimmie Edmundson as chairman of the committee and named Ray Burrell, Martha Bryan, George Silver Sr., Lou Cooke, James McCullough and Allan Pederson as members.

Council members said they would continue to seek a representative with a direct connection to Wayne County Public Schools to serve and that they would like to see a member of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners on the committee as well.

Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen made the motion to select the seven individuals to serve on the committee, which Ms. Logan suggested should be made up of five to seven members. District 6 Councilman Jackie Warrick seconded the motion and it passed 7-0.

The council's regular meeting featured five public hearings as one rezoning request, three conditional use permits and an annexation request were discussed.

Two residents opposed to Franklin Baking Co.'s rezoning request spoke out, while Mike Haney with the Wayne County Development Alliance spoke in support of the rezoning.

Zackell Perry, who is seeking to open up a tattoo parlor on U.S. 117 South between Arrington Bridge Road and the Neuse River, spoke in favor of his permit request, but no one spoke for or against any of the other proposals.

The Planning Commission will have recommendations for the council at its next meeting, but the annexation of Windsor Creek was approved at the Monday meeting.

The consent agenda contained a request from Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Thompson to fund the installation of hanging flower baskets downtown and the replacement of banners damaged during high winds. The repairs, baskets and installation would require $3,400 to be shifted from the unappropriated municipal service district fund.

A representative from Kimley-Horn and Associates discussed the next phase of the Stoney Creek restoration project, which will renovate the portion of the creek from Royall Avenue to Walnut Street. The city's match for the work would be paid through land.

The consent agenda also included an item allowing Parks and Recreation to revise its master plan through the help of N.C. Recreation Resource Services which has offered to do the revision for $5,000 -- a price Barnard described as a bargain compared to the $75,000 to $125,000 it would typically cost.

Appointments to the city's standing committees were also on the consent agenda. Four vacancies on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, three vacancies on the Community Affairs Commission, two each on the Planning and Historic District commissions and five on the Advisory Committee on Community Development remain.

Council also approved by consent the rest of a 10 percent match for David Gall to design the GATEWAY bus transfer station. The amount appropriated was $8,242.

Improvements to the Water Treatment Plant, a budget amendment allowing the payment of $12,500 from Clean Water funds into the engineering budget for Stoney Creek's stream enhancement and the annexation of the south side of Lockhaven Drive rounded out the consent agenda.