By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — It may be hard to believe, but traffic compromises a significant portion of concerns people have in the dead end neighborhoods of Cardinal Park and Deacons Ridge about a proposed greenway connector.
Specifically, they don’t want cars clogging up their streets or parking in front of driveways. They also don’t want a parking lot or a trailhead at the end of Cardinal Crest Lane or Ledgerock Road.
Town planners and consultant engineers believe they have addressed those concerns, and others, in the draft plan of the 0.3-mile, 10-foot-wide paved greenway. The path will connect those two streets to the Dunn Creek Greenway in Heritage via a tunnel under Dr. Calvin Jones Highway.
“We’ve listened to the neighbors’ concerns, and this is the answer,” Wake Forest Senior Planner Candace Davis said during a plan presentation Tuesday at town hall.
There will be no trailhead in either neighborhood, and representatives present Tuesday said they thought most people using the trails would park at the Smith Creek Soccer Center in Heritage.
The $430,000 greenway project will also stub out to the northeast of Cardinal Park. The the town is seeking grant monies that would one day allow it to continue along an easement north to Wait Avenue and beyond.
“If the town were able to get that grant, it would be awesome,” said Iona Thomas, a planner with Stewart Greenway Design Group of Raleigh.
But that’s also one element of the plan that does not please all of the neighborhoods’ residents.
“We as a neighborhood are concerned about where the trail will eventually be expanded,” one person commented on a form solicited by town staff. “We have heard it will go into the east end of town, which is a major crime area. We do not want to be connected to this.”
Others favored connectivity, however. Said one, “So excited — can’t wait to connect to downtown Wake Forest with other trail sections.”
Those who attended Tuesday’s informal meeting generally said their concerns were addressed. One woman hoped Wake Forest Police officers will patrol the trails. Another asked for a ban on parking at the stub end of Cardinal Crest Lane.
One leg of the greenway segment crosses a perennial creek on what is now private property belonging to the Damron family. There is no plan for developing that property, but that could change, officials said.
The development would not affect the majority of the trail, but could shorten it if either street is extended into the property.
As part of the project, the pedestrian culvert under the highway will be shored up and lighting added to the tunnel.
Due to some hilly areas, parts of the path will snake back and forth.
The project is still in its design stages. Construction on the trail is estimated to take place sometime in 2014 and take four to six months to complete.