Ep. 58 – Raleigh Greenway Updates

A lot is going on with our excellent greenway system, including some big changes and closures on the Crabtree Creek section. We spoke with Lisa Schiffbauer, Greenway Capital Projects Senior Supervisor with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to get updates.

RELATED LINKS

Capital Area Greenway Information and Closures (and also where to learn about Rgreenway app)

Crabtree Creek erosion keeps Raleigh greenway closed indefinitely – WRAL – Feb. 18, 2019

Project 2 years in, residents along Crabtree Creek wonder when they’ll get access to greenway again – WRAL – Feb. 8, 2019

Crabtree Creek Greenway still awaiting boardwalk repairs after Hurricane Matthew – News & Observer – Aug. 4, 2017

How Raleigh’s greenway trails went from nuisance to amenity – News & Observer – Nov. 23, 2018

In the interview, Lisa mentions City Camp, which is now Civic Camp, part of the NC Open Pass series of events.

Crabtree Creek near the greenway. Photo by Bobistraveling/Flickr CC.
Crabtree Creek near the greenway. Photo by Bobistraveling/Flickr CC.

The questions we asked:

  • Can you start by telling us more about your work?
  • What changes have occurred on the greenway system in the past few years that listeners might not know about? (new trails or any other updates, changes to app, or other)
  • The greenway system began in the 70s and built more than 100 miles over time. Of course, the growth of new trails has slowed quite a bit, which makes sense. Does the parks department see room for more paths?
  • Last year the parks department said it was going to shift its management a bit to thinking of them more as transportation assets. Can you talk a bit about that shift and what it means for your team?
  • What does that shift mean for greenway users?
  • One of the big discussions with greenways now is Crabtree Creek, experiencing a lot of flooding. Flooding and erosion along the creek has degraded a portion of boardwalk immediately north of Capital Boulevard, which led to closures last year. Can you explain more about the erosion issues?
  • What work is being done to fix it?
  • My understanding is this has been going on for two years, starting with Hurricane Matthew. But it sounds like we might be talking about different sections of the same trail. The closures website lists five closures all under Crabtree Creek. Can you clarify?
  • One of our listeners wondered if it’s possible to require contractors to maintain some access to trails during construction projects. Is that something the parks department has considered?

One thought on “Ep. 58 – Raleigh Greenway Updates

  1. “Structure 106” opened in May 2006 when Sig cut the opening ribbon. 30 days later when Tropical storm Alberto hit Raleigh, it devastated this greenway from Atlantic Ave to Raleigh Blvd exposing bad design and faulty construction. While flood waters ripped up a section of boardwalk by Capital blvd at this time in 2006. The bad design of paltry unsecured wooden timber pillars floating in sand, according to former head of Greenway Vic Lebsock, failed because of unsupervised construction and never met city building codes.

    “Structure 106” opened briefly after the repairs from damage in 2006 but was closed the Morning after the Minneapolis Bridge collapsed in 2007. No visible damage but a reaction to known bad design and unsupervised faulty construction. When Sig Hutchinson cut the ribbon with Mayor Charles Meeker in 2006. They both knew “Structure 106” was a dud and was not safe for public use. It was not until a deadly national disaster and only then did Raleigh acknowledge the bad design and faulty construction at “Structure 106”.

    While Parks acknowledged these details to concerned citizens who called in, the closing in 2007 was never disclosed to the public. It closed without public notice weeks before the Park Bond vote which built the Neuse River Greenway. I know first hand the city removed all public information about “Structure 106” from the city website, two weeks before the park bond vote. It was then when the city began the process of changing the structure’s branded name with every expensive repair.

    From opening in May 2006 to June 2008 this section which I call Sig’s Folly was closed to the public while major structural repairs were made. When your guest says it was not bad design and faulty construction, she is lying and she has seen the city documents which proves this accusation. In the first two years we were only open 90 days.

    Alberto devastated this section and exposed every bad design element along this greenway. The passage under Atlantic Ave had to be rebuilt. “Stucture 106” lost a critical section due to paltry pillars floating in sand without any concrete support underground. A major washout occurred when the Forrest released excess water into Crabtree Creek where the city had just laid asphalt pavement over a natural gully. The train trestle under the train bridge had to be rebuilt since the original did not meet city code and was to small to allow asphalt paving equipment to pass underneath.

    The boardwalk over Raleigh Blvd Pond rose with high water and off it’s pillars because the city had not anchored the boardwalk into the soil underwater in the pond. The new repair that kept us closed in 2006 for two years placed anchors under the boardwalk. In 2015 sewer/stormwater built a road across the Raleigh Blvd Pond making the pond a 3rd smaller than it’s original size. The first high water incident lifted this section off of its pillars. The contractor who installed the new anchors stated the old anchors had become so loose many of them were completely free from the pond floor. Parks never made any effort to repair or reinstall new anchors even though they were aware of sewer/stormwater’s activity at the Raleigh Blvd. pond.

    This was the same contractor who did the new repairs on “Structure 106”. He told me it was known “Structure 106” would close soon due to structural issues and the city was aware of the issues. This was four months before “Structure 106” reopened for two months only to be shut down permanently in 2018.

    Your guest acted as this closure was spontaneous but instead she was fully aware of the impending closure.

    Basically we got 8 years of use of this boardwalk which encountered several other closings due to repairs which were band aids rather than fixes. Your guest is not an honest broker of public information.

    To this day Sig Hutchinson has never commented publicly on “Structure 106” since he cut the opening ribbon in 2006. Mr. Greenway abandoned us. The city has never facebooked, tweeted, or been honest. Only one elected official, David Cox, has ever mentioned a word about this section of Greenway.

    In 2017 I spoke with your guest and asked for a detour up Ratchford dr. and she refused to consider this option. She laughed at me refusing to build a relationship with the landowner of the car dealers. She knew “Structure 106” would soon fail and did nothing.

    Today, 2/3/2020 I called city council members Corey Branch and P.Buffkin. P.Buffkin’s policy person told me “You have called before, everyone knows what you have to say” I have not spoken to this lady since 2017.

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