North Hills residents excited but wary about rapid growth

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Concerns about North Hills expansion.

A new development in North Hills by Kane Realty Corporation has led to a mix of opinions from residents, commuters, and people who work in the area. It's one of many major projects underway in Wake County.

With the rapid growth come many concerns, including traffic and how well the City of Raleigh can accommodate new development.

Lindsay LaBennett, who works in North Hills, said the traffic issue should be addressed from a safety perspective.

"They should have more traffic control maybe, it could be helpful. Just to ensure that from a safety perspective," she said. "We have a lot of people that live across the street that walk over here. So just making sure they have the resources that keep everyone safe."

According to recent figures from Wake County, more than 1.2 million residents live in the county. The impact on the county's infrastructure is a top priority for the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO).

"If you've lived here you've seen the congestions obviously increasing. It seems to be increasing more rapidly to the West because of the proximity to RTP," said CAMPO deputy director Shelby Powell. "But we are also starting to see growth on the eastern side as well. It's a hard job to prioritize different parts of the county."

North Hills is an area that is seeing rapid growth. The Anderson Flats residential community on Six Forks Road is a 182-unit project nearing completion. The area is undergoing an expansion similar to what Crabtree Valley experienced not too long ago.
The City of Raleigh's transportation planning manager, Eric Lamb, says there is a difference between the growth and traffic stress Crabtree Valley has seen and what North Hills is undergoing.

"Crabtree Valley has had 30 years of history behind it. And we've looked at solutions for how do we solve some of the traffic problems in that area," Lamb said. "Six Forks and the North Hills area is developing in a very different fashion. You've got a little more density, but you've also got a little bit more walkability. So that's one of the tradeoffs in that type of area."

With the new development and traffic increase, LaBennett agrees it's one of the compromises that comes with being in a desirable area.

"It's exciting because like every other day there's a new restaurant or a new boutique. I think traffic is just something that a lot of people are willing to deal with because it elevates the area and makes it a cool place to work."

Both Powell and Lamb say there are 10-year and 20-year plans, which include a population forecast, outlining what may be coming next for Wake County and the City of Raleigh, respectively. Lamb says those plans could change based on funding availability, immediate priorities, and who's in office.

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