'City of stumps' not 'City of Oaks:' Raleigh residents frustrated over possible changes being made to Ridge Road near Crabtree Valley Mall

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Ridge Road is all Judy Coggins has known.

Her father bought 40 acres back in the 1950s.

"I'm very attached to it," she said. "I guess I got that from my parents and my father in particular."

Her now 18 acres is in the midst of a project the Department of Transportation is looking into near Crabtree Valley Mall.

"This is the last surviving parcel of farmland in this area," Coggins said. "To me, it's heartbreaking that it would go to be a new entrance to the mall."

NCDOT wants to tackle the congestion and improve safety around the beltline and Glenwood Avenue - a well-known traffic nightmare.

One topic residents asked about was a potential secondary mall entrance on Ridge Road.

At the meeting at Highland United Methodist Church, DOT officials briefly mentioned the mall entrances, emphasizing instead that the project itself was in its planning stages, and nothing is off the table.

Raleigh commissioned a study in 2009 that was completed in 2011. DOT could not say whether the results of that study would be used in the upcoming project.

"Understand, we are starting over," one contractor told the audience at the meeting. "So on the one hand, I don't want you going home saying this is what is going to happen."

Frustrated neighbors wanted to know more but were told to be patient as DOT continues to study the area. Some possibilities include putting in a new interchange on Ridge Road, widening Crabtree Valley Avenue and replacing the bridge on Blue Ridge Road over Crabtree Creek.
DOT said it held a meeting in March and took the feedback from residents then into consideration. A second meeting was held Monday night because the last meeting couldn't accommodate everyone.

"Of course it affects me horribly," Coggins said. "But I also think it affects the neighborhood in terms of having the trees as a buffer and having the beauty of the landscape - just being able to see trees rather than rampant development. The city of Raleigh calls itself the City of Oaks but when you go behind Crabtree, you see clear cutting so it seems more like the 'city of stumps.'"

A formal public meeting is expected in the fall.
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