The biggest issues neighborhoods are facing Morrisville in 2017 are the proposed Crabtree Crossing Extension in the Morrisville Transportation Plan and advocating Neighborhood Schools in Morrisville. These two issues are discussed below:
Crabtree Crossing Extension
The proposed Crabtree Crossing Extension, part of the proposed Morrisville Transportation Plan, has the potential to devastate many neighborhoods.
What is it?
Town of Morrisville’s proposal to link the planned 147/Durham Freeway Extension to Cary Parkway, the purpose of which is to provide relief from the traffic congestion on NC54 and Davis Drive (nearly parallel north/south major thoroughfares) via a new north/south commuter and commercial traffic artery called the Crabtree Crossing Extension (CCE).
This plan involves two pieces:
- the planned I-540/147-Durham Freeway connection out of RTP to Town Hall Drive, and
- the final link called the Crabtree Crossing Extension. If approved, Town Hall Drive will connect southward to a new, 1/3-mile northern extension of Crabtree Crossing Parkway, which already connects at its southern tip to three access points along Cary Parkway as shown above. The CCE is currently estimated to cost $8.5 million for less than a mile of roadway because of the need for a bridge over Crabtree Creek and surrounding wetlands.
ABC11 News Covers Crabtree Crossing Extension
Mayor Stohlman gets CAMPO to remove CCE from their plan, but it will go back on the CAMPO plan if the Town Council votes in favor of CCE in early 2018. So while the ABC11 story is good news, and it reaffirms Mayor Stohlman’s strong opposition to CCE, if there is a change the Town Council leadership after the Nov, 7th election, CCE could be right back on the Morrisville and CAMPO Transportation Plans.
Why does Morrisville Action Oppose it?
If approved and built, the proposed Crabtree Crossing Extension will funnel increased commuter and commercial traffic from I-540/147 Durham Freeway through residential communities and near schools:
- along Town Hall Drive neighborhoods,
- passed Cedar Fork Elementary and Sterling Montessori School (K-8), and
- directly through the Preston subdivision. Cut-through traffic is expected on Preston’s Crabtree Crossing, in Preston Grande (Ridge Creek, Preston Grande Way, Rainbrook and Trellingwood), in Preston Highlands (High Country and Grey Horse), and in Preston Fairways on Summer Lakes Drive as drivers use GPS-mapping systems, like Google Maps and Waze, to connect to three access points along Cary Parkway and to Davis Drive (via Summer Lakes Drive to High House) as they seek to travel north and south.
Morrisville Action believes funneling high traffic volumes through residential neighborhoods is inappropriate transportation/town planning and adversely affects home values. It is a detriment to neighborhood quality of life, endangers lives and makes walking, biking, retrieving children at bus stops, putting out trash, golf-cart driving, and visiting mailboxes dangerous. The Morrisville Parkway Railroad Grade Separation Project was convincing evidence to Preston residents that the proposed Crabtree Crossing Extension is a bad idea as the neighborhood was overwhelmed with traffic during this project.
Does the Town of Cary Support the Crabtree Crossing Extension?
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht wrote to a concerned Cary citizen about CCE:
“I have talked with the Mayor of Morrisville about this (CCE) issue. He told me that it (CCE) is a recommendation from a consultant and not an initiative from a council member. I have let him know that we think it (CCE) is a bad idea and that our citizens are very concerned. He is also opposed to the idea of a connection. However, he is not sure about the rest of the council. They will vote on this in January….The biggest impact you can have on the decision makers is to contact them. I would recommend that you and your neighbors let the Morrisville council members know of your concerns. If the Cary and Morrisville neighbors unite against this, I am confident that you will have an impact on the outcome.”
– Harold Weinbrecht, Town of Cary Mayor
Where is it in the Approval Process?
At the October 12, 2017 Planning and Zoning Board Meeting (P&Z), this vote was delayed until its next meeting on Nov. 9th, two days after the Nov. 7th Morrisville Election. If the Crabtree Crossing Extension is ultimately included in the plan by the P&Z vote (currently it’s a town staff and consultant’s recommendation), it will then go to Town Council for final approval, probably in January 2018, after the new Town Council is elected.
This Crabtree Crossing Extension was defeated in 2009 when city planners attempted to include it in the Transportation Plan at that time. Dozens of concerned citizens spoke out against the project; Town Council removed it from the plan as a road and included it as a greenway that has yet to be built. Current Mayor Mark Stohlman was a Town Council Member at that time and he voted against the Crabtree Crossing Extension in 2009; he voted to include it in the Plan as a greenway, which was supported by Morrisville Action.
What can I do to Oppose it?
- Vote November 7th for Town Council Members who share your position and have pledged to oppose it. See Endorsements and Number 5 below.
- Urge your Morrisville friends to vote for the Morrisville Action-Endorsed Candidates.
- Urge neighbors to speak out/Oppose CCE by attending and speaking at the P&B Meeting on Nov. 9th at 6:30pm at 100 Town Hall Drive and,
- Enter your CCE opposition comments on the town’s website portal. Each adult family member can enter their comments in opposition. Start your comments by clearly stating you are opposed to the Crabtree Crossing Extension. Comments can be very short. To be sure your comments are counted, get them in before Thursday, November 2, 2017. Comments are counted and tracked, and definitely make a difference.
- Morrisville Action believes the best way to stop CCE is to re-elect Mark Stohlman as Mayor. Morrisville Action spokesperson Ty Elliott met with Stohlman’s opponent, TJ Cawley on Oct 4, 2017 and on 3 occasions in that meeting she asked him to state his oppositon to CCE, and on all 3 occasions he refused. Other neighbors reported similar refusals by TJ Cawley. It became obvious he had a problem with that position after the Oct 12, 2017 Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Meeting where nearly 100 citizens attended to show their opposition to CCE. TJ Cawley changed his position; FROM not opposing the Crabtree Crossing Extension (CCE), TO publically opposing CCE. TJ Cawley first publically announced his opposition on Facebook at 2:34 pm on October 13, 2017, just a few weeks ago (see screenshot below and check the time/date), the day after the P&Z Meeting.
Mayor Stohlman voted against the CCE and led the successful effort to have CCE removed from the Transportation Plan in 2009. Mayor Stohlman has openly and consistently challenged Town Staff’s efforts to put CCE back in the Transportation Plan (see video below). He confronted staff at the August 8, 2017 Town Council Briefing, at the Oct 12, 2017 P&Z Meeting, and again at the October 17, 2017 Council Work Session. In these same sessions, TJ Cawley did NOT once speak out in opposition of CCE. All of which can be verified on Town Videos (see below).
In TJ Cawley’s letter to citizens dated Oct. 25, 2017, he stressed, “I have never supported the Crabtree Crossing Extension,” which is technically correct. But the question for voters is: When did TJ Cawley start opposing CCE and how reliable is that opposition?
As a Town Councilmember, TJ Cawley knew, or should have known, that the way in which the planning and approval process works, if CCE is allowed to stay in the Transportation Plan, it is the same as approving it. In logic only government can understand, if you don’t oppose it, it’s the same as supporting it.
The question is: Who are you going to trust with an issue that could ruin your neighborhood and destroy your home’s value? For Morrisville Action, Mayor Stohlman is the MUCH more reliable choice to stop CCE and save neighborhoods in Morrisville. Watch the following video of Town Council meetings on the CCE project to see Mayor Stohlman challenging Town Staff’s attempts to push CCE through the planning process.
Videos Showing How CCE Got Put Back in the Transportation Plan and Mayor Stohlman Challenging Staff
Video Showing TJ Cawley Passing On the Opportunity to Publicly State His Opposition to CCE
Video Showing Staff Explaining Road Types and Admitting there are NO Traffic Studies for CCE
Videos Showing a Drive Up and Back On Crabtree Crossing On a Typical Afternoon Clearly Showing this is a Local Residential Street that Can’t Handle More Traffic
For more information, review the Town of Morrisville’s full Transportation Plan here.
Morrisville is the only town of the twelve towns in Wake County without a middle or high school.
Breckenridge, Providence Place, Savannah, Ridgemount, Kitts Creek, Chessington, and Wexford, and perhaps others as well, are neighborhoods where many students have been facing reassigment and being bused to schools far from home passing other closer schools resulting in family inconvenience, long bus rides and very long days.
TJ Cawley voted against Resolution 2017-033, which supports our Town Council efforts in advocating for bringing a middle and high school to Morrisville. He was the only Town Councilmember who voted against the Resolution supporting neighborhood schools in Morrisville.
Mayor Mark Stohlman, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Rao and Councilmembers Michael Schlink, Satish Garimella, Liz Johnson, and Vicki Scroggins-Johnson voted in favor of the resolution supporting additional schools in Morrisville.
Town Councilmember TJ Cawley, currently running for mayor, publically stated at the October 17th, 2017 Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum that he’s “in favor of neighborhood schools.” But the record shows otherwise.
Read the following resolution and see if you can understand how TJ Cawley could vote against it and still claim to be in favor of neighborhood schools.