Three hundred and fourteen days after shutting down the Graylyn Road neighborhood access to Umstead State Park, it appears the N.C. Department of Transportation is finally going to pave the football-field-long length of road. Sean White cruised by the entrance this morning and reports: "Just wanted to let you know that I saw three paving and grading trucks on Graylyn Road this morning with cones blocking access to the road." N&O transportation reporter Bruce Siceloff visited the site this afternoon and says work crews have completed preparing the surface for a layer of asphalt.
The scene at the Graylyn Road entrance to Umstead State Park the morning of Oct. 31, 2007.
Followers of this drama pitting park users vs. DOT will recall that, in a move that caught even the superintendent of Umstead by surprise, the DOT put up No Parking signs along both sides of Graylyn on Oct. 31, 2007. Accompanying the signs was a signboard indicating the road was closed to parking immediately so that DOT could pave the short stretch of road that serves four houses. Paving the road, DOT said, would preclude park users from parking off the road because of erosion issues. Prior to Oct. 31, the entrance — one of three neighborhood entrances to the park — accommodated runners, bikers and hikers who wanted quick access to the park or who wanted to get in a workout before the park's official 8 a.m. opening.
The move came within about a year of DOT effectively shutting down another popular neighborhood entrance — at Reedy Creek and Trenton roads — by also putting up no parking signs. And DOT has plans to pave, and possibly close, the last remaining neighborhood access, off Old Reedy Creek Road near Lake Crabtree.
Following the Graylyn closure, an uproar ensued.
Today's development was accompanied by news that the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation expects to issue an access plan for Umstead this week.
"There are various alternates that we're working on right now," Charlie Peek, public information officer for state parks said about an hour ago. "Hopeful this week we'll be able to show the whole wide world what we've been working on."
Peek said the alternatives address the Graylyn issue specifically, but added: "We're trying to look at the entire issue of Umstead access in a holistic sense, to think about what Raleigh's doing, what Cary's doing. We've got to have something that fits in with the what other people around us are doing. We cannot too much isolate our thought process.
"It's a constantly evolving thing," he added.
The N&O transportation reporter Bruce Siceloff has been looking into the Graylyn situation and expects to report on the subject soon.
I'll keep you posted.