Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Live local traffic cams

Check the nearby traffic before you head out. Live traffic cameras are available to help you steer through the maze on your way to work, shopping and other destinations.

Click for a map of cam locations. Click and drag the map once your are on it yo slide to different spots. Click on individual cam dots to see a current image of traffic. The cams are a product of your tax dollars. The Google map is featured in our local News and Observer interactive website.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is the sky over NC 55 falling in Apex?

It's time for CSX to pony up and be a responsible citizen in Apex. A recent report on WRAL-TV news highlights the questionable condition of the aging railway bridge that is more than sixty five years old. CSX and the State DOT agency have both deferred replacement and repair of the bridge for years and continue to point a finger to the other side with regards to responsibility. Some 25,000 cars pass under the bridge each day on their way to outlying destinations and many notice gaping holes and exposed rebar in the sides and bottom of the bridge and worry that pieces of the bridge could fall on their car at any time.

Even though the DOT bridge inspectors claim to inspect the bridge every two years they do not go onto the property and conduct a structural examination of the bridge claiming that "would be trespassing" on CSX property. The inspections amount to only a mere cosmetic inspection and do not validate the structural integrity of the bridge.

As noted in the report, Tim Donnelly, Apex public works director noted in an internal memo, "The bridge negatively impacts our citizens and clearly the traffic flow and safety of N.C. 55." On any given day traffic is constantly backed up to the town corporate limits in both directions as a direct result of not replacing an unsafe, decaying and inadequate overhead bridge. Town officials and citizens have questioned reliability of the bridge for many years and pressed for the bridge to be made wider to accommodate the huge volume of vehicles passing under it to deaf ears on the part of CSX.

For as long as anyone can remember, the concrete bridge has been the worst bottleneck on NC 55 for commuters and locals and has been the one item blocking improvements in the road that could prevent most of the massive traffic backups through out each day. As the condition of the bridge continues to decline, drivers worry that it is only a matter of time before a chunk of concrete falls onto a windshield and causes a serious injury or a major accident.

What do you think about leaving an old bridge in place and allowing safety and traffic backups to continue unchecked? Shouldn't the bridge be moved to the top of the list for replacement?

Read the entire news report...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ducks in a row

"OK... line up so we can go over where the grass is greener..."

Queenie's Weenies

*** Update on Queenie's Weenies ***

As noted 11/18/09 by Darian, Queenie's Weenies has a new owner named Tricia Law, a new location at 201 Salem Street (in front of Peak City Pharmacy across from the Fire Station) and a new phone number: 919-614-0438! Still serving awesome dogs!

Original writeup...

Craving a good hot dog while near downtown Apex?

Check out Pam Oleszewski's Queenie's Weenies in Apex near Basket Tree Florist at 221 South Salem Street. Open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. On fair-weather days, this eye-catching recent addition adds touch of character to the street and provides another choice for quick food in the downtown district. She also takes requests (telephone 919-334-8386) to work at special events.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anna's Pizzaria

An exciting new restaurant has moved into the spot at 100 North Salem Street in Historic Downtown Apex. The busy, friendly establishment offers a broad selection of fresh made Italian cuisine to downtown shoppers and is a huge hit with residents and visitors alike! Get there early to beat the crowds or find yourself standing in line (the line is usually both out front near sidewalk benches and inside where you can easily see a sampling of just-served menu items). Dine in or pick up your take out orders (telephone 919-267-6237) for a great dining experience anytime Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Anna's Pizzeria menu is divided into sections named for relatives of the owner, Yury Rojas. Selections include salads, wraps, hero sandwiches, brick oven pizzas, dinners and desserts served with style by the friendly staff. Pasta choices include eggplant Parmesan, veal Marsala , Penne ala Anna's and many other selections. New York style pizza is available by the slice or a whole pie in many varieties from thin-crusted pizza to a hefty stuffed meat pie and most anything in between.

The restaurant serves as a family-friendly meeting and dining place and includes a small bar. The owners recently moved to the area from Long Island, New York, and still owns two Anna's Pizzeria restaurants in that area.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Town of Apex administration down on young art

In its usual knee-jerk reaction to anything not explicitly approved by the Town of Apex, the Town's sign enforcer quickly removed a lovely art display recently placed on a utility pole across from the Town Hall and Community Center at the corner of Mason Street and Old Raleigh Road in June, 2008.

This cheerful little gallery of creature drawings was added to the pole over a short period in early June and suddenly disappeared the day after this photo was made. Unfortunately the town's effort signals that the staff doesn't support artist efforts to be creative and add a little color to the local landscape.

The local sign ordinance was meant to prevent signs and posters from littering the roadways but enforcement is sometimes carried too far when signs or displays that mean no harm are ripped down as soon as they are placed due to strict interpretation of the rules. There are legitimate circumstances when local organizations want to tell of barbecue fund raisers, yard sales or other similar events that need community participation to be successful.

Residents generally post signs on utility poles for weekend yard sales to attract potential buyers but soon experience the wrath of the Town's "sign czar". If the Town staff member sees posters along local streets the signs are immediately removed to enforce the strict intent and interpretation of the sign ordinance. This in turn prevents the yard sale host from simple and reasonable advertising that would legitimately provide them with more customers and income.

Town rules on signs may be seen on the Town's website section on ordinances under Sec.8.7.1 /Permitted Signs: Location, Size, and Number. The town's "sign permit form" allows you to apply for and pay a fee to post signs for a variety of purposes. The Town position requires that a citizen or organization purchase a sign permit in order to place even the simplest of signs anywhere around town. Perhaps this should be tempered a bit to allow citizens to post simple yard sale signs for a few days or otherwise advertise personal activities without the requirement of a sign permit. Contact your Town Council representatives if you think the ordinance needs to be revisited.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Update on Bumpy Rides in Apex

It seems the NC DOT may have finally gotten enough complaints about the north Salem Street area in Apex that they may have decided to fix it. But not until 2009. Good news for Apex residents and visitors driving or biking on north Salem Street between Hunter Street and Highway 64.

earlier report about the rough and dangerous section the street indicated that the Town Manager and Town Council Members have not made any effort to effect repairs on this main entry to the town because the local philosophy is that "its not our road and we aren't responsible for maintaining it" reflecting a general attitude by Town employees, no doubt a top-down management problem, of not taking full responsibility for issues within town limits...

June 23, 2008
Jaclyn Asztalos, Cary - Apex Reporter

DOT To Make Improvements To Apex Roadway

APEX, N.C. – Apex will see some road improvements in the next year.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will be repaving and beautifying North Salem Street from Hunter Street to Highway 64 next spring.

Jim Stella with the Chamber of Commerce said that the road is the main entrance to downtown but is currently a dangerous roadway.

Stella said people swerve to avoid divots and bumps which could be life threatening for the many walkers and bikers in their path.

The road could also give people coming to town the wrong impression.

“Folks might get the impression that all the roads are like that in Apex and might not want to move here or do business here. If they can get it paved, do a nice job and enhance with flowers it will be a good gateway into the town,” Stella said.

Steve Halsey with the N.C. DOT said the project will cost over $120,000. He said the project will be completed by next summer.
Original NBC17 Report...

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Hope Valley Train Ride

Taking a great train ride only a few minutes south of Apex in the central North Carolina area offers a fun afternoon for the whole family as well as a look back at a piece of North Carolina's train heritage.

We decided to take this trip on my wife's birthday and invited our children and their families for an outing on the hottest spring day in 2008. All fifteen of us arrived at the agreed upon time at the New Hope Valley Railway parking lot and boarded the caboose of the train loaded with some two hundred other brave souls. The crowd quickly filled the two covered cars, the open car and the two cabooses and the crowd cheered when the train engineer began blowing the horn to signal the start of the ride.

Tickets for the one hour ride through remote farmland to New Hill and back to Bonsal were $9.00 per adult and $6.00 per child (ages 2-12) in 2008. Check the NHVR website for current pricing and schedules before making the drive. Rides are offered monthly on selected days from May through December and during holiday times.

While at the railroad park, check out the local train museum beside the boarding area and the display of small trains beside the parking area. Directions to the train location are posted on the NHVR website and the trip provides a short scenic drive through a rural area of southern North Carolina. Head south through Apex on old US 1 until you arrive in Bonsal, then follow the signs to the railway site.

Read more about the NHVR from a recent news article...
News & Observer
June 2, 2008
Sabine Bollmer, Staff Writer

Train fans climb aboard historic railway

BONSAL - The No. 17 steam engine left the tiny Bonsal train station shortly after noon Sunday, pulling three cars filled with more than 200 riders.

A dark plume billowed out of the locomotive's smokestack. Streaks of white steam shot up as the whistle blew. The New Hope Valley Railway's first steam engine ride of the season took off on its bumpy and noisy nine-mile trip.

Among those on board were a little boy wearing a Thomas the Tank Engine T-shirt, a grandmother in a colorful Indian sari and a woman in a wheelchair. Read more...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bumpy rides in Apex NC

When driving or biking in Apex be prepared for a bumpy ride and be aware some of the main roads are always spotted with major heat cracks and pot holes. This is not a new issue with the Town of Apex but continues despite efforts of citizens to get the town to keep roads in town in good shape. The town staff routinely answers complaints about many local road conditions with the response that "Apex is not responsible for road problems along state maintained roads even if they are inside the town limits". When road problems are referred to the town manager, Bruce Radford, the immediate response is that "roads maintained by the state and are not our responsibility and we have not been able to get anyone in NC DOT to address the problems". Town officials insist that the town is not responsible for problems with roads the state oversees even if they are inside Apex. This response was included in a recent news article pointing out problems bikers have riding on Salem Street, the road through the center of downtown.

Bruce Radford, Apex's town manager, states in the article that he is well aware of the problem. "Of all the roads I receive complaints about in the town of Apex, this one is much worse than any other," Radford said. "It will jar your teeth and your car as well."

An article published March 22nd, 2008, in the News and Observer (also discussed in the Triangle Troubleshooter) touches on a problem along a portion of south Salem Street that presents riders, especially bikers, with a constant series of jolts when traveling the road. Although the north section of Salem was not mentioned, the area from Hunter Street all the way to US 64 is much worse and is riddled with major cracks across the whole road that deliver a jolt to drivers and bikers alike. No doubt these are the result of high temperatures from years of summer heat but the problem persists and neither the state or town will make an effort to repair or resurface the road.

Other roads in and around town (NC 1010, Davis Drive, NC 55 and parts of US 64) are in similar poor and unsafe condition. On US 64 between Laura Duncan Road and US 1 there are no less than eight significant dips in the road heading toward US 1 that cause vehicles to drop several inches when driving in the left lane at normal speeds. The left lane of US 64 onto US 1 northbound at the US 1 underpass also has had a sunken area across the lane for several years and the state does not see fit to repair it. It would seem the likely cause of these dips is a collapse or compression of the road support beneath these areas from storm runoff routed from drains in the center of the road to the shoulders. This same problem is evident in numerous places along NC 55 between Apex and Holly Springs and suggests poor construction during recent road improvements that seems to pop up in many places around the state in news reports about NC road construction projects.

Since neither the state or the Town of Apex seems to take responsibility for keeping roads in good shape it would seem prudent for drivers and bikers to stay alert for poor road conditions and be prepared to be jolted while traveling local roads...
News and Observer
March 22, 2008
David Bracken, Staff Writer

No smoothing out in sight for a bumpy ride in Apex

APEX - If you're one of the many cyclists who regularly ride down South Salem Street in Apex, you know the particular stretch we're talking about.

Situated between Apex Barbecue and Tingen roads, this half-mile section is lined with cracks, unexpected bumps and the occasional pothole.

"I'm just not sure what they think cyclists are supposed to do there," cyclist Janyne Kizer said. "They're telling us to go there."

This section of South Salem, also known as old U.S. 1, is part of the U.S. Bicycle Route 1, which runs along the eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine. Kizer is one of dozens of cyclists who ride the route each Saturday.

Kizer has complained to the town of Apex but was told the road's condition is the responsibility of the state Department of Transportation.

Bruce Radford, Apex's town manager, is well aware of the problem. "Of all the roads I receive complaints about in the town of Apex, this one is much worse than any other," Radford said. "It will jar your teeth and your car as well."

In addition to being a popular cycling route, the section of road is an entry point into four subdivisions, Radford said. He has no idea when it was last resurfaced, and he says DOT officials have not been able to tell him when it will be repaired.

"We've not really received much hope that it's going to be repaired," Radford said.

Messages left with engineers in charge of road maintenance for N.C. DOT District 5, which covers Wake County, were not returned this week. Original article...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Apex Farmers Market
Apex Farmers Market - Once a dedicated parking lot for the Apex Union Depot in the 1940-1970 years, the parking area at 220 North Salem Street at Center and Salem now provides parking for the Apex Chamber of Commerce, hosts free summer downtown concerts for local residents and on summer Saturdays turns into the Apex Farmers Market where local farmers and gardners offer fresh grown vegetables, fruits and crafts to area shoppers.

Check out the Apex Farmers Market website...
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