Here’s the story by reporter Jim Wise in the News and Observer, December 3, 2010:
Alston Avenue, a.k.a. N.C. 55, is a major corridor north-south corridor through East Durham. NCDOT considers the street congested and has plans to widen it from the Durham Freeway to Holloway Street.
But neighborhood groups and others interested in the long-depressed area’s revival see DOT’s plan as splitting their neighborhood in two.
“A four-lane highway is just a wall lying on its side,” INC President Tom Miller said at the council’s meeting this week.
Besides that, they don’t see the need.
“We can’t see the congestion,” said Golden Belt neighborhood homeowner John Martin. “We just see that this has gotten on the front burner and they’re going to go ahead with it.”
“To me, DOT’s traffic numbers are highly suspect,” said East Durham resident Chloe’ Palenchar. “They’re smoking crack to say that road is over capacity.”
Under DOT’s current plan, Martin said, Alston Avenue at Main Street would be eight lanes wide, or as wide as Fayetteville Road at Southpoint shopping mall.
DeDreana Freeman, another Golden Belt homeowner, said she has met with City Council members, and many residents turned out to speak their minds at a DOT open house in November.
“I don’t get the feeling they are hearing anything the neighborhood is saying,” she said.
“I’m very concerned about the wisdom of the Alston Avenue/55 thing,” Miller said. “One or two neighborhoods over there probably aren’t going to be able to step in front of that thing and stop it, but maybe INC could.”