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Housing Rehabilitation Program Creates New Approach to Affordable Housing

Cary, NC — Cary’s latest Housing Rehabilitation Program, launched on February 10th, provides critical home repairs for low-income and senior homeowners at no cost to them or their loved ones.

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Remembering the Life and Music of Jack White

Cary, NC — Master musician and previous Director of the Cary High School Band, Jack White, passed away on December 15, 2019. Family, friends and members of the Cary community are invited to a Celebration of Life on March 21 in the Snyder Auditorium on the campus of Wytheville Community College in Virginia.

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Nation’s First Dynamic Left Turn Intersection Operating in Cary

Cary, NC — There’s a new traffic pattern in town; one that’s never been seen before in the US. The NC Department of Transportation brought the uniquely designed Dynamic Left Turn Intersection to Cary late last week as a means of improving traffic flow, particularly in off-peak times.

How the Intersection Works

The new intersection will only affect drivers turning left onto Cary Parkway from eastbound Tryon Road. Instead of the previous setup where drivers only turned left once the protected green arrow appeared, there will now be two LED-overhead signals that will activate or deactivate the rightmost turn lane depending on traffic conditions.

Executive Director of the Regional Transportation Alliance, Joe Milazzo II, says RTA approached NCDOT with the concept a little over two years ago.

“The various elements you will encounter at a dynamic left-turn intersection are not new,” said Milazzo. “We have all seen two left-turn lanes, a flashing yellow arrow, overhead red “X” indications like they have on Edwards Mill Road by PNC Arena, etc. However, while the individual elements at a Dynamic Left Turn Intersection are all familiar to motorists, what is new is this particular combination that will allow for more efficient operation for off-peak travel.”

At Peak Times

During peak travel periods, such as rush hour, both left-turn lanes will be active. Left-turning vehicles will turn only under a protected green arrow, as they do now. During these times, a pair of overhead signals will display a white left-turn arrow over a black background to indicate the rightmost left-turn lane is active.

At Non-Peak Times

During most of the day there is not enough traffic going left to require the use of both left-turn lanes.

In these slower times, the rightmost left-turn lane will become deactivated and the overhead signal for that lane will display a red “X” over a black background. The leftmost left-turn lane will remain active, and drivers will receive a flashing yellow arrow, allowing them to turn left when it is safe to do so. A protected green arrow will still be displayed occasionally to reduce any backups in that lane.

Milazzo says, “The purpose of the red X lane closure during off-peak periods is to enable the display of a flashing yellow arrow for the remaining, single left-turn lane.”

This flashing yellow light, combined with the other elements of the intersection, should significantly decrease travel delays.

The NCDOT video below illustrates what you can expect to see.

How Often Will the Traffic Pattern Change?

A frequent question the RTA has received from the community is how often will the intersection change from one left turn lane with a flashing yellow arrow, to having both left-turn lanes open with only green arrows displayed?

Milazzo says The Town of Cary and NCDOT will determine the operating hours for each combination of left-turn lanes and signal display.

“My understanding is that the initial plan for the Cary location is for both left-turn lanes to remain open, without a flashing yellow arrow, during the AM and PM peak periods. The rest of the time – about 85% of the week – the single left-turn lane and flashing yellow arrow combination will operate. Of course, those hours could change over time,” said Milazzo.

What Made Cary the Ideal Location?

The intersection of Tryon Road and Cary Parkway is the first pilot location of the Dynamic Left Turn but the same intersection model will soon be in Clayton, too. The intersection shift will be for drivers turning left on U.S. 70 Business at Town Center Boulevard into the Walmart shopping center.

NCDOT professional staff reviewed a number of locations across multiple counties before making their location choices. According to Milazzo, Cary and Clayton had the right combination of traffic volumes and geometry to serve as the initial pilot locations to test and evaluate the concept.

“The RTA applauds NCDOT and the Town of Cary for their partnership with the regional business community and for their willingness to explore innovative techniques like this. We are excited to learn more together,” said Milazzo.

The First Week of Operation

ABC11 reported the intersection’s debut was not exactly perfect. With travelers citing confusion and dangerous conditions, the NCDOT made the following statement.

“The town of Cary and NCDOT will jointly monitor the intersection to determine how to fine-tune the dynamic left turn system, and we’ll make any necessary adjustments. We were expecting there to be a learning curve with the public to use it. We will continue to help educate the public on using the dynamic left turn. Drivers need to pay attention going through this intersection, and they should know that using a de-activated lane is a traffic violation.”

Cary Town Manager Sean Stegall says that on one hand, he’s thrilled that Cary is a place where progressive ideas can be born and nurtured, yet, on the other hand, he knows that it is a difficult adjustment, even for him.

“It’s new and it’s understandably frustrating. A big part of it is, though, that we know how important traffic management is to citizens overall, so if we don’t continue to support efforts that the state’s doing to try to find new and creative ways to handle traffic better, we’ll never be able to stay on top of the problem,” said Stegall.

Thinking back 15 years, Stegall can remember when America started to build traffic circles, a foreign concept that had been proved successful for decades in Europe.

“The great thing about traffic circles from an environmental standpoint is there are less carbon emissions because you don’t have to be stopping unnecessarily. Going through that behavioral change was a big one, but now the traffic circles are understood by people and they work,” said Stegall.

“It took a while to get there, but it’s been a worthwhile benefit. They are less expensive, they’re way better for the environment and they reduce traffic, so we’re hoping this will have those same results.”

For more information, see the NCDOT announcement and the Dynamic Left Turn intersection webpage.


Story by Ashley Kairis. Video by NCDOT and featured image by Hal Goodtree.

Profile: William Lewis, Cary’s Cultural Arts Manager

Cary, NC — He’s a father, a husband, and a curly locked, Georgia born music lover. William Lewis, who has called Cary home for 18 years, joined the Town of Cary staff as Cultural Arts Manager in August 2019.

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Cary Jazz Meetups Bring Together Local Musicians, Singers and Listeners

Cary, NC — A hidden gem of Cary’s music scene is a biweekly jam session at Corner Tavern and Grill in the Maynard Crossing shopping area. On these nights, local musicians and jazz lovers are encouraged to bring an instrument, their voice or just their ears to listen.

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Youth Sports Registration in Cary

Cary, NC — Despite how abruptly strange the weather has been to us all lately, the warmth of Spring is just around the corner and with it comes the softball and baseball leagues for Cary’s youth aged 5-18. Registration will close this weekend, on Feb. 16 parents, so be sure to get your child registered soon if they wish to play in the April – June season.

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Hosts Needed for French Exchange Students

Cary — Students from Le Touquet, France have been traveling to Cary for an immersive cultural experience for more than 25 years through the non-profit organization Cary Sister Cities. This program wouldn’t be possible without Cary residents volunteering to be host families. This year there is a shortage of host families and additional ones are needed before the students’ arrival.

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Town HR Consultant Shows Creative Side in New Art Exhibit

Cary, NC — The walls of Cary’s public facilities are regularly decorated with exhibits of locally made art presented by the Town of Cary. The latest collection of paintings in Town Hall is from an artist who is also a member of the Town of Cary staff, Russ Hughes.

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Reducing Waste on Local Levels Inspires Cary Non-Profit

Cary, NC — “Refuse what you do not need; reduce what you do need; reuse what you consume; recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and rot (compost) the rest.”

This quote comes from the author of Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life, Bea Johnson. It’s more than just words to Leigh Williams and Dargan Gilmore, the co-founders of Toward Zero Waste, an NC non-profit organization based in Cary working a step at a time to help the community reduce their waste.

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Mayor Weinbrecht’s 13th Annual State of Cary Address

Cary, NC — On Wednesday, Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht delivered his 2020 State of the Town Address to members of the Cary Chamber of Commerce in a packed ballroom at Prestonwood Country Club. He highlighted the accomplishments of 2019 and talked about what is planned for 2020 and the years ahead.

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