Sunday, September 4, 2011

Knocking Doors in Hayfield

I've been knocking doors in Hayfield Precinct over the last two weeks. It has been an eye-opening experience.
The Hayfield area is very different from the rest of my district. It is in a different school pyramid and is primarily served by Telegraph Road instead of U.S. 1. People in this area mostly shop and eat in Kingstown versus U.S. 1.

I've known Hayfield my entire life. Growing up, I volunteered at Huntley Meadows Park in blue bird counting studies with my brother. We spent a lot of time going into Huntley Meadows back entrance at the intersection of South Kings Highway and Telegraph Road and ran into a lot of people hiking in from the trails that run into Huntley Meadows from Lake Devereaux and Hayfield. The park is well-used asset for those communities.

Lake Devereaux is the newer part of the precinct that was built in the early 1980's. The neighborhood is plagued by the side-effects of congestion. Nearly every owner I spoke to complained about commuters using their neighborhood for u-turns due to the backup on South Van Dorn Street from Telegraph Road. It's a chronic problem.

Next, I moved into the Wickford-Welfleet neighborhood which was a bit older. I again heard about congestion and not being able to make a left turn out of the neighborhood onto Telegraph Road due to traffic volume.

For the last ten days or so, I have been knocking doors in the massive community of Hayfield Farms. This community was one of the early developments of legendary developer Albert VanMetre. I've met several original owners who have told me stories about the early days of the community as it was transformed from a hayfield into a 500+ home community centered around a community school.

I also knocked doors in Hayfield during and after Hurricane Irene. I've frequently reminded people that I can help with potholes, street plowing, electrical outtages, and phone problems but everyone says "living here is great - we have no problems like that!" That is very different from other parts of my district.

Congestion on Telegraph Road and the lack of investment to that road has been a constant theme. Many people have talked to me about the completion of the BRAC process in the next two weeks and their fear of traffic that will develop. Everyone is excited about the completion of Mulligan Road, but suspicious that it will really happen given that it has been under construction for over four years.

It has been an interesting two weeks as I get to know my new district.

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