Though the Carrboro Alderfolks and Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board are both are break this week, it’ll still be a busy week for Orange County’s public bodies. The Chapel Hill Town Council will consider Obey Creek and talk about a number of other development proposals currently on the table, while the county school board will consider approving its strategic plan.
The Hillsborough Town Board will hold a workshop on stormwater and Riverwalk, and host a joint meeting with the county commissioners covering transit, economic development, planning and host of other issues.
Starting next week, I'll be hosting a series of four Town Hall events that each focus on a different issue in our community: downtown Chapel Hill, social and environmental justice, economic development and working together in Orange County.
I want these events to be an opportunity for residents to engage and take an active role in shaping the future of our town. All you need to bring is an open mind and ideas for how we can build a more vibrant, livable community. Here's the schedule:
Last week, Chapel Hill’s economic development officer, Dwight Bassett, presented some data on Chapel Hill’s housing market to a reasonably-sized crowd at Town Hall. Bassett’s presentation followed a brief talk from Robert Hickey of the National Housing Conference about what’s happening in housing trends around the country.
Parking, like traffic, is a recurring theme in local conversation about growth and development. We often hear from some community members that there is nowhere to park in downtown Chapel Hill/Carrboro, that a lack of parking is hurting local businesses, and that the parking minimums required for the Ephesus-Fordham renewal district are insufficient.
But the facts simply don’t support these claims. The reality is that providing more parking – especially surface parking – is fundamentally incompatible with urban land uses.*
Whenever there’s a new development proposal pending before a local governing board, the center of the conversation always seems to gravitate toward traffic. Given this tendency, I think it’s important we understand historic traffic changes in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
At a work session earlier this month, the Chapel Hill Town Council received a report on the fiscal sustainability of Chapel Hill Transit. The report describes CHT's current situation as akin to “tale of two cities.” One the one hand the system has been enormously successful in attracting new ridership and on the other hand facing some fairly significant obstacles because of that sucess. The report identifies funding as the chief area of concern, noting that the urgent need for capital expenses mostly to help replace the agency's aging fleet.
Researchers at the UNC School of Government recently released the results of a survey (PDF) they conducted about Chapel Hill’s Central West Small Area Plan process. You might have seen some press and spin about this survey and the comments participants provided in the survey. But before we start extrapolating from these data, it’s important to make sure we understand who provided feedback on the Central West process and how those individuals compare to our community at large.
Regional Transit has come to Efland and Mebane, as of today!
Triangle Transit's Orange-Durham Express (ODX) route, which started operating in August 2014, has now expanded its service. The route now connects Mebane, Efland, Hillsborough, Duke University, and Downtown Durham.