Super Campus

Faster than a eigth-year senior. More powerful than an 800-pound gorilla. Able to leap over local government in a single bound. Look, up on Airport Road... It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Carolina North!

Yes, tonight UNC officially unveiled it's long-awaited "draft" plans for a gigantic new campus to be built on the Horace Williams property. I have a cold and I'm tired so I'll try to be brief. Pardon any goofyness, typos, etc.

As promised, it's not a significant departure from the last version of the plan and it's pretty light on details, but it has a lot of useful information including a timeline of seven phases, each taking 7-10 years to be completed. The University is understandably trying to leave itself a lot of wiggle room for things that might happen 50 years from now. Imagine what the plan could have looked like 50 years ago, and how wrong that would be for today. So I can sympathize. This is why I think the Town should only approve development plans for the phases individually instead of all at once as we did for the main campus development plan. (UNC's presentation didn't even show the Town as any part of their review process. Freudian slip?)

One of the most shocking ideas is that they intend to totally take over Estes Drive Extension from Airport to Seawell School Road. It will no longer be a straight shot from Estes over to Carrboro, you'll have to go through Carolina North or jog left on Airport Road. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but it's sort of blowing my mind. Like, can we still call it Estes Drive Extention if it doesn't connect to the rest of Estes Drive?

I am perpetually disappointed to see that, although they claim to be building on previous plans including the 1997 JJR report, UNC is absolutely not sticking with the committment they made in that plan to only develop up to the existing capacity of our transportation network. This meant that without fixed-guideway transit (ie: rail or busway), they wouldn't be able to build too much. I liked this idea because it put them in our corner in the struggle to develop and support a successful public transit system.

To the contrary, this new plan proposes 19,125 parking spaces! That's hardly an incentive to ride transit, and it's easily enough to choke our streets with SUVs. (Maybe that will get the rest of us out of our cars anyway.) UNC claims that with their new urbanist design, people can walk and their cars will just sit there. As if. The street network actually does look pretty good to me, but I imagine all those researchers will be going to Weaver Street Market, Southern Season, and Southpoint regularly. Too bad they can't get there by train, huh?

Some other numbers: 6 million ft2 of institutional/research uses, 2 million ft2 residential, 0.3 million ft2 service/retail, and 0.1 million ft2 of "common" uses, like auditoriums that partially serve the public. Little stingy on the public buildings, no? UNC is going to have to bite the bullet and put at least some of the 75% of open space they preserve into a conservation easement. It's just a matter of how much.

So they're estimating 1,500-1,800 residential units. Can you say "new school site?" I knew you could. UNC said they're not opposed to donating a school site, but it will come out of the 75% open space they've promised. I was happily suprised to hear Vice Chancellor Waldrop indicate that the thoght UNC would be subject to SAPFO (PDF).

Other important issues I'm not getting into include: student housing (we need it), affordable housing (we really need it), fiscal impact (Waldrop dodged payment-in-lieu), entryways (McCorkle Place on Airport Road?), access to Homestead Road (neighbors don't want it), and there's more. Did you know that Meadowmont developer Roger Perry is on the elite Executive Committee for Carolina North?

Please please please get yourselves out to one of these public meetings to see the presentation and ask questions. If you can't go, check out their presentation online. It's really important to demonstrate to the University and to the Town Council that we are paying attention.

Campus Meeting: Gerrard Hall, December 3, 2003, 3:30 pm
Community Meeting: Smith Middle School Auditorium, December 3, 2003, 7 pm
Community Meeting: Orange United Methodist Church, December 4, 2003, 7 pm


Actually Will, I think you should pose these questions at the new CN thread which is more about the purpose and financial risks:

Matt, you say we need to ALL be reasonable about this....I guess reasonable is for me to rollover as I'm rolled over....

Right now it seems like this all about Centenial Campus envy. A "mine will be bigger than yours" kind of inferiority complex?

I've reviewed the draft to date and a realized that they haven't even begun to answer my kind of questions.

1) Why? Really. Why? What is the office park component offering the state? The nation? The world?

2) What type of research facilities, specifically, do they intend to have? Am I living next to a bio-hazard zone with high-risk research or am I living next to a traditional office park? Will I have Code Red days when I have to put on my UNC provided gas mask and take the big blue iodine tablet?

3) With the miserable problems at NCSU Centenial Campus (which they now want to turn into Pinehurst North) and RTP, why is UNC building additional excess capacity? Isn't this another Dean Dome vs Entertainment Complex vs AllTel Pavillion type fiasco? Geez, I already have to suck it up and pay extra-taxes support those boondoggies, is this just another? It seems like we're birthing not a new campus for the centuries but another Global Transport Park or strip mall North.

4) Where's the detailed ROI for 5 years out? Most large development projects have run the numbers out 5 years, where's theirs? Since UNC is run like an out-of-town business nowaday's, can't we at least ask them for the financials? Wal-mart and SuperTarget have their numbers, where's ours (the taxpayers)?

5) What's the 'incidental financial impact' on the community? Just as the environmental folks point out that the coal industry shifts its cost to the community at large, what costs are being shifted onto our community, specifically?

6) Preliminary environmental impact assessment? I'm doing an analysis of the potential light pollution issues, but I couldn't find any kind of real analysis of that and other issues.

I could go on and on (and might another day), but Ruby probably wants me to conserve bandwidth.

Hey Matt. I'm glad you pointed out the lack of students on the Executive Committee (or any of the CN Advisory Committees for that matter). But no-one here is expecting to stop carolina North from being built. In fact a lot of us have been working for many years to make it the best possible Carolina North it can be. To me that means supporting and enhancing the surrounding community, rather than treating it as some annoying and meaningless pest to be patronized and ignored.

You wrote: "Of course, Carolina is going to go the the Town Council for input and ultimately approval of its plans." What makes you say this?

The University has not made a habit of asking for the Town's input recently, and only begrudingly went through a very minimal process of prentending to comply with the zoning regulations that keep our Town from becoming the next Cary. Where in their currently proposed process do you see the Town? I think we're were missing from that slide, and I can't assume it was an accident.

Hey pal, I wish you would stop posting article-length material in your comments. This is the web: the more you write, the less people will read. Link and summarize!

You are all right on the total lack of transporation planning in this plan. I'll start a new thread on it later, unless someone wants to send in a guest post. (Use the "contact us" link below.)

I think someone needs to nuance these statements by drawing attention to the points that Ruby made to start this discussion. This is Carolina's concept of itself for the next 70 years, and the school has to leave room for this plan to evolve and change as more needs are identified that must be met.

When I was at the interest meeting on campus, I was a little heartened to hear the officials unveiling the plan say time after time that they were looking for the future to provide solutions to the transpartation needs. No one is saying that we are going to add 20,000 parking spaces over the next three years.

I think we all need to take a deep breath with this whole project. Of course, Carolina is going to go the the Town Council for input and ultimately approval of its plans. And so long as the town makes reasonable requests, Carolina North will come into existance as a product of compromise. But if Bill Strom or anyone else decides to "throw down the gauntlets," we could see a really unhealthy situation here. People have to realize that this is bigger than another fight over a chiller plant on UNC's campus. This is bigger than any of us here now, and this is bigger than the town of Chapel Hill. Carolina North is a concrete example of UNC's mission to serve the people of this state put into action. Carolina needs the research space the Horace Williams tract will provide. And if Chapel Hill decides to interfere with that, the town is going to make some enemies.

NC Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand has already introduced legislation that would strip the Town Council of its authority to regulate UNC's expansion, and it has passed through the Senate in the past. Ruby, I'm sorry, but the University is going to have to work with the Town to change the flow of traffic to and from this place. And that means the road network is going to change. Even if we only add 10,000 more parking spaces, that is going to increase the number of people coming to work every day by an incredible amount. You can't do that with the existing infrastructure. I think we would all love to see a light rail or some sort of superbus line, but from everything I hear, railways are drawing an emphatic "NO" from Chapel Hill residents who are(quite rightly I believe) afraid of the noise and the sheer annoyance of having a train shuttle through their neighborhoods 50-75 times a day. I think that Carolina has demonstrated its commitment to busing in this town---lest we forget, the reason we have far-free buses are because every student at this school pays a transportation fee to off-set the cost.

We ALL have to be reasonable about this. Let's let the Town Council have a say. Let's let the Sierra Club have a say. Let's hold public meetings and let each and every one of us have a say. I'm sure as hell going to fight to make sure that there is at least a student seat on the Carolina North Advisory Committee, if not on the Executive Committee itself, so I guess I'm going to do everything I can to make sure students have a say as well. But having our voices heard isn't the same as having the ability to make unreasonable demands. We are all neighbors in this and we better act like it.

National Report: Building Roads

Does Not Solve Traffic Congestion


Concord, NH (May 7, 2001) -  The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) today released a report by the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) showing that attempts to solve traffic congestion problems by building more roads have proved, nationwide, to be an exercise in futility.

In its report, "Easing the Burden," STPP found that on average, the metropolitan areas that added the most road space per person have had no more success in keeping congestion in check than areas that have added the least road space. The study compared 23 U.S. metropolitan areas that built the most new roads during the nineties (areas that increased road capacity by building an average of 17 percent more "lane miles" of road per person between 1990 and 1999), with 23 metropolitan areas at the other end of the scale (areas where road capacity decreased, with per-person lane miles declining by an average of 14 percent during the same period). Both groups showed nearly identical rush hour congestion levels, as measured by the "Travel Rate Index" prepared by the authoritative Texas Transportation Institute. In fact, the areas that built less road capacity showed slightly less traffic congestion.


Inceasing roadway capacity often actually increases congestion.

There is substantial evidence that demonstrates that building new roads often increases congestion. A well-established body of research shows that new lanes tend to get filled up with new traffic within a few years, particularly if surrounding routes are also congested. This phenomenonoften called "induced traffic"occurs when road capacity is expanded near congested routes and drivers flock to the new facility hoping to save time, even if they have to travel a great deal farther to achieve it. Also, the new roadways tend to draw people who would otherwise avoid congested conditions or take alternative modes to their destinations. The result is an overall increase in the total amount of driving and the total number of automobile trips in the regionnot just the redistribution of traffic from surrounding areas.

This theory has been strongly supported by empirical evidence. Since the 1940s, dozens of traffic studies have found that traffic inducement does indeed occur. New studies continue to support this hypothesis. The most notable of these covers 30 urban counties in California from 1973 to 1990. The authors, UC Berkeley researchers Mark Hansen and Yuanlin Huang, found that at the metropolitan level, every 1% increase in new lane-miles generated a 0.9% increase in traffic in less than five years, which led them to conclude that "With so much induced demand, adding road capacity does little to reduce congestion."

Decreasing capacity decreases traffic

International transportation research has yielded other promising insights: the reduction of roadway capacity actually reduces traffic in most cases because people shift to transit, walking, bicycling and other modes of travel. In 1998, British researchers analyzed 60 road closures worldwide and found that on average, traffic decreased by 25 percent when a road was closed. In some cases, they found that an astonishing 60 percent of the driving trips disappeared.

One example of this was Londons Hammersmith Bridge, which in February 1997 was closed to all traffic except buses and cyclists. Londons Transport Department surveyed people who used the bridge a few days before it closed, and then contacted the same people in the weeks following the closure. Of the commuters who used the bridge to get to work, some switched to public transit and others chose to walk or bike. Overall, 21 percent no longer drove to work. And remarkably, congestion in the surrounding areas has not markedly increased. The results of these studies led researchers to say that "we conclude that measures which reduce or reallocate road capacity, when well-designed and favoured by strong reasons of policy, need not automatically be rejected for fear that they must inevitably cause unacceptable congestion."

simon -

silly me I was doing calculations using polution produced as linearly proportional to miles driven.

I couldn't figure out how to use the EPA software.

My point was that after reducing automobile commuters as much as possible we should then minimize the driving distance particularly in town and this will result in lower pollution than having everyone drive into Horace williams. Is this flawed???

also, please feel free to figure out your own calculations. Someone needs to figure out the immensity of the automobile exhaust and how to reduce it.

Which begs the question - where are the solutions to minimize air pollution in the concept plan?

You're doing the wrong calculation here: for short trips, constant factors dominate. Don't have articles on hand, but cites follow .

A trip of 2 miles produces about as much CO and VOC as one of 10 miles.

J. G. Calvert, "Achieving Acceptable Air Quality: Some Reflections on Controlling Vehicle Emissions," Science,July 2, 1993, pp. 37-45;

Phil Enns and David Brzezinski, "Comparison of Start Emissions in the LA92 and ST01 Test Cycle," Report M6.STE.001, Environmental Protection Agency, Assessment and Modeling Division, May 30, 1997.

Following up my own post: here's the page for the EPA modelling group dealing with mobile sources:

Ruby - I guess lots of groups already have views on new roads -

both urban and suburban

Sierra Club report rips urban sprawl

By Lucinda Dillon

Deseret News staff writer

      A national report by the Sierra Club says suburban sprawl is draining the pocketbook of the American taxpayer.

      Sprawl forces school districts to blow money on new school buildings, it demands high payments to extend water and sewer systems and challenges police, fire and emergency medical services. Most importantly, roads and highways are the "lifeblood" of sprawl, according to the report issued Thursday by the San Francisco group.

      And taxpayers foot the bill, according to Sierra Club authors.

      "How do we subsidize sprawl?" the report asks. "Through an array of state, local and federal programs and through incentives built into the development process itself."

      The biggest federal contribution to sprawl is the billions of dollars spent on building new roads, according to the report. The report mentions Utah's Legacy Highway as one of three examples of projects in the United States perpetuating sprawl. Houston's Grand Parkway and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the District of Columbia are also taken to task.

      New roads cost a ton of money and therefore crowd out other transportation alternatives. "And when driving becomes the only choice, residents must drive for every chore," according to the Sierra Club.

      "This leads to gridlocked traffic, frustrated drivers and calls for bigger roads. But it's impossible to build our way out of the mess — new lanes and new roads act like magnets for new traffic, encouraging more people to drive more miles."

Sprawl increases traffic on our neighborhood streets and highways.

Sprawl lengthens trips and forces us to drive everywhere. The average American driver spends 443 hours per year - the equivalent of 55 eight-hour workdays - behind the wheel. Residents of sprawling communities drive three to four times as much as those living in compact, well-planned areas. Adding new lanes and building new roads just makes the problem worse - studies show that increasing road capacity only leads to more traffic and more sprawl.


Roads: As we build new roads to accommodate new development, we help to eliminate other transportation options. We have no choice but to drive. New roads also act as a magnets attracting more drivers, thus compounding the problem.

Does Widening Roads Cause Congestion?

Excerpted from D. Chen's "If You Build It They Will Come"

(Surface Transportation Policy Project's March 1998 Progress Newsletter)

"If you build it, they will come" is a reassuring slogan if you're building a baseball field. But for the highway engineer, it's a disaster. The fact that so many new roads get congested so quickly has long baffled road builders trying to ease gridlock. This phenomenon -- often called "induced traffic" -- is well-known to the transportation sector. Studies on induced traffic in the U.S. date back to the 1940s, and it is now widely acknowledged that building more roads does not relieve congestion.


Friends of the Earth believes this approach isn't working. Building new roads often:

* means more traffic

Experts have shown many traffic improvement schemes result in more car journeys

* wrecks the countryside

Many of our best wildlife sites and most beautiful landscapes are under threat

* is expensive

Bypasses typically cost tens of millions of pounds

And what's more - analysis shows that the impact on journey times of the Government's new roads will be tiny (about a second per mile). Motorway trips will actually take longer because of traffic growth.

If not roads...then what?

Many towns and villages are suffering huge problems from traffic. In most cases, a new road or bypass is not the answer. This is because most traffic is local. We need —

* Better buses and trains

dedicated bus lanes, low-floor vehicles, more frequent and reliable services

* Cycle or walk in safety

traffic calming, cycle networks, walking buses

* Green Commuter Plans

local transport providers and employers working together to reduce car journeys

Friends of the Earth says

* Less new roads, more public transport

Across the Atlantic, the British government is reinventing its transport policy after an expert panel found that while expanded road capacity enables vehicles to travel faster, time savings are lost because people drive more -- results that prompted UK Transport Minister Gavin Strang to conclude that "We cannot tackle our traffic problems by building new roads."

However, the idea of induced traffic has never gained currency in the U.S., where many transportation planners still work under the Eisenhower-era assumption that travel and vehicle use increase only with population and economic growth and not because of reduced travel times or cost. This is partly because early research was unable to differentiate between new traffic induced by expanded capacity and redistributed traffic or traffic caused by changes in land use. But empirical research has improved, and new studies designed to make those differences clear have also found that new roads generate new traffic. Even the Federal Highway Administration found in a recent study in Milwaukee that induced traffic accounted for 11-22 percent of the area's increased traffic from 1963 to 1991.

Their findings showed an even greater induced traffic effect on the regional scale than on individual highway segments because when drivers perceive an increase in either travel time or cost they typically cope by altering travel routes, traveling at a different time or traveling less. When road capacity is expanded near congested routes the opposite happens -- drivers far and wide flock to the new facility hoping for reduced travel times, thereby increasing the total amount of traffic in the region. U.S. Transportation officials have failed to apply these findings, and evidence of induced traffic is rarely used in travel modeling, where it would have a big impact on deciding whether a project gets built.

These are some numbers to "choke" on.

These only look at the pollution that could be spared by getting commuters out of their cars as soon as possible from I-40. The numbers looking at air pollution for the total commuting distances are too large to fathom.

from the "radical" leftist EPA -

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory

Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for an "Average" Passenger Car

Pollutant Problem Amount/mile (mi) Consumption (12,500 mi/year)

Hydrocarbons ozone (smog) 2.9 grams (g) = 80 pounds of hydrocarbons

Carbon Monoxide Poison 22 grams = 606 pounds of carbon monoxide

Nitrogen Oxides ozone (smog)

& Acid rain 1.5 grams = 41 pounds of nitrogen oxides

Carbon Dioxide Global warming 0.8 pound (lb) = 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide

Gasoline Imported oil 0.044 gallon = 550 gallons of gasoline


These are averages.

The emission factors used here come from standard EPA emission models.

Fuel consumption is based on average in-use passenger car fuel economy of 22.5 miles per gallon.

Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for an "Average" Light Truck

** "Light trucks" include popular passenger vehicles such as pickups, vans, minivans, and sports-utility vehicles **

Assumes average fuel economy of 15.3 miles/gallon and 12,500 miles/year.

= 102 pounds of hydrocarbons

= 798 pounds of carbon monoxide

= 53 pounds of nitrogen oxides

= 14,985 pounds of carbon dioxide

= 816 gallons of gasoline

Lets do some calculations assuming half the people drive SUVs and half drive cars.

An average tree over a 40 year span will directly consume (by photosynthesis) 50 pounds per year of carbon dioxide.

If there are 10,000 commuters each day to Carolina North from I-40 and they had to get out of their cars at Eubanks (2miles less each way) that would save 40,000 car miles each day - or assuming only 5 driving days a week and only 50 driving weeks a year - that would save:

Per year

10 million driving miles

561,600 pounds of poisonous carbon monoxide (what kills you if you sit in a sealed garage with the car running)

37,600 pounds of Nitrogen oxides which cause Ozone (smog) and Acid rain

9.994 MILLION pounds of carbon dioxide

546,400 gallons of gasoline

The carbon dioxide production spaired by shortening car trips by 4 miles each day would be the equivalent of that which could be consumed by 199,880 trees.

Of course there is no way to deal with this many commuters from I-40 in one place but after minimizing the number of people who need to get into a car, we should also shorten or eliminate as much as possible the need to drive into and around town. Every bit helps.

Ahhh...make that compliment, though Bill's vision is somewhat complementary to mine.

Yes the comments by Strom were clear and direct (and good in my opinion).

My question is given how far the first draft appears from what most "reasonable" people expected what is the process going to be??

There was talk the Trustees would vote on the plan in March and then it would be submitted to the town.

Does the town truly get to approve it like any other developer plan?

Does it not matter what the town thinks?

How can a plan that completely lacks transportation of the 21st century and state of the art EVER be approved - or does it not matter what the town thinks??

answers anyone??

Thought I'd take a quick moment to complement Bill Strom on an excellent speech this evening where he 'threw down the gauntlet' and challenge UNC to do better on their UNC/North planning.

I didn't take exact notes, but he said something along the lines that 'public transit is the required foundation for the project and that UNC's plan was lacking that necessary foundation.' This is my paraphrasing, I hope we see some quotes in tomorrow's papers.

I think he did a great job outlining what will be 'the' defining project for our town. After seeing the new crew sworn in, I feel better than ever we have the right team at the right time. Somehow, maybe karma, Chapel Hill has ended up with a majority presence in the new council that has a clear vision, a clear intent and the wherewithal to slug it out with UNC.

Of course, it would be great if more citizens rally to their banner. I'm hoping that Rudy Juliano, and some of the other candidates, come forward to help keep the pressure on UNC to craft a plan, in an honest and open fashion, that all of us can live with.

Thanks Rah. Not to bore the people here with more 'I remember when...." stories of Chapel Hill, but....I do remember seeing the Seven Sisters from the backyard of the Pink House on North St. (behind Troll's roughly), throughout the early to late 80's, even into the early-90's. I'm sure Joe H. could better comment.

I had cause to evaluate our street lighting a couple years ago and realized that both the town of Chapel Hill and UNC almost universally employ rather poor lighting. I suggested we could get Duke to deploy technically superior systems, providing glare-free service with more street-level luminance, that would save the town money (at the time roughly $50K per year) and drastically reduce light trespass.

Unfortunately, it didn't get quite the reception I thought it deserved. I guess saving $50 to $80K a year, improving safety and the environment can sometimes be a hard sell. Maybe I'll take another stab at it after wrapping up the RLC issue.

As far as UNC/North, I hope we can get a mandated limit on luminance per square meter ala the Arizona statutes. This could be objectively monitored and, hopefully, enforced.

Many great points here, but in particular I'd like to second WillR's concern about an orphan quality-of-life issue: light pollution (

CN will be occupying some of the highest ground in town, and Chapel Hill is already visible at night from quite a ways away as a smear of orange. I'm not saying we should be able to count the Seven Sisters on Franklin Street year-round. I am saying that I hope the impact can be lessened with a little creativity. Fifty years from now (if it truly takes that long to build out) will be too late.

To reply to a couple of questions:

I think that mass transit to Carolina North will work very well

if the commuting parking ratio (no. of parking spaces

to number of commuters) is the same as the main campus,

i.e., about 43 pct. 14,000 commuters should be enough

to make a fare-free bus system operate, though I would solicit

the opinion of the CH Transit staff on this.

As far as building heights, several different people have

lobbied for four and five story buildings in the middle

of CN. No one has suggested buildings the height of those

at the health affairs complex. A five story office building,

the school of social work is an example, located in the

middle of the campus, should be fairly benign to the

surrounding neighborhoods.

Light and noise pollution has also been discussed at

the meetings I've gone to -- not surprising since these

were very big issues for the Westside, Westwood, and

Mason Farm neighborhoods. The UNC leaders seem to be

sensitive to these issues. It is gratifying to finally hear

them talk about tapering down the impacts toward the

edge of CN campus, after we spent years frustrated by

the three very tall lab buildings on S. Columbia Street,

immediately across the street from Westside.

George Alexiou stated on Thursday night that the

northern entrance of CN would pass up to 15-20K cars

per day in and out of CN, and that the northern entrance

is absolutely necessary. He also talks frequently about I-40

as a main source of cars for CN. I think that the

Weaver Dairy Road Extension will become a huge issue.

Relating to pervious pavement and impervious surfaces:

The CN slide that impressed (alarmed?) me the most

was the one that showed the hard surfaces in gray. It is

a large, contiguous portion of the 240 acres. I would like

to put a planimeter on the slide and estimate the acreage.

It'll be quite an engineering feat to handle all the water

runoff without damaging Lake Ellen and Eastwood Lake.

Possibly the existing Horace Williams Lake can be used

for flood and sedimentation control.

5 story structures in the interior makes absolute environmental and social sense.

Convert some of those parking structures to housing. Reduce the footprint for office space by making more 5 story buildings and suddenly there is more room to house people. No one is suggesting putting 8 story towers right next to ironwoods.

The chapel hill transit system - depending on the route and time already has lots of use.

I think as long as there are park and ride lot capacity (which is exceeded at Friday Center already) and fare free - it will thrive if parking at CN is held way down.

The whole project needs to start over just looking at transportation!!!

I can't believe the technological solutions proposed for transit are 50 years old.

You're amazing Joe. Thanks for thinking so hard about this. I see you're right that the current plan will support transit efficiency at a pure numbers level. And minimizing the number of parking spaces should probably THE development priority.

Which raises the next level questions of how to do that? I immediately go to where buildings are in relation to one another and to major arteries. How far people have to walk. My instinct is to cram them in. Smaller footprints, vertical mixed use as tall as we can stomach.

I'd also push for some signature buildings. At least one. This does indeed look like just another office park. But what's the incentive to do something extraordiary? You'd think that kind of motivation would be intrinsic -- but time,money and negotiating tactics usually trump visionary. I'm looking for signs of true creativity and architectural inspiration -- and not finding many. Where's the New Old Well? The BetterThan Bell Tower. Is it ridiculous to imagine some part of this drifitng toward another Weaver Street? I know we can't replicate WS for tons of reasons, but we could design physical space and surrounding uses to facilitate gathering -- and encourage community and commerce. To reach critical mass.

The question of UNC System concentration of resources is huge and I tend to agree with MAC. But hasn't that train has already pulled out. But before we resign ourselves to mitigation, let's keep pushing for extraordinary. The right CN could be an amazingly wonderful thing if planned with vision -- and executed with grace and speed. Our town's political and regulatory processes, unfortunately, don't place much value on either.

Alex & "MAC" -

I believe the HWCC language is requesting 25% of the employees to be housed on yes more residential is at least asked for Alex. There proposal is only about 10%. I think people want more housing on this site as this should reduce commuting.

I am hoping they asked for 20,000 spaces in hopes of accepting 10,000.

"MAC" -

There are serious concerns about their financial models. The NIH budgets are no longer going up (in real terms - just inflation).In the Clinton era there were 15% increases in NIH spending. Now, funding goes for war instead. RTP I believe has a 25% vacancy rate and the centennial campus had to scale back in plans. Also, I believe the use of NIH dollars to build new buildings is questionable. Finally, the state budget doesn't seem flush with dollars.

however, as long as they build housing with each phase or front load it as someone suggested and have any kind of futuristic mass transit .. I am content to let them worry about how they pay for initial one time costs.

As an official you can worry about the ongoing burden - people asked this many ways in the Q&A sessions but did not have specifics addressed. e.g. taxes, payment in lieu etc...

Alex -

if Joe's numbers are close and the average residential unit is 1200 square feet -- AND at least 1 adult from this unit is supposed to work at Carolina North --- why would you need 2.0 car spots per unit??? Why not 1 car? It seems 1 spot per 1200 square foot unit might be enough? Although, I can see wanting enough parking so that people don't park in surrounding neighborhoods.

Alex, or you could have it like Pacifica with virtually no parking. Who needs cars?

Jim's desire for a signature building is right on! Mark Crowell

talked about the McCorkle Place-like quad with its background

building as something to be proud of, but the drawings

he presented didn't show a defining structure like

the Rotunda at the end of the lawn in Charlottesville.

I remember when we went to Ann Arbor and looked at

their new North Campus. We were told that at first,

no one wanted to move out there because it was too remote.

The story continued that when its new Bell Tower was built, it became a focal point, people identified with it, and

were willing to move. However, what sealed their deal was

when the U of M huge engineering school moved to the

new campus, it was guaranteed of success.

It's not clear who actually will use CN. Tony Waldrop constantly talks about spin-off companies, but when the associate dean

of the school of public health asked for space there

(she asked in the Q and A session on Tues at the Friday center)

he was quick to oblige. At the session at the Orange United

Church, Tony and Mark made several comments to the

effect that the departments at UNC who have staff

scattered in various office buildings throughout town

could now consolidate on CN. We know that UNC has an

apparently insatiable need for office space, so I am beginning

to think that CN will be used as much for UNC offices

as for spin-offs. I go to centennial campus about once

a month for a meeting at one of the NCSU spin-offs.

I don't think I've ever seen regular NCSU

staff out there. Who knows centennial campus better

than I do?

Jay asked why would people who live on CN need more than

one car per household; after all they wouldn't drive to

work. When the town was reviewing the Warehouse, which

is UNC undergrad student housing on Rosemary Street,

the developer had space to build parking only under the

building, so the parking would be expensive. He argued

that because the kids wouldn't drive to campus, they wouldn't

need one car per student, so he could build only .75 space

per bedroom. We argued that is was nonsense. Just because

a student walks, bikes, or buses to campus doesn't mean he'll

sell his car. He'll still have a car, and the car will need to be

parked somewhere, and if not at the Warehouse, then the

closest point will be in the Northside neighborhood.

The same logic applies at CN. Unfortunately, people do own

cars, and the people who build the housing also have to provide

the parking for the cars they attract, otherwise the car

parking overflows into the nearby neighborhoods.

I think the discussion has moved way to far into the mitigation phase. WHY is UNC building this development? HOW does it serve their mission? Does its raison d'etre justify its impact on our town? WHY not build it in RTP? Where has any development of this size been built in the MIDDLE of a town the size of Chapel Hill? not on the edge, but in the MIDDLE? Does Chapel Hill deserve such a large share of our state's higher education resources? or can it sustain a development of this magnitude? Is this the Centennial Campus at Chapel Hill? or Global Trans Park II? Who will be present in this development?

From all appearances this is just an office park. UNC is willing to let SAPFO apply, which means that they might be forced to delay the residential portion of this development.

Until we are shown the financial and philosophical model that justifies this behometh, we should reject it because it will inalterably turn ths town on its ear........


Two questions (of many). One, did anyone bring up using permeable surfaces for roads and lots? Two, did anyone bring up light pollution as an issue?

Considering your proposal to have taller buildings, I'm concerned they'd become 'beacons on the hill'.

So, along with noise, air and water pollution, we'll have to deal with the loss of what little dark skies we have left in Chapel Hill.

Thanks, Will

Fascinating analysis, Joe (I saw you at the presentation last night). Just a couple of additional notions to ponder: I would add that one might even consider reducing the parking ratio to 2.0 per unit for residential, and an additional reduction in the space/commuter ratio (I'll run this thru Carrboro's new parking formula and see what pops out--I don't have it in front of me). This,coupled with an _increase_ in the number of housing units provided on-site(don't freak yet, I'll explain my rationale in a second), could yield a greater reduction in vehicle trips.

So why add units? wouldn't that simply add pressure on hard and soft infrastructure (most notably, schools)?

Maybe, but I would suggest that the residential development pressure would exist regardless, and without the additional on-site units, would be transferred to Carrboro's northern transition area, and environs in Orange County north of the rural buffer. I would further suggest that in the context of a detailed master plan, that UNC would be in a better position to plan for, and provide(given their proposed self-financing capital scheme) the hard infrastructure, and better predict the long-term school impacts, than forcing all of this development pressure on the private market, and hence, the entire infrastructure burden on the towns, county and MPO. As well, consideration should be given to 'front-loading' the phasing of the housing units to keep pace with the other activities on site.

Further, I suggest that the local governments insist that an analysis of the income ranges of the prospective staff and faculty be conducted, and that, again, the interested parties insist that the housing provided on-site serve ALL of the populations.

Whadda Y'all think?



Kudo's to Joe for his typically thoughtful analysis. Not sure I understand all the recommendations, but they seem to make sense at first blush.

Parking of course will be the big bugaboo with CN. I think Joe's instincts are right -- which raises the question of what do to about it. Are we gearing up for another giant pissing contest? Are we destined yet again to make fatal compromises in which everyone -- mostly the people of Chapel Hill -- loses?

I agree that limiting the number of parking spaces is the single most important tool for driving (pardon the pun) transit use. And Joe's numbers seem reasonable to me . . . maybe even too reasonable. But here's another side to consider. Will CN have the density necesssary to be truly transit friendly?

My view of "friendly" is simple. There has to be very frequent service at peak periods -- and fairly frequent service the rest of the time. Is the configuration and density of CN sufficient to create demand that will reach the transit system "tipping point"? Or will we find ourselves in a situation where there's limited parking AND limited transit service -- in which case drivers start getting creative and spilling into neighborhoods. Sure we could police that, but wouldn't it be better to actually accommodate the needs of students/workers/residents/etc. with real, effective transit?

I get that density scares people. That's why our council almost always opts for less density. But maybe more density is really worth considering . . . especially if it is accompanied by less parking, smaller building footprints (I agree completely with Joe's call for taller structures).

Our often empty TTA busses are a product of sprawl and insufficient density anywhere (except, possibly, the UNC Medical Center) to reach critical mass. It would be tragic if we continue this miserable pattern at CN.


Here is a letter that I wrote that does some quantitative

analysis about Carolina North and makes some recommendations.

Since I have sent it to the town council, it is a public document.

Joe Capowski

Dear Members of the Horace Williams Citizens' Committee,

[ Updated letter with results from the Carolina North presentations of December 2-4th. ]

"We literally are standing at a crossroads," he said. "The university is getting ready to launch an endeavor that will take the next 50 to 100 years to unfold. We'd better get it right. It's going to be our children's legacy." -- Randy Kabrick, chair of Horace Williams Citizens' Committee.

I completely agree with Randy. I have walked and bicycled on the Horace Williams Tract countless times -- it is a treasure today that we want our grandchildren to appreciate that as well. I thank the UNC administration for its public and open stance on the Carolina North plan, and I fully appreciate their emphasis on the adjective "Draft" in the label "Draft plan".

I applaud UNC still more for its compact design which results in the preservation of more than half of the Horace Williams Tract, now termed Carolina North. Of the tract's 970 acres, about 130 are already developed with UNC Physical Plant facilities south of Estes Drive Extension and the Town of Chapel Hill municipal facilities north of Estes. With the new CN project using only 240 acres, including 30 already-developed acres, this leaves about 600 acres to be left in a natural state. This is wonderful, provided that there a guarantee that the natural state will endure -- see the recommendation below.

I would like now to now analyze the CN project as I have read about it, not specifically to praise or critique its internal features, but rather to assess them in order to help the HWCC measure the impact of CN on its nearby residents and the rest of the citizens of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

My engineering training requires that I examine developments quantitatively and search for independent confirmation or denial of all its facets. After examining many development plans, I realize that there are several numbers that define a project and its impacts, positive and negative, on its surroundings. Such numbers are the number of square feet of each land use type, the number of acres developed, number of employees, and especially the number of parking spaces provided. While the UNC committee meetings that I attended attempted to "fly over the plan at 5500 feet" (Bruce Runberg's phrase) without actually understanding these numbers, eventually the numbers are defined and the impacts can be estimated with reasonably accuracy. There is one particular number that both intrigues and alarms me; 19,125 parking spaces. That alone, as I explain below, justifies our committee meeting in December to react to the CN draft plan.

The CN plan presents 8.4 million sq ft of new buildings that are categorized as

6.0 M office

2.0 M housing of mixed types

0.3 M retail to serve CN people

0.1 M community uses

and 19,125 parking spaces that are categorized as

13,750 off-street deck parking

1,250 off-street surface parking

4,125 on-street parking

What follows is an analysis of the plan. Within it, I will clearly state my assumptions so that anyone may challenge them or challenge my analysis.

Homes and their parking spaces

CN proposes 1500-1800 residential units; I assume 1650. Since they total 2.0 M sq ft, their size will average 1200 sq ft. Since about 19 pct of the built space is for housing, (2.0M of 10.4M), this averages to 29 units per acre, which is extremely dense housing for Chapel Hill.

CN proposes 1.5 parking spaces per housing unit, but I believe that this value is too low. I assume that the tenants of each unit will own 2.25 cars on average, so that 3712 cars must be parked on the CN site. Since the CN presentation shows housing in large buildings, I assume that no cars are parked on individual lots, rather all residential parking must be included in the total parking pool that is described on page 1.

Parking for retail

I minimize retail parking, given that the retail use is primarily dedicated to local needs that will serve walk-in traffic from people living or working on the CN site. I assume 1.5 parking spaces per 1,000 sq ft of retail space, or a total of 450 spaces from the total parking allotment.

Parking for community use

Community use parking is harder to estimate, but since this use is small, a substantial error won't impact the final numbers. I assume 2 spaces per 1,000 sq ft, or a total of 200 spaces.

Please note that I am not including a school site in this land use category; it is discussed below.

Cumulative parking analysis

Since parking has counter cycles and is multi-use, I sum three types of parking estimated above and multiply the sum by 0.75 to yield 3271 spaces. When I subtract that from the total, I get the first big message: 15,854 parking spaces will be built for commuters.

Let's analyze this, put it in an understandable context, and discuss its impacts.

Planners assume that a surface parking lot with no topographical limitations can hold 90-100 cars per acre; I assume 95. The tallest building at CN will be 3 stories, so I assume that the tallest parking deck will have 3 stories. Hence the total parking footprint is (13750/3 + 1250 + 4125)/95 which equals 105 acres. Therefore 105 acres of the 240, or 44 pct of the land will be used to park cars. If the height of all decks is increased to five stories, the result is 86 acres or 36 pct of the property. Even with this reduction, CN promises a huge dedication to the private auto. Without reducing the number of spaces, the only other way to shrink the auto-related footprint would be to move some parking under buildings. UNC has steadfastly rejected this solution on the main campus however, I speculate because of the more difficult and costly construction techniques and substantial ventilation that are entailed.

As we all know, the main UNC campus has a severe lack of parking. About 14,000 parking spaces are available for commuters, though 32,000 people commute daily to campus (25K students + 15K fac/staff - 8K on-campus students). As a consequence, the town bus system is heavily used and other alternative transportation forms thrive. On the main campus, the 40,000 members of the university community are spread over 15M sq ft (of buildings), thus using about 375 sq ft per person. This rate supports the planners' typical office allocation of 400 sq ft per employee. I apply this rate to CN to estimate its number of employees, including the retail and community components -- they will have employees. 6.4 M sq ft/400 sq ft per employee yields 16,000 employees, which is within the range that CN officials have presented, 13-18,000. I assume that 1,650 CN employees will live in the CN housing, and not drive cars to work, which in turn presents the second big message:

CN will have 15,854 commuting parking spaces for 14,350 commuting employees

This is the polar opposite of "state of the art" transportation. Mass transit, whether on Airport Road or on the rail line, will fail because each person will simply drive his car to CN as people now do to the RTP, unhappily tolerating significant congestion because a parking space is available when they arrive. By providing 16,000 commuting parking spaces, CN clearly violates its second transportation goal, to “design for and encourage use of alternative modes”.

Alternative method to appreciate how much parking is proposed

Let's compare the parking density of CN to the main campus. On the main campus, there are about 14K commuting parking spaces on 25 M sq ft of land, a parking density of 0.00056.

On CN, 19,125 spaces are proposed on 10.4 M sq ft of land, a density of 0.00183. The parking density of CN is 3.26 times that of main campus. These paragraphs portray a CN that is designed principally for auto commuting.

I speculate:

CN is catering to companies who will finance a building or rent space there only with the promise of one parking space per employee, as they would receive in the RTP or a suburban office park. CN will be used as a major park ride lot for the main campus.

Neighborhood and town impacts of this much new parking

Moving 16,000 cars on and off the site twice a day will substantially damage the surrounding neighborhoods and make travel in these areas very difficult. CN is served by only a modest surrounding road network. It feeder roads are Airport, Estes, Seawell School, Homestead and Weaver Dairy Extension. To visualize 32,000 additional car trips per day, consider that Chapel Hill's most congested non-interstate road is the CH-Durham Boulevard near I-40, with a daily traffic count of 42,000 (I think this was in 1998). Today we see daily traffic tie-ups around the main campus during rush hours, and CN proposes more auto commuting on fewer roads than the main campus. The unfortunate result is that CN is proposing rush hour traffic jams far in excess of those of main campus. Such parking and its movement clearly violates CN’s third transportation goal, to “minimize impacts on neighborhoods".

The proposed northern entrance to CN and its impact on Weaver Dairy Road Extension deserves discussion. CN officials report that this road is necessary to bring autos onto the CN campus from I-40 in order to offload traffic from Airport Road. If one-third of its commuting

traffic traverses Weaver Dairy Extension, CN alone will add 10,700 cars per day to this now quiet road through a large, kid-rich, residential neighborhood.

School site

A potential school deserves discussion as a community use. CN does not plan to provide a school site, but Vice Chancellor Waldrop has stated that a school site is not rejected. Given that more than 1,500 homes will be built, the political pressure from the school boards, the county commissioners, and parents will be so strong that UNC will have little choice except to provide the site and participate in the construction of the school. Historically, school sites vary from 20 through 50 acres, depending on the type of school. I assume that the school site would be taken from the undeveloped land, not the 240 acres currently proposed for development.

Density of Carolina North

To visualize CN, don't think only of McCorkle place. CN will be extremely dense. The main campus, including the health affairs complex has about 15 M sq ft of buildings constructed on 25 M sq ft of land; the ratio is 0.6. CN proposes 8.4 M sq ft of buildings on 10.4 M sq ft of land; the ratio is 0.8. Unlike the main campus, where tall buildings minimize footprints and save green space, CN provides no tall buildings, thereby shrinking close-in green space. This is not a criticism; I recognize that this is done to preserve the areas of the Horace Williams tract that surround the CN development. It does however challenge UNC to engineer a drainage and water reclaimation system that protects the surrounding region from the negative impacts, both flow and quality, of storm water runoff. Would it be better to use taller buildings on the interior of CN and provide more green space between them?

The Process of Planning and Approving Buildings on CN

In the last two decades, the bulk of development on the UNC campus has occurred in the health affairs area. According to former director of facilities Gordon Rutherford, planning and growth there has been purely utilitarian. Adam Gross termed the health affairs area "horrific" and "the Beirut of campus". The late Chancellor Hooker often lamented the lack of human space in this area. Citizens who live in its nearby neighborhoods have had their lives impacted severely. The CN presentation states that the approval of building location and design at CN will "Utilize [the] Standard University Process", the same process that produced the utilitarian growth in health affairs. This gives me little confidence that UNC will indeed protect the neighborhoods that surround Carolina North.


I strongly recommend that the total number of parking spaces be reduced to 9,549.

This would provide 2.25 spaces per housing unit, 450 for retail needs, 200 for community needs, and 6,278 for commuting employees. The 6,278 figure provides exactly the same parking ratio (no. of spaces to no. of commuters) that the main campus now exhibits.

Without this reduction, mass transit will fail, since its primary motivator, lack of parking at the target, is eliminated. Furthermore, such a reduction will make the CN project more pedestrian-friendly, safer, quieter, cleaner, more attractive, and halve the auto impact on its surroundings. These figures do not include parking at a school site.

I recommend a legally binding contract that requires conservation of the undeveloped parts of the property in perpetuity, or at least for 75 years. The needs of UNC change by the decade and UNC administrations change by the half-decade. During the recent South Columbia Street dispute, UNC justified changing its stance on a five year-old agreement based in part on the arrival of a new administration. From this history, one can predict that in twenty years, UNC will have new desires for the undeveloped portions of CN, and a new administration that will not feel tightly bound to verbal promises made by the current one.

I recommend that CN allocate a school site in its initial planning. I recommend that the housing on CN be required to pay the school impact fee. Since historically, the value of a school site is only four pct of the cost of a school, I recommend that the town and school system negotiate with UNC for a substantial contribution for the construction of the school, as the Town of Cary did several years ago with a private developer.

I recommend that CN use taller buildings in its interior to reduce its area density, tapering down the height near its borders. While maintaining the 240 acre limit, CN can use the freed-up space as human outdoor space, where people can sit, converse and eat lunch. We have a marvelous climate -- let's take advantage of it.

I recommend that UNC make the building approval process for CN more public so that citizens whose lives will be impacted by these buildings may provide input to their size, location, and environmental impacts.

Finally I recommend a financial hold-harmless clause for town citizens. The financial model for CN is unlike any into which UNC has entered. It should be publicly presented, discussed and understood. An expert in such financial models and their developments, who is responsible to the town rather than to the university, should analyze the model, assess its probability of success, and estimate its impact on town services and local taxes. CN's economic success depends on major factors that are well beyond UNC's control, such as the future of U.S. health care financing, ever-continuing increases in the budget of the National Institutes of Health, and a healthy U.S. and N.C. economy that fosters spin-off companies. In a period of recession, it is possible that the Town of Chapel Hill would be forced to provide services to a unprofitable Carolina North that cannot provide sufficient funds to cover the cost of the town services. Philosophically, the town should decide how entrepreneurial a stance to take on CN.

To return to Dr. Kabrick's opening, I believe that the development of Carolina North can be a marvelous legacy that we will leave our heirs, and ask the towns and university to accept this letter in a spirit of discourse that will make the development an even better project.

Ruby, you misread me. Certainly I mind that my neighbors across the street might be adversely impacted by this development. That's why I posted something about it here. In fact, another Ironwoods resident and I are in the process of convening a neighborhood meeting (including both Ironwoods and North Haven) so that we might try to speak to the University with one voice.

Yes, there are some very serious problems with the roll-out of this plan by the UNC P/R machine. (Like, that it's being rolled out by the P/R machine, instead of by planners who could take feedback and do something with it.) As I stated in my last comment, the lack of substantive public input into the plan is a violation of what I was led to believe was the CN External Relations commitee's work. This is is just one of the aspects of this process that is NOT going to be OK when it hits the Council.

Eric, your comment suprised me. Do you really not mind if your neighbors in the next subdivision over are screwed as long as it doesn't touch your property line? I have seen a similar attitude from some other neighbors of the University, going back to Mason Farm. Not only do they not support other neighborhoods, they also don't support other critics of UNC if they don't speak directly to their short term self-interest. Organize, people!

BTW, the University's response would probably be this:

1. We're developing there because that land is already used by the airport and we're trying to minimize disturbance of undeveloped land.

2. What uses would be more compatible next to residential areas than residential?

I concur in Jay's depiction of these "input" sessions. I attended the session on campus on Tuesday afternoon. I certainly appreciated the informational section of the program, and learned a lot about what the planners are envisioning. But in the Q-and-A portion, the meeting had the feel of a public relations necessity rather than a genuine inquiry. Only once or twice did I see any of the 5 panelists even jot a note down to himself.

Did others notice that almost all of the residential construction in phases 2 and 3 is planned to be directly contiguous with an existing residential neighborhood (North Haven)? In some instances it looks as though the residential uses will be just a few dozen feet from the backyards of the North Haven neighborhood. UNC has enormous flexibility in where it locates its housing. Why is UNC putting almost all of it on top of an existing neighborhood?

I live across Seawell School Road from North Haven, in Ironwoods, so this aspect of UNC's plan doesn't directly affect me. But if I lived in North Haven I think I'd be furious.

I know this is a tough job for the council and HWCC to come up with consensus points in the vast sea of issues presented by this development.

In speaking to non-political types who attended the hearing the 3 biggest disappointments were

1) the question answer "input" session came across as this is what is going to happen just to let you know. The answers were dismissive or sorry it's not our job to fund that.

2) the total lack of any means of transporting people in mass from I-40 to the campus or any regional tie in for transit. Nothing futuristic as my neighbor said.

3) housing was at best 10% of the employees with no way explaining how this would be regulated and kept for onsite workers.

people who study transit for a living pointed out that the number of parking spaces far exceeds the campuses current ratio by any criteria.

As an aside someone questioned the financial model to pay for everything and really got no answer.

When I asked if they had tinkered with any models to see how many more people would need to be housed on site, how many more people moved by mass transit, and how many fewer parking spaces would be needed to not need the new north south corridor I was completely dismissed and told they have to have it. - It was not even worth considering any models to reduce auto commuters.

Why is this a live-work campus when there is literally more square footage for automobile parking than research/institution space?

There is 3 times more square footage for automobiles than people to live.

Shouldn't this be a drive-park campus instead of a live work one?

Anyone challenge the numbers?

Or, how about just diverting it all the way through Chapel Hill down to Pittsboro and 64, and turn downtown Chapel Hill into a South of the Border kind of deal? Bubba, I've just saved the town untold hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees. You're welcome.

Jay, I think the Town's HWCC will probably find a number of points of disagreement with this plan. I don't speak for the group, but I'll tell you that for all of it's supposedly-forward-thinking planning there are a number of things that are absolutely not going to be OK. And their process for taking public input is almost nonexistent, which is a violation of the work of the CN External Relations commitee that I toiled on.

The more I think about the roads they are proposing, the more disturbed I am. I think we have to insist on a commitment to transit. And who the hell are they to come in and rearrange our street network? They are elminating the main, no, the ONLY east-west connector between downtown and Timberlyne. (Sorry but I hardly think your toungue-in-cheek suggestion of an overpass would be a more welcome addition to your neighborhood.)

BTW, why do you assume the Sierra Club isn't going to weigh in? I hope they will.

Daily Tar Heel definition of a cut through -

"Concerns also were raised regarding the creation of a north-south corridor that would connect Estes Road to Homestead Road, creating a viable alternative to Airport Road in an effort to alleviate the heavy rush hour traffic.

Such a corridor, the committee said, would grant Carrboro residents easy access to Interstate 40. But residents in neighborhoods surrounding the proposed extension said the thoroughfare only would create more problems."

Why not directly divert I-40 into Weaver Dairy instead and get rid of Airport Road all together?

I still count 37 PARKING DECKS on Carolina North by phase 7 and

ONLY 5 currently on the main campus.

Is this true??

Does this bother anyone but me???

Does this jive with multimodal transit?

corrections appreciated.


I'd appreciate your comments as a HWCC member as to how the language you guys drafted about not letting CN become a cut-through "in any direction" reconciles with the UNC consultants statements in the Q&A and Mark Crowell's in the presentation that the Homestead Entrance is DESIGNED to create a cut-through to I-40 for commuters going to either CN or all the way south to Carrboro?

Was that language about neighborhood preservation and such the Chapel Hill equivalent of the "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests" initiatives?

From the Herald:

"The university's plan to build a new road connecting Carolina North to Homestead Road also drew several critical comments. In the current plan, that road would be built in the third phase, roughly 15 to 20 years into the project.

UNC and its consultants say the road likely would be four lanes, and that they consider it a very important north/south alternative to Airport Road. They envision it as a route between Carolina North and Interstate 40, and between Carrboro and I-40, all via the extension of Weaver Dairy Road. "

How many HWCC principles does a new cut-through in a residential neighborhood with access to 20,000 parking spots and absolutely no dedicated mass transit means of getting commuters from I-40 into town violate?

i can't answer--i have been censored

Just for the record, I haven't removed any comments from this thread.

someone help -

did I count 37 parking decks at the end of phase 7??

did I understand this correctly?

Yes, Roger didn't line his pockets on Meadowmount---they were already gold plated!

What happened to all the trees at Meadowmount?

What was Club Sierra doing at the time?

damion, are the answer to the questions coming? Afterall, I'm not the tax office! :- )

I am a little disappointed by the Sierra Club.

It seems to me that this is the last big piece of land in Chapel Hill Town limits.

Either the Town Council is meaningless in regulating the University on Horace Williams development and we should all go home, or the Town Council does have influence on this development and the Sierra Club's views (given their endorsement power) will count for something.

Shouldn't the Sierra club have some view regarding the part in the main tract??? I realize the Bolin Creek Carrboro jurrisdictional part is more important but still.

If you scroll up and examine the map Ruby has placed on this page you will notice a light green "path" downstream of the pond - this becomes Crow Branch. You will also notice a path upstream of the pond that squiggles and is paved across for the road into Homestead. This path - to the best of my knowledge - was designated as an intermittent stream which is a tributary to the pond and thus Crow Branch.

Shouldn't the Sierra Club have some view on this??

damion's inflammatory question, "How much richer will Roger Perry be after this sham???" deserves attention. Could he explain his thinking on how he/she feels this member of the BOT will line his pockets, and what he sees as the "sham?"

Maybe damion should assume the role of watchdog for all of us. He could also monitor which elected and appointed public officials don't pay their taxes. Has Roger paid all of his? I would guess he has, as it would seem that would be part of the vetting process prior to becoming a member of the BOT.

PS: Aren't recycling and the animal shelter County operations? Inquiring minds should know!

Jay, do you live on Weaver Dairy Extension? I'm curious how much you knew about the road before you bought your home. Looking at how wide that road is, it can't have been a total suprise that it was intended to hold more than just your neighborhood traffic.

Ruby -

Almost no one knew about carolina north or the plans for all this traffic.

In fact our realtor actually pointed out things like the dump on Eubanks the possibility of the widening of the OTHER side of Weaver Dairy etc.. making us think we knew about things -we were wrong. Specifically there was a house between timberlyne and East high school on "old" Weaver Dairy that we liked but the realtor told us not to touch it because there were plans for "old" Weaver Dairy to be 4 or 5 lanes - which CARR hopefully has fought off. So you see we thought we were reasonably informed.

With Weaver Dairy Extension none of the "problems" were mentioned to us. None of our neighbors new about this.

Most of Weaver Dairy Extension is 2 lanes total with Chapel Hill owning the right of way where it is 2 lanes - I checked with county deeds office. The 2 lane portion made us think this was indicative of future traffic. The part in front of Vineyard square which is fresh asphalt is only 2 lanes. Interstingly the road itself is currently owned by the developers.

The "wider" portion is still unmarked but if it had marked turn lanes - which I assumed it would - would also only support one lane of through traffic in each direction. Particularly if something nice like a marked bike lane where included. As it stands now - without widening - there is no way it could have marked turn lanes and 2 lanes in each direction at the widest portion where I live. The bottle neck for this road is 1 lane in each direction from parkside to vineyard square - it adds turn lanes at Homestead and Airport.

The larkspur sales map shows Weaver Dairy Extension dead ending at Homestead and clearly their sales agents do not want people to hear this road will have access to commuters to CN with 20,000 parking spaces.

A female neighbor went to the Vineyard Square sales office about 3 weeks ago and said here sister was looking for a quiet place for her kids and in a coy manner led the discussion towards the road and traffic. The sales agent said this would be a quiet area and would not be anything like "the other side of Weaver Dairy". This was in the last 30 days!

Sally Greene had told me she was ready to buy a house in old northwood before Weaver Dairy Extension existed years ago and was ready to purchase but her husband notices stakes with pink ties on them in the ground. He asked the realtor to find out about them. Guess what - the stakes where to survey the land for putting in Weaver Dairy extension itself- otherwise she might be our neighbor.

So disclosure by realtors who may or may not know and may or may not divulge relevant info is a crap shoot.

I will bet you the vineyard square people are not disclosing this. If you look opposite vineyard square how would you know this green area may have a road someday?

But I don't think the road is really about this. I think this road ties in to all the important thematic visionary issues CN presents - mass transit, housing employees, environmental and neighborhood preservation.

Investment in mass transit will not occur if cheaper autothoroughfares can be created.

Investment in housing employees will not occur if they can live in Mebane and easily commute in by car and the corporation doesn't need to subsidize housing.

The green tract of land in the northern part will be split by an autoroad and that could otherwise be left "green" and open for hiking trails.

Oh yeah - Homestead and Weaver Dairy extension will never ever tie in to regional transit!!!!

I would rather see an ominous overpass going directly from I-40 to CN than actually diverting cars off of designated mass transit routes.

Why isn't UNC concentrating on a NEW CANCER HOSPITAL

instead of "The Streets of Northpoint"???

Will Roger Perry build more 'affordable housing' like he did at MeadowMonument??? ($330k+=bungalow)

Bigger is not always better.

What about the air ambulances & AHEC???

What about the toxic pond cleanup???

Where will the town find land for a $1 a year for their maintenance yards, recycling and animal shelter???

How much richer will Roger Perry be after this sham???

Enquiring minds want to know.

Ruby -

one thing needs to be corrected.

the phasing has been accelerated TO 5-10 years.

(not the original 7-10). (Not that any of this is binding/matters.)

I guess if there are possibly 3 parking spaces (19,000) for every 2 employees (13,000) they will need that new autoroad sooner than they originally thought. Is this "state of the art multimodal mass transit"?

(my neighbors and I had mental timelines of 14 years to sell our houses and move before the new "entrance" on Homestead (phase 3) was created but I guess it's only 10 now.)


Are there any funds for sound abatement for new autothroughfares in the master plan?? How about including language to provide funds to preserve quality of life via funds to mitigate damage e.g. noise from autos into residential neighborhoods???


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