Perspectives

Compare and contrast... Young black men with guns at After Chill vs. young white man with gun at East Chapel Hill High. What's the difference?

Many people have complained of Apple Chill's $100,000 price tag as a drain on the town. But no-one batted an eye at the $681,000 cost of the Council's acquiesence to the Dogwood Acres neighborhood at the same meeting on Monday night. When Southern Village was being built a decade ago, Dogwood Acres vehemently fought any physcial connection to their new neighbor. After it was done they had a change of heart.

Now that the town is building the Southern Community Park on their doorstep, again Dogwood Acres wants to innoculate itself from the change. It seems to me that these folks are pretty lucky getting access to so many amenities within walking distance of their lovely neighborhood, but they fight these improvements like they are a stinking landfill! That is, until they are built.

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Total votes: 109

Comments

I'll dodge the race question and give you my take Ruby...

Apple Chill: I can control that; I just won't allow my children to go. (or wouldn't have as the case know is)

Gun violence in school? I have no control over that. And one day very soon my children will be in these schools.

I used to stand with these people from Dogwood Acres. I think I should have looked into what they were doing. From the article Ruby posted:

The change also means that, at least for the time being, all vehicles will have to go through a part of Southern Village to get to the northern parking lot. The most direct route will be via the southernmost entrance to Southern Village and through the park-and-ride lot there.

Since no one here likes Southern Village, just let me fill you in on what that means. Every car will have to drive up into SV square, and since the square is one-way, they will have to merge to the right into traffic, stop at a stop sign, turn left onto a two-way street, turn left onto another two-way street, turn left onto another two-way street, immediately get into the right hand lane because in another 50 feet they will have to turn right into the park & ride. The square is the main foot thoroughfare for people from SV who are walking to school and back again.

We just rerouted cars from a road that is used by a few residents throughout the day to a square that has constant traffic due to residents, businesses, town buses, and an elementary school. Wow, this is what you get for not paying attention.

Bad choice. Stupid choice. My fault for not paying attention. But, I'm sure that our council will seek to fix this problem at the first possible instance.

The overall permit the council approved last year for the park does call for a new lane along U.S. 15-501 South for slowing down and turning right into the northern parking area, which would be an alternative to going through Southern Village.
But that lane isn't in the first phase of the park, and officials have not spelled out the timing and the money for building the park's second phase.
Councilman Jim Ward said he felt the town should go ahead and add money for the lane and connection in the first phase, but none of his colleagues backed that step. However, the council did tack on another $200,000 to the first phase, to pay for the planned in-line hockey court and a second basketball court.
"We've worked too hard on this park not to have a full range of amenities when it opens," Mayor Pro Tem Bill Strom said.

The costs are two things that are fundamentally different.

The $600k (while I don't agree or disagree) is for a permanent change.

The $100k is an annual cost for a festival that lasts a few hours and that people in Chapel Hill have been calling for an end to.

It's hard to compare apples and parking lots.

Eyes were and have been "batted". I think the actual cost of the parking lot modification is somewhere between $140-$150K, though I think Cal said it wouldn't be hammered out until they got some real bids.

The really strange twist on Southern Park, to me, is that we're paving the heck out of it! Couldn't we go with some simple gravel lots, wood-chipped paths, fewer lights and a bit more grass and woods?

Finally, Apple Chill's costs will be something like $125K minus any revenues ($21K last year) plus the staff costs of planning the event. My guess is it'll come in around $150K for direct costs plus additional costs shifted to the private sector (business/resident cleanup, etc.).

My daughter goes to East and told me that a black female student commented that if this had been a black kid that came to school with a gun, he'd have been arrested the minute police knew his whereabouts, as opposed to this white kid who has still not been arrested and won't be as long as he is in the hospital.

My main question in this incident is why was the gun not locked up? Why did a 17 year old (and from all appearances a troubled kid) have access to a shotgun?

The young blacks were bent on violence. The young white was a nut case.

The young blacks actually shot people. The young white did not.

The young blacks had concealed handguns. The young white had a shotgun.

Others?

Wayne

The young white man was underage, went home, and got driven to UNC Hospitals by his parents. My guess is that he is now a patient over in South wing. I'm certain he'll get arrested eventually.

I don't believe the police have any idea who the perpetrators were in the Apple Chill shootings..so we don't KNOW whether they were underage. Or if they are mentally ill.

I DO wonder where the shotgun came from. If Foster's parents are the owners...they need to secure their guns better. Locked cases are nice...with the parents having the only key--or better yet, combination. OTOH--it's pretty easy to get a shotgun. Kmart and Walmart sell them. Now, one is SUPPOSED to be 18 to get one. Of course, one is SUPPPOSED to be 21 to obtain beer...and we all know how well THAT works.

melanie

BTW I laughed out loud at the letter in the N&O today suggesting that since Apple Chill "has transitioned from a small town crafts fair into a parade of black urban culture", the "new identity" should be embraced and celebrated. Oh yeah right in Chapel Hill. Uh huh. I don't think the author was being ironic, but was entirely sincere.

Ruby, the people of Dogwood Acres fought any connection to SV in the planning and construction process, which I guess would put them in the company of 99% of the nimby citizens of this area. After construction, when they realized they didn't have easy access to the SV perks (movies, etc.) unless a neighborly SV homeowner allowed them to cut through, most realized their mistake.

When the park was being planned, there were more than a few DA residents involved in the process. The uproar now comes not from a nimby attitude, rather residents of DA feel the Town of CH has changed the original plan without their input, specifically with regards to parking and traffic.

On a side note, a part of me is tickled at all this. I made the comment when CHCCS finalized the site of the third high school that it would be finished before a single bulldozer showed up on the park site. This after the one of the main reasons the Town Council gave for not entering into discussions with CHCCS on a possible school/park joint use on the park site was that the park plan had been completed, and the process had been so lengthy they were unwilling to look at changes.

So now there have been changes, and people are ticked; and where are those bulldozers?

I got a chance to speak with Barry Jacobs and Alice Gordon tonight. Here is what I see happened. The park was planned to have 110 parking spaces at the north end accessed by a turn lane and 40 parking spaces at the dog park on the south end. In order to cut costs (?) the north end parking was taken out and 140 spots planned at the dog park. Dogwood Acres residents did not like this idea because it would cause too much pedestrian traffic crossing Dogwood Acres Drive.
Many people agreed (including myself) and so the town of Chapel Hill changed the plan again. This time they chose to leave the 40 spots at the dog park and restore the Northern spots. However, no turn lane and entrance is included. So, all traffic must go through the pedestrian-filled Southern Village square and Mary Scroggs crosswalks.
Apparently, some of the funding requires a "ratio" of some sort between amenities and infrastructure. Thus, a $200,000 basketball court and in-line skate park at the expense of the safety of a pedestrian heavy traffic area. I'm left wondering why:
a) a dog park parking lot is more important than the safety of pedestrians. I have a dog, I love my dog, I will use the dog park, if I can walk from SV others can walk from North Parking lot. It's not that far, my 4.5 and 2.5 year old do it all the time.
b) both a second basketball court and an in-line skating park are deemed more important than pedestrian safety in Southern Village. I used to commute from the park & ride lot at Duke to my work on a skateboard, for years. I get the skate park. I don't get the second basketball park.
c) we can't do a short turn lane, no dog park lot, and no basketball court?

Now, maybe I'm blowing this all out of proportion. Maybe there won't be that many people using the park. But, I think we have to consider if that is true, why we need 150 parking spots, two basketball courts, and an inline skate park. This park will become the local park for Chatham county and the tens-of-thousands of residents populating 15-501 from Chapel Hill to Pittsboro.

Part of what's driving this (no pun intended) is that a left-hand turn onto 15-501 out of Dogwood Acres Drive is dangerous as hell thanks to an incredibly poor design for the new four-lane.
The DA folks did have a lot of input in the park and most fought to keep it as green as possible. Recently the neighborhood, which is one of the dwindling few with small, affordable homes left in southern Chapel Hill, paid for its own traffic study. The town hadn't done one to study the impact of park traffic on the road after they changed the plans we all worked to get right.
DA Drive is small, narrow, curvy and full of pedestrians and bikers. Lots of young people and lots of retirees. Making it the freeway to Carrboro for park traffic didn't make sense and the DA neighbors convinced the council of that. This was just common sense not NIMBYism and council members are doing a good job trying to do the park right and listening to all of its neighbors—even the ones who can't vote for them.
I think we all hope the access road in SV gets worked out soon.

kmr

Kirk,
I can't disagree more. I do agree that Dogwood Acres Drive should not become the freeway for folks coming to the park, but this change in plans does nothing to address that. Enough folks from Carrboro and Pittsboro will quickly realize it is easier for them to go down Smith Level, up DA Drive, to the Dog Park than it is for them to weave their way through kids, adults, dogs, buses, cars, and strollers in SV square.
To suggest that DA Drive is "full of pedestrians" therefore we should route traffic through SV square is preposterous. What needs to happen is that the town needs to rethink this INSANE solution and add the access road now. This issue was never meant to pit DA against SV, however now it has. This shouldn't be an either or where DA or SV has the burden of heavy traffic forced onto their pedestrian areas. The town needs to recognize the lack of logic in their plan.

Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Bill Webster estimated the cost of the access lane from 15-501 at about $140,000, although Town Manager Cal Horton said that he couldn't confirm this. In any case, perhaps we should start a "Build the Access Lane Fund" and everyone who is planning on using the park at some point can send in $5. With a population of about 50,000 we only need 60% of our citizens to chip in and we can do this right.

George, what about charging each Bunkeyville resident (Briar Chapel, Powell Place, GovClub Phase II-X, etc.) $5? You know, get the folk most likely to park at Southern Park to pay ;-).

Should graft in another discussion of roundabouts?

I spoke with Bill this morning and he was very helpful. Every afternoon (in season) the three soccer fields will be used at about 4:30 until dusk (no money for lights in Phase I). I suggest anyone who has tried to get in and out of the main soccer fields at this time now imagine an equivalent amount of traffic trying to get in and out of the Southern Village square at "rush hour". And, yes that is an appropriate term since 15-501 is fairly backed up when work lets off. I don't know how this will effect those people that take the bus to SV Park & Ride, there are three lines that make this trip at that time of day. But, I do know that it is going to be hard to get into the South Entrance of SV with soccer practice on top of Pittsboro-bound traffic, on top of local traffic. What will people do?

I'm telling you, people from north and south are going to bypass 15-501 and the northern lot as much as possible and enter the park the back way by going down SMITH LEVEL ROAD, then through DA Drive. That is what I would do. When it is full I imagine they will just squeeze onto the side of the road, as they do at the current soccer fields.

Let me just say that I am not against the park, just illogical solutions. Personally, I am not nuts about having three soccer fields with those big football field lights on top of that hill. Six nights a week of those lights blasting away? Perhaps there is an alternative, but if you want a park for your kids to play, then you want a park for your kids to play. My concerns are not about the park, but about trying to get INTO the park.

As for business interests. I think gridlock getting into the square will do them no good. Plus, all park traffic will exit through the southeastern most corner of the square, which gives them the chance to see the stores and use them, without tying up the square too much.

Will R,

Now that the State is willing to consider toll roads we might want to suggest designating 15-501 from NC-54 to the OC-Chatham line. And with the EZ-Pass systems the drivers won't have to even slow down (heaven forbid!). :)

 

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