Thank you, Mr. Moeser

People keep e-mailing me about it, so I might as well blog it: on Friday the Chancellor of UNC wrote a letter to local elected officials pledging to not pursue the 17,000 parking spaces that were previously proposed for Carolina North, and to cooperate with the regional transit study in which UNC was already supposed to be a partner.

Coverage from WCHL (with audio clips, cool!), Chapel Hill Herald, and a mention in the News & Observer (scroll down).

I appreciate the Chancellor's affirmation that the community has some part to play in making Carolina North successful.

UPDATE: Matt Dees writes to say that he did more than just "mention" this, but he couldn't find it on the web site either. Here's his take.

Total votes: 286

Comments

Thank goodness for small favors.

More on UNC Board Games courtesy of NC Policy Watch.

And one of the best couple of opening lines in a newspaper article (Matt Dees' article in the N&O) in recent memory.

The letter was generally positive but there were some concerns - one being that UNC continues to try to make transit the tail of a transportation dog.

My take, it doesn't work that way. The letter and some of my thoughts over on Concerned Citizen.

BTW, I think the letter is generally positive, too, and I commend the Chancellor for addressing this issue head on, finally. Here's hoping it's the start of a trend that builds renewed trust.

I wouldn't go as far as to say "road widening has been put on hold".

Why?

Moeser says in the letter [PDF}

Because we recognize transit will not serve all the needs for travel to Carolina North we belive a comprehensive transportation study that looks at transit as one piece of an overall transportation system is also needed.

Beyond alternative transit options (bus, bike, ped, light rail), what are we left with? Roads.

Further, he says

This transit study should be used to inform the DCHC [Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro] 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan. Transportation needs in specific corridors that cannot be met cost-effectively by the transit strategies identified by the transit study will be addressed by the 2035 Plan.

What "strategies" are lacking in the current 2035 LRTP? What is the trigger point for "cost-effective"? Paving Paradise is usually perceived as the most "cost-effective" measure.

I don't want to squander monies on operationally inefficient transit options - but we do need to factor in the total costs of all options - roads included.

Moeser has suggested throwing a wide net in selecting a steering committee that will hire and set the goals for the transit study consultants. The consultants and their goals bear close scrutiny.

One last note, the letter doesn't specifically repudiate the UNC-BOT's statement on the UNC-I40 interchange. This would've been an excellent opportunity to comment.

I still think the letter showed Moeser is listening to the LAC and is open to changed - positive steps.

And the 17,000 parking spots? Wish he'd signalled a complete rethink but, as someone that really hammered UNC on the lot issue, I think it's a good, measurable start.

You know, I was just thinking about how gas prices work...

Step 1: Name an outrageous number to start with.
Step 2: Drop the outrageous number in favor of a slightly smaller number.
Step 3: Be heralded for how much better the new number is.
Step 4: ??
Step 5: Profit!

Of course, that couldn't possibly be the same thing that's happening here. :)

You're a clever one, Mr. Grinch!

Will,

I'm confused about your position. In reference to the possible Walmart on the Orange-Chatham line, you state that DOT has not calculated the traffic from future large developments such as Briar Chapel into their projections on traffic load along 15-501. And yet here on this thread and others associated with the LAC transit v transportation debate, you have challenged UNC's desire for further transportation analysis because the MMPO has a plan in place. Aren't those two positions are a bit contradictory of each other?

Terri

No.

I want to weigh in here on this aspect of Carolina North. In a couple of posts a long time back, I suggested a planning approach to Carolina North, with an emphasis on considering environmental aspects. At key planning junctures, environmental experts would be brought in to inform the planning process. Here, we are talking about cars and transportation.

In many people's view, this 17,000 parking space idea is a non-starter, for a number of reasons. One important reason for concern, which would seem to be important to the University, is that traffic congestion and accompanying air pollution emanating from this project component are likely to repulse the kind of high-quality faculty and other talent they hope to attract to, and keep at, Carolina North. Quality of life is important, and I think one of the objectives of Carolina North should be to enhance (not just maintain) the quality of life of all parties.

A cynic might figure the kind of revenue that the University might be looking at from renting out these parking places. At about $500 per year each, we are talking some real money. However, it can only be hoped that such myopic thinking is not being done and that the bean counters who would do this are being kept in an appropriate room somewhere, out of sight and out of mind.

Let me propose an alternative approach. First, make it such that nobody has to drive to or within Carolina North. People would go in and out of Carolina North on a high-speed, maglev (magnetic-levitation) monorail, which would zip people between the main campus, Carolina North, and off-site parking such as Eubanks Road. Buses could move people within Carolina North, as necessary, but there would be lots of bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. The emphasis, however, would be upon having people live and work at Carolina North. Making Carolina North livable and workable is a whole 'nother topic of discussion.

As has happened often before, we seem to be talking about 2040 without thinking about what will be happening in 2010 or 2015. History tells us that often the future of such a large project is determined not by the best-laid-plans but by the serendipity of what happens along the way. Although the trend is encouraging if Mr. Moeser and planners say they won't pursue all 17,000 parking spaces for CN's final plan, reality tells us that ground will be broken long before any mass transit system other than buses can be put in place.

Most current plans locate primary access and first-phase construction near or at Estes Drive. Anyone who travels on Estes Dr. with any frequency can imagine what it's going to look like with construction traffic first and thereafter the first commuters' (and residents'?) cars. There is every likelihood -- especially without rather emphatic commitment to much-expanded bus service -- that the town will be forced to widen Estes Drive, which will have considerable impact on traffic patterns from Sage Rd. to downtown Carrboro. Just remember what the intersection of Franklin and Estes was like when the 15-501 ramps to I-40 were closed.

It would be wonderful, even ideal, if the two halves of the campus could be linked by trolley, mono-rail, or something similar, which would also serve commuting routes. For now, however, it would be heartening just to see serious attention to truly frequent bus service looping through CN with enough routes to actually cover enough of CN and enough of the town to render cars unnecessary.

Barnes, I admire your pro-transit outlook, but from an environmental standpoint, maglev is an extremely energy-intensive technology. It is also very expensive, as in "makes the completion of I-540 look like pocket change" expensive. If Carolina North is to be built with conservation in mind, maglev would be at odds with that approach. Maglev can be more energy efficient when it can traverse great distances at high speeds (i.e. 100s of miles). Existing off-the-shelf bus and rail technologies are much less expensive and more energy efficient.

As has happened often before, we seem to be talking about 2040 without thinking about what will be happening in 2010 or 2015. History tells us that often the future of such a large project is determined not by the best-laid-plans but by the serendipity of what happens along the way. Although the trend is encouraging if Mr. Moeser and planners say they won't pursue all 17,000 parking spaces for CN's final plan, reality tells us that ground will be broken long before any mass transit system other than buses can be put in place.

Above, Priscilla is absolutely right, and when The Village Project developed its plan, we took this into account. The Village Project Plan for Carolina North can be found here:

http://www.thevillageproject.com/cnweb/index.html

By downloading our plan and reviewing slide 65 on page 33 of the PDF, you can see how a phased reallocation of parking from commtuers to residents over a 50-year timeframe would ease the transition from today's more auto-oriented infrastructure to a bike, ped, and transit-centered future. The plan finishes with under 6000 parking spaces, most allocated to residents.

People don't like collective transport, ie transit. Heck, its FREE here but people still prefer cars. Why? Cars are freedom. Cars are fun. Cars are status symbols. For the most part, only those who have little option use the bus. Largely it is because they can't park anywhere. Anti car people want to squelch the freedom of others. But don't they pollute alot? No more than transit. And what if they didn't pollute, or polluted a lot less? What would be the rationale of transit then? The need for more road infrastructure? Let motorists sit in traffic longer. Then maybe they'll ride the bus, and a lane can be dedicated to 25 mph busses. Isn't that what transit proponents want?

As far as bicycling, there ALREADY is an adequate infrastructure. It's called roads. The fact that many people don't use it reflects their dislike of cycling for one reason or another. Largely, it is physical effort, or time contraints. If you want to cycle, you will. I know several bicyclists who largely ride on sidewalks to get where they are going. I get a real kick from people who talk about a bicycling but don't actually do it nor know much about it. Get out there and do it daily for a year (not just a nice day in March) and then get back to me about the realities of bicycling in Chapel HOT COLD BIG HILL.

Regarding walking, nobody is going to walk from Carolina North to Campus. Oh wait. Nancy Milio already does. Further, the free bus has killed walking, and bicycling.

That said, the busses, as well as all municipal and UNC vehicles, should be restricted with govenors to 25 mph. That is the average speed (at best) on the main roads in town. This would save fuel, wear and tear, and would calm traffic, with almost no effect on travel time.

Wayne

"People don't like collective transport, ie transit. Heck, its FREE here but people still prefer cars....Anti car people want to squelch the freedom of others."

Having lived in several places where people love "collective transport" and are delighted not to have a car, I'd observe that it has to do with density, for one thing, and access/convenience, for another. If the people/sq. mile ratio is high enough, cars are a serious burden, not just regarding parking but also sheer numbers on the road. If the same ratio is low, it's hard to create a transit system that serves all well. Chapel Hill is currently somewhere in the middle -- when students are here, density's up there; when not, no. So bus system serves them pretty well, less for the rest of the town (e.g., no service after 6 pm, no weekend service, relatively thin coverage). But CN stands to change things drastically.

The other comments are less on point, e.g. the per-person level of pollution ('footprint') is obviously much lower with 30 people in a single bus (which could burn alternative fuel or go electric) than in 30 cars.

As for personal freedom? Hard not to get excited about a buzz-term like that. Frankly, I consider my personal freedom notably lessened by having no choice but to drive a car because I can't get where I need to go (job, grocery store) without it -- not to mention what happens to the air I breathe with increasing difficulty as the number of cars in the southeast (from Atlanta to Tennessee to Raleigh) multiplies.

No comment on the supposed birthright to fun and status regardless of communal impact.

But a governor at 25 MPH? Sure, why not.

Among those who think and work on behavior change, there is an understanding that change leaders must understand the *barriers* to change before expecting people to adopt new behaviors. Even those with strong environmental ethics choose to drive rather than taking the bus/ride a bike when they have to make unpalatable choices, such as losing time that could be spent with family in the morning/evening due to long bus rides.

Promoting mass transit requires more effort than just making buses available. It's a whole community design process like what the Village Project has promoted. Many people who work at the university are tied to cars because they can't afford to live here. For those who have never visited the park and ride lots, it seems to pretty obvious that mass transit is used heavily by some. But what are the barriers for those who continue to drive into campus daily? Here's the ones I know of:

1. Have children and are frequently required to make emergency trips home
2. Have jobs that require a lot of meetings off campus during the day
3. Office not located on a convenient bus line (requires transfers--time)
4. Bus lines are too far from their house (elderly or disabled) or office
5. Do not work schedules that are compatible with bus routes

Terri

Absolutely agree, Terri -- hence my frequent use of the word "coverage," by which I mean providing enough routes and enough times to make buses a reasonable choice. I never meant to imply, however, that buses were the sole solution, by any means -- just the one most immediately, pragmatically available and therefore the one that should be carefully planned right away. They can certainly be augmented with: point-to-point on-call shuttle cars for those off-campus meetings; north-south campus shuttles every-10-minutes (bus, tram, trolley, funicular, whatever!); even encouragement of more taxis for about-town service! And some of those barriers will exist no matter what.

This is something that requires considerable cooperation and commitment from both town and gown, not just finger-crossing and assumptions that we'll fit the system to the plan. I'm thinking, for example, of what I observed at Univ. Brit. Columbia in Vancouver BC, which had a cluster of bus platforms centrally located at the most populous and popular end of the campus, with routes both circulating around the campus and going into residential and business areas. Even with a connection, it was very very easy to get from downtown Vancouver to any given building on campus, or from a labratory to the bookstore.

The Village Project offers much that is valuable. And it does make bulleted reference to continuity with outside lightrail and bus systems, although in fairly general terms and not overtly/visually integrated with foot- and other traffic planning within CN. Light-rail, however, may never happen, sadly enougyh. Bus service is already here; but in its current state, it doesn't serve anywhere near as well as it would have to -- a point several are making here.

My point is that planning as if we could drop CN intact into CH with an ideal transport system fully operational may well distract us from keeping an eye on what's going to happen in the very near future -- and what happens in the very near future may change everything about things down the road.

I hesitate to bring it up, but an excellent example is the airport. The very tacit assumption, for the moment, is that Moeser will soon be able to close it to break ground on CN because the addition to the State Budget concerning HWA is about to expire. However, there's nothing to stop someone from going back to the legislature and lobbying -- again and for the umpteenth time -- to preclude closure. Conceivably, the University could be authorized to begin construction away from the runway, but that very act would make it even easier to amend CN plans to retain the airport. Various off-the-record voices say that's not supposed to happen, but there are powerful pro-airport factions who have been the very people to foment threats to strip CH of its zoning authority.

Whether or not you think an airport-focused CN is a good or bad idea, likely or unlikely, the point is that it presents a short-term issue whose disposition could make an enormous difference longterm.

In engineering there is a term called 'control space.' It's that space which can be defined and 'fenced' so that you can play around with what might happen inside the space. It assumes non-permeability. I have been in favor of the university's request for a full transportation study because I feel like a transit study, consistent with the idea of control space, is unrealistic. Our towns are not impermeable and CN is going to bring more daily outside visitors in addition to faculty, staff, and students.

Designing a transportation system that complements the design of the town and Carolina North, supplementing the in-place infrastructure, might seem like an enormous task, but I think it would better serve the future. By looking at all scenarios, we might find that the airport serves a vital *future* role--perhaps not in the way it is currently configured but as the basic structure needed to support small aircraft. The problem with talking about future design is that our assumptions always revert back to the present--and the present airport is a safety threat IMHO.

What I like about the Village Project is that it represents a group of individuals ideas for what something altogether new might represent. I wish it was being used as a brainstorming model rather than as a 'plan.' Wouldn't it be fun to go insert your ideas for what 'might' happen and see what effects those changes would have on other elements of the community--our own little SimCN?

"Having lived in several places where people love “collective transport” and are delighted not to have a car, I'd observe that it has to do with density, for one thing, and access/convenience, for another."

Do tell us these places, so we can get a better idea of what you are talking about and how they compare to Chapel Hill. It isn't reasonable to equate here with NYC for example.

"The other comments are less on point, e.g. the per-person level of pollution ('footprint') is obviously much lower with 30 people in a single bus (which could burn alternative fuel or go electric) than in 30 cars."

I believe the comment was straight on point. There has to be a benefit(s) of transit in order to support it. What exactly is/are they?

A popular misconception is that transit saves fuel or is less polluting. Transit proponents tout its greenness. The reality is that in a bus system, various routes run continuously, sometimes with few people on board. CH Transit runs dry all summer. The net result is that the energy required per passenger mile of transit and aggregate auto use are about the same, 3500 btu.

What if cars got considerably better mileage? What if short haul personal transport included are large mix of NEVs?

I think a shuttle between main campus and CN is a reasonable use of transit, but let's be honest about the benefits/virtues of transit in general.

Wayne

Terri, you'll be happy to know that a lot of work on the barriers you identify is already being done in the region and at UNC. For example:

1. Have children and are frequently required to make emergency trips home
http://www.ridetta.org/Inside_TTA/Employer_Programs/emergencyRideHome.html
http://main.psafety.unc.edu/dps/alternatives/commuter_alternatives_progr...

2. Have jobs that require a lot of meetings off campus during the day
http://www.zipcar.com/unc/find-cars

Priscilla- it is probably hard to tell from the slides, which are more photo-centric than text-based, but the Village Project plan envisioned at least 5 major access points within Carolina North to rail transit, sidewalks everywhere, several pedestrian-only streets, and bike/walking paths extending into adjacent existing neighborhoods.

Ultimately, the biggest challenge with the transportation for Carolina North is the fact that the UNC commuter shed is just plain huge. A 2001 campus survey showed that about 48% of employees lived 10 or more miles from campus, with 26% living 20 or more miles away. How will people get to CN from Chatham, Alamance, Durham, Wake county? We certainly can still improve non-automobile transportation in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but trips originating in the broader region need just as much attention.

I see little opportunity for improving transit in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Small tweaks maybe, but nothing noteworthy.

Improvement implies making it more attractive. It's already "free," so no possibility there, only the potential for it to become not free. More routes, extended times, or shorter headways? Maybe a little, but not much. It's already very expensive to provide a chauffeur system. And since the U is mostly paying for it and is really the only significant destination, the likelihood of it being attractive to the general public is not great.

Chapel Hill is small. It doesn't take much time to drive anywhere. There is little reason to not drive unless one wants to go to campus where there is a lack of parking. Town merchants want more parking for customers. I suspect their desires will prevail.

It's very easy to bike anywhere in terms of road infrastructure, but people are turned off by the difficulty once hills/heat/cold/wind are taken into account. Climbing 100 vertical feet adds the equivalent of 1 mile of flat. Typical people don't want to bike more than 2 miles level. Vertical feet accumulate very quickly around here, the big hills being between 150-200.

I see more transportation pain for everyone except existing bicyclists (and walkers). We already know how physically painful it is to ride everyday. We're impervious to added traffic. In fact, that can actually help by slowing itself down or providing more drafting opportunities.

Wayne

You aren't seriously arguing for planning CN and, for that matter, the future of CH primarily around automobiles and fearless in-road bicyclists (whose natural enemies include buses)? As attractive as counter-intuitive and contra-prevailing-thought arguments may be, they don't substitute for making an effort to reduce existing problems and take advantage of opportunities.

Yes, I believe personal mobility is far superior to collective transport. So do most people, as evidenced by their behavior.

It would be highly wasteful to have transit operating in circles ON CN as it does on main campus. Just think of how many former walkers and cyclists on campus now use the bus. I doubt there will be much need to travel between campuses, but a shuttle will be good for that. As far as bringing people TOO CN, Patrick has well stated the problem transit faces with that.

I don't feel busses are my enemy, except to the extent the driver purposefully marginalizes me (rarely now, but there was a spat when it occurred with greater regularity) and the fact that they turn non-polluting bicyclists and walkers into energy consuming polluters. I also don't like breathing their diesel, being stuck behind when they stop (if the lane is wide enough bicyclists can pass without changing lanes), that they are loud, or that they destroy the pavement (does anybody like those things?). Hey, maybe they ARE my enemy whether I bike or drive!

Actually, I'm not completely against bus transit. There are some benefits. I'm against the notion of planning for it to the exclusion of planning for personal transportation. What special planning needs to be done for bus transit?

Busses use the normal roads. Cars and bikes use the normal roads. Go reasonably slowly and it works pretty well. Passenger rail is another matter. That is a giant sinkhole except in very limited situations.

Wayne

Today's N&O reports on the proposed S Columbia St widening.

Apparently Town officials capitulated with UNC to expand parking via a parking deck while at the same time constricting motor traffic by keeping the road two lane. More pain. Curiously, I'm OK with this.

However, they want to try to dupe more people via demonstrably dangerous bike lanes (according to NCDOT guidelines) to climb and desend S. Columbia St rather than drive their bad cars. Yet, the report on the project says, "...improving vehicle capacity is not the objective of the project." Oh, that's right, nobody really considers bicycles vehicles even though the dictionary does, State and local law does, and bicycles are capable of 40 mph. Bicycles don't have operational needs akin to motorcycles; they are toys.

If increasing bicycle capacity was a serious concern, why doesn't the report for the project say so, and why wasn't a study performed examining existing and projected bicycling?
Of course its not a serious concern, its merely an ideology. Could it be the FHWA wouldn't fund the multi-million dollar project if it was for bicycle capacity?

Very few bicyclists will ever ride up and down Columbia St, no matter what is done. Hmmm, there is one treatment that has been used in the Netherlands: a mechanized ski-lift like rope to pull bicyclists uphill.

Encourage bicycling, but don't make it more dangerous with "not advisable" bike lanes. There's a better alternative.

Open invitation to UNC, CH, and NCDOT officials and anyone else. I will escort you on a bicycle ride up and down S Columbia St anytime this week. Sweat paper towels provided. Bring your own rain gear. 942-6051

Wayne

OK, I stand corrected on my monorail idea. A mag-lev systems does sound prohibitively expensive, so I'll drop back to advocating a conventional monorail and/or train shuttling people all day long between Carolina North, the main campus, and off-site parking.

The transport issue does seem to be a key factor here, and it's great that it is being discussed.

I read the report about this week's Carolina North meeting with interest and was sorry that I was out of town on vacation and couldn't make it. In reading the report, I think that UNC is doing itself a disservice with the "faculty" they are including on the panel. Based on my attendance and the report from yesterday, the "faculty" that are representing the University are Department Chairs, M.D.s, and Vice-this, or Associate Director of That. These people do not share the transit experience that most faculty experience. I'm sure that Dr. Thorp, chair of the Chemistry department has a parking space right next to his building, as I'm sure the transplant surgeon from the last meeting does. However, many faculty park & ride. More park on campus and hike to their buildings.

A Carolina North as envisioned by the Village Project would NOT keep faculty away, it would instead draw them to UNC. As I have said before, I have spent time at Woods Hole, Cold Spring Harbor, Oxford, UCSD, Harvard, and other campuses and my first thought upon seeing the Village Project presentation was "Eat your hearts out." No place would have what UNC would have.

My fear is that UNC will bolt to the rabbit hole of least resistance and end up with another blocky, crowded, unfriendly campus. Which, will still draw investigators because UNC is a great science school, but will have no other attraction.

Robert,

I agree with your suggestion that the UNC faculty perspectives on the LAC might be a bit skewed. At the Thursday LAC meeting Holden Thorp said that he was concerned that restricting motor vehicle access might limit the ability to compete for scientists with communities such as Cambridge (Massachusetts) and Palo Alto (California). Well, I'm a scientist and I've lived in both Boston and the Palo Alto area. And while I recognize Holden's concerns that we "lab rats" often need 24/7 access to our work, I also remember that scientists who worked for me or with me but couldn't afford to live on the San Francisco Bay peninsula (Palo Alto to South San Francisco areas) had to leave for their morning commute by 6 AM to make it in for 7:15-7:30 AM.

The key to making Carolina North attractive to scientists will be to provide sufficient and affordable housing on site so that they don't have to worry about commuting. I can guarantee you that few scientists below the managerial level can afford to live in Palo Alto or Cambridge. If UNC really wants to compete with these two pinnacles of biotech and other scientific disciplines it should focus on providing close, convenient, affordable and safe housing. In today's world where even scientists value their time with family that often means a lot more that salary or stock options.

George,
Excellent. Just excellent.

It's interesting that a UNC representative mentioned Cambridge, MA (I assume) as potential competition. Cambridge, MA is one of the most densely populated municipalities in America at over 15,000 people per square mile. (without counting the students!)

In fact, in the 2000 Census, guess which municipality in the US between 50,000 and 250,000 people had the highest percentage of non-car commuters?

What makes Cambridge more interesting is that compared to its top rank in non-car commuters, it is ranked much lower in the percentage of non-car owning households, all the way down at 14th.

With 56% of people commuting WITHOUT a car, even though 72% of households in Cambridge OWN cars, how is possible?

The answers are of course, land use that supports walking, higher-density housing and a terrific public transportation network. Biking, while not remotely as common as walking or transit, is still 4.12% of commutes, which is very high for the USA in general (though lower than Carrboro's 5.37%)

Cambridge is also home to one of the USA's most robust Transportation Demand Management programs. This is not a coincidence.

According to the Harvard University Cambridge Campus Parking and Transportation Demand Management Plan (PDF), 75% of Harvard employees use alternative modes to get to work. (p.3)

In further detail, 25% of employees take transit to work. 34% walk to work, and 8% bicycle to work. Since 1998, Harvard has REDUCED its share of employees driving alone to work from 33.7% down to 27.4%. (p.4)

Finally, on p.7, see Harvard's Philosophy:

Harvard's Overarching Philosophy Perhaps most importantly, the University does not increase its parking inventory with each new capital project and the twenty-five year trends show that the effects associated with incremental increases in the campus population are minimal. Instead, Harvard maintains a stable parking inventory, and manages all new demand for parking and transportation services. The University transportation demand management strategies work to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and maintain its very low drive-alone rate. Approximately 75 percent of Harvard employees commute to campus using alternative modes such as public transit, walking and bicycling. The commute modes are supported by Harvard's well-established planning principles of preservation of open space, minimization of vehicular circulation and optimization of pedestrian orientation.

The Village Project plan for CN includes an outline of a Transportation Demand Management and parking provision program that accounted for a transition from the auto-oriented world of today to a more multimodal future. This strategy builds on some of the existing successes of UNC's TDM activities. I believe Cambridge, in many ways, exemplifies the type of outcome we could see at Carolina North over a multi-decade timeline.

I wonder how much say we think we deserve over what will be the purpose of whatever work will be going on at Carolina North? Is our purpose just to give input on the infrastructure or do we believe we have the right to also negotiate on what type of research will be going on or what the effect of the work out there will be?

For instance, would this huge expansion be more acceptable if it housed a world-class research facility on reversing global climate change or an "Institute of Peaceful Foreign Policy"? Or would it be acceptable to have LEED certified buildings, the best bike paths in the country, and nearby affordable housing while providing world-class biotech research facilities sponsored by pharmaceutical corporations or war profiteers?

Mark,
Good points and I think if nothing else the university could "buy" support by making Carolina North's mission town friendly. But, in the end it is a research campus and research is driven mostly by NIH funds and partly by collaboration with biotech. I think it would be presumptious of the town to try and control what type of research goes on there (beyond that it be safe, given the location). Perhaps if the university did a better job of PR, town residents would understand just how important all the research is to each resident. What contributions UNC has made to physical, mental, and community health already, for instance?

Excuse me, but Cambridge is, as noted, incredibly dense. What isn't stated is that it is extreme density within a giant very dense area. That is not what Chapel Hill and Carrboro are. There is no density around our isolated little hamlets.

People only use chauffered collective transport because private transportation is made purposefully miserable, largely by restricting parking.

Wayne

 

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