Don't forget to pack your laptop - Madison 2006 open thread

I have received no reply to my private and public offers to help set-up a blog or other tools to help the participants document the Inter-City Visit and Leadership Conference which starts tonight in Madison, Wisconsin. But I still believe that if this trip is informative to the diverse and illustrious group of community leaders who are attending, then learning about their experiences and insights will also be helpful for anyone else in the community.

So please consider this post an open thread to discuss the trip - especially if you are on it. It should be easy if you bring a laptop, the hotel where you are staying provides complimentary high-speed wireless Internet. And if you forgot to pack your laptop - don't worry. I will personally reimburse any cost associated with getting online for any Madison participants who post here on this page during the 2-day trip (or posts pictures of the trip on This offer stands for reporters as well.

If you are going on the trip, please share this offer with other participants, I don't know any other way to reach everyone. And if you're not going but you know any of these people, please invite them to visit this page and share their impressions. Thanks!


1. Steve Allred, Executive Associate Provost, UNC Chapel Hill
2. Mary Beck, Senior Vice President, Planning, UNC Hospitals
3. Neil Caudle, Associate Vice Chancellor, Research, UNC Chapel Hill
4. Linda Convissor, Director of Local Relations, UNC Chapel Hill
5. Pat Crawford, University Counsel, UNC Chapel Hill
6. Mark Crowell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development
7. Carolyn Elfland, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services, UNC Chapel Hill
8. Mary Felgenhaur, Planner, UNC Chapel Hill
9. Garland Hershey, Professor of Orthodontics and Former Vice Chancellor, UNC Chapel Hill
10. Jonathan Howes, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, UNC Chapel Hill
11. Chad Lefteris, Administrator, UNC Hospitals
12. Elmira Mangum, Associate Provost, UNC Chapel Hill
13. Crystal Miller, Director of Communications, NC Children's Hospital
14. Chancellor James Moeser, UNC Chapel Hill
15. Bruce Runberg, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities and Construction, UNC Chapel Hill
16. Tony Waldrop, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, UNC Chapel Hill
17. Judith Wegner, Professor of Law and Former Chair of the UNC Faculty Council
18. Anna Wu, Director of Planning, UNC Chapel Hill


19. Susan Anderson, Board Chair, Interfaith Council for Social Services
20. Delores Bailey, Executive Director, EmPOWERment, Inc.
21. Ben Balderas, Executive Director, El Centro Latino
22. Fred Black, Principal, FHB Consulting
23. Mary Bushnell, Volunteer Coordinator, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
24. Mike Collins, Co-Chair, Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth
25. Robert Dowling, Executive Director, Orange Community Housing and Land Trust
26. Pat Evans, Board Chair, Friends of Downtown
27. Frances Henderson, Executive Director, Dispute Settlement Center
28. Barbara Jessie-Black, Executive Director, PTA Thrift Shop
29. Janet Kagan, Chair of the Percent for Art Program, Chapel Hill Public Arts
30. Winkie LaForce, Executive Director, Leadership Triangle/El Centro Latino
31. Susan Levy, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity
32. Jonathan Mills, Chair, Chapel Hill Children's Museum
33. Chris Moran, Executive Director, Inter-Faith Council
34. Hugh Morrison, Counselor, SCORE
35. Laurie Paolicelli, Director, Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau
36. Bernadette Pelissier, Chair, Orange/Chatham Sierra Club
37. Andrea Rohrbacher, Chair, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
38. Sandy Turbeville, Consultant
39. Jon Wilner, Executive Director, The ArtsCenter


40. Anita Badrock, Vice President, Smither and Associates
41. Bruce Ballentine, Principal, Ballentine Associates
42. Bill Bunch, Principal, William H. Bunch CPA Firm
43. Greg Connor, Principal, The Connor Law Firm
44. Kimberley Dawson, President Elect, Chapel Hill Board of Realtors
45. Mariana Fiorentino, President, Terra Nova Global Properties
46. John Florian, Vice President, Ram Development
47. Scott Gardner, Economic Development, Duke Energy
48. Mairead Garvey, Officer, Chapel Hill Board of Realtors
49. Tracy Hager, Director of Membership, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
50. Jim Heavner, President, VilCom, Inc.
51. Jean Holcomb, President, Viking Travel
52. Scott Maitland, Proprietor, Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery
53. Kendra Maultsby Mudd, Director of Government Affairs, Chamber of Commerce
54. John McKinney, Area Director, BellSouth
55. Henry McKoy, President, TCON, Inc.
56. Davis Montgomery, Community Relations Manager, Duke Energy
57. Aaron Nelson, Executive Director, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
58. Pat Oglesby, Attorney
59. Liz Parham, Executive Director, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
60. Gene Pease, CEO, Capital Analytics, Inc.
61. Roger Perry, President, East West Partners
62. Thanh Pham, Viking Travel
63. Scott Radway, Principal, Radway and Weaver
64. Mike Roach, Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
65. Mark Sherburne, General Manager, East West Partners
66. Diana Steele, Owner, Willow Hill Preschool
67. Nick Tennyson, Executive Officer, HBA of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties
68. Rosemary Waldorf, Bryan Properties
69. Zach Ward, Executive Producer/Founder, DSI Comedy Theater
70. Mark Zimmerman, Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Winning Edge
71. Chamber Staff Member to Be Named Later


72. Craig Benedict, Planning Director, Orange County
73. David Bonk, Transportation Planner, Town of Chapel Hill
74. Commissioner Moses Carey, Orange County Board of County Commissioners
75. Mayor Mark Chilton, Town of Carrboro
76. Alderman Dan Coleman, Town of Carrboro
77. JB Culpepper, Director of Planning, Town of Chapel Hill
78. Monica Evans, Assistant to the Clerk, Orange County Board of Commissioners
79. Mayor Kevin Foy, Town of Chapel Hill
80. Commissioner Eric Hallman, Town of Hillsborough
81. James Harris, Director of Economic and Community Development, Town of Carrboro
82. Councilman Ed Harrison, Town of Chapel Hill
83. Alderman Randee Haven-O'Donnell, Town of Carrboro
84. Chairman Barry Jacobs, Orange County Board of County Commissioners
85. Bill Letteri, Public Works Director, Town of Chapel Hill
86. Dianne Reid, Economic Development Director, Orange County
87. Steve Spade, Transportation Director, Town of Chapel Hill
88. Roger Stancil, Town Manager, Town of Chapel Hill
89. Mayor Tom Stevens, Town of Hillsborough
90. Steve Stewart, Town Manager, Town of Carrboro
91. Councilman Bill Strom, Town of Chapel Hill
92. Chairman Lisa Stuckey, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
93. Councilman Bill Thorpe, Town of Chapel Hill
94. Alderman Alex Zaffron, Town of Carrboro


95. Lisa Hoppenjans, Reporter, News and Observer/Chapel Hill News
96. Rob Shapard, Reporter, Chapel Hill Herald
97. Dan Siler, Reporter, 1360AM WCHL



Ruby, I'll chip in a couple bucks to help out.

If the traveling folks are reading this message, I assume they have some kind of access.

As far as additional access, free Wifi is available at downtown Madison's Panera, Applebees, Delitalia, Meeting Grounds Coffee Shop, Steep and Brew, Muddy Waters, JavaEsCafe. Non-commercially, the Madison library system has a liberal access policy - Wifi and desktop access available.

Gate F-11, O'Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois – 10:33 AM Sunday September 24, 2006

About a third of the whole delegation traveling to Madison (including me) flew here this morning. We will be traveling on to Madison in a commuter jet in about an hour and a half. My laptop detects no less than three WiFi networks here but refuses to connect to any of them, so this will have to be posted considerably later than real time.

During my short wait at the gate at RDU, I sat with Chapel Hill Transit Director Steven Slade and Visitor's Bureau Director Laurie Paolicelli. We all three discussed why we had chosen to live in the particular areas of our community that we do. Steven said he wanted to live in the school district and that being within the Chapel Hill Transit service area was important to him (not required by his employer). Laurie likes living close to her daughter's elementary school (Scroggs). I love being able to walk or bike to almost all of the services I need and want.

Our seating arrangements on the plane were done at random by the airline and I sat next to Susan Levy, Executive Director of Orange Co. Habitat for Humanity. Across the aisle was Carrboro Economic Development officer James Harris. In front of me was active Chamber of Commerce member Mark Zimmerman. The guy from Ram Development (Chapel Hill's Lot 5 development partner) sat behind me. Also on the plane were EmPOWERment, Inc. Director Delores Bailey, Carrboro Alderman Randee Haven-O'Donnell, local Sierra Club President Bernadette Pellissier, Duke Power VP Scott Gardner and numerous others.

Susan Levy and I spent the whole flight talking pretty much just to one another and we discussed a number of things about ourselves (where her hometown is, my kids etc.) We also discussed possible locations for future Habitat for Humanity developments and the question of whether new and expensive condo developments in Carrboro and Chapel Hill will need to make payments in lieu of affordable housing – pros and cons of that approach etc. We also discussed the status of the Sunrise Road development and I contrasted that situation with how my neighborhood responded to the Mental Health Association building a small apartment complex in my neighborhood – there was concern, but I facilitated a series of meeting between my neighbors and the MHA and eventually the project was approved and built. We also discussed (I kid you not) Indiana's method of land records description, Thomas Jefferson's plan for dividing up and homesteading the western United States , the consequent displacement of Native Americans and Susan's first job in North Carolina as an organizer in low income neighborhoods in Durham.

We are supposed to arrive around 1:00 PM and get checked in to our hotel. There will be a bus tour of the campus and community and a joint Orange County/Dane County reception this evening. Then free time tonight. I'll update further when we get to Madison.

So far, WillR, you will be pleased to know that there does not appear to be any cave-in on Carolina North.

Madison Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin - 4:02 PM CDT (CST?)

So our flight wound up being delayed about 2 and a half hours, which seemed bad until we arrived here and learned that the third flight - American Airlines - out of Chicago was canceled altogether and 18 of us attendees are stranded there - including Aaron Nelson, James Moeser and a number of other key people. Apparently they are going to take a bus to get the rest of the way here - about a two hour drive.

We wound up with a considerable amount of extra time to socialize at O'Hare however and I spent a fair amount of time talking to Tony Waldrop about the University of Illinois (where he once worked), the Cybrary and the outer banks of North Carolina. My seat mate on the plane was not one of the members of our delegation, so I slept on the plane.

We are now off to go on a bus tour of Madison and the University and then there is supposed to be a recpetion at about 6pm, although it is unclear whether the Chancellor et al. will make it by then.

PS The free WiFi in our rooms seems to be working well with my laptop unlike the O'Hare networks which all had natwork names like "United Free Public Wireless" etc.

These are great notes, Mark. Thanks for keeping us involved! Please remind the other participants of the open invitation.

Enjoy some good local beer for us! ;-)

Enjoy that beer on us Mark (or at least me), you're demonstrating that transparency doesn't have to be boring (or, I hope, too onerous).

Let's hope other participants jump in.

ps. Glad to hear no cave-in on CN, though who knows what's going on on the bus. Maybe, in grand UNC style, a kegger?


Thanks for the great update. Hopefully your stranded colleagues have arrived by now and have been able to join the activities. I'm not sure what cave-in on Carolina North WillR was worried about but I'm certainly not worried that proximity will result in strange bedfellows. I do hope that there might be some behind-the-scenes progress in some of the hot topic areas of CN where we seem to be at an impasse for the moment. Good luck and keep us posted when you can.

GeorgeC, Mark's joking.

mark haveyou notice any thing for pwd up there thats unique up there let me know

let''s just say that all is not as rosy with this wireless system as you have been led to believe. it's not easy to post when i can't even send home my reports for the good old fashioned radio.

and you wouldn't believe some of the cows they've got around the capitol. similar to some of the work that Liz P did back in Lexington.


But was there a mint on the pillow? I look forward to your 1st podcast Dan.

BTW, here's a list of hotspots:

Also, here's a map:,+Wisconsin+free+wifi&ie=...

If you're staying on the east side of the hotel you might even pick up Jamba Juice.

Rob Shapard is off to a good start. Here's two "soon to disappear" links to the increasingly net-unfriendly HeraldSun:

Vis to Wis. a lot like home

Madison Musings

Chocolates on the nightstand, not mints.

Several of us went out together after the 6-8 pm reception and a number of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Dane Co and Madison elected officials met informally (ie at the Great Dane Brew Pub). There was an interesting discussion of the role of progressive elected officials in a liberal town. One Madisonian said, "You have to understand that when I say 'the conservatives' I mean the Democratic Party."

There will no doubt be a lot of discussion about Carolina North, at least in an indirect way. This morning we meet about Downtown Madison. Later in the morning we choose among a couple different topics Town-Gown, Housing, Arts or Land Use. Then we will walk down State Street (their larger version of Weaver St or Franklin St) and have lunch at the UW Union.

Then we will visit UW's research park and have a 2 hour session on the research park. And then some more optional activities. During the optional activities, I will be joining Chris Moran for a visit to a homeless outreach program here in Madison.

It is beautiful weather here right now and the city is also beautiful. There are two huge and gem-like lakes in 6 or so blocks in opposite directions. The downtown is tastefully built up in roughly 8-12 story buildings.

I'll try to post again today. Oh and yes, everyone is now here. The Chancellor et al. arrived by bus around 7pm and they were all in remarkably good spirits.

It appears Dan Coleman is having trouble with his OP login.

Sounds like the group had informal fun last night at Frank Lloyd Wright designed lakeside conference center. As Dan say "everyone eager to explore Madison's beers & brats."

He says that other than the scheduled meetings "some good off-the-program work underway: Randee's set up a meeting with Sustain Dane; I will be join Chris Moran on a walk with a street outreach worker to talk about homeless and poverty issues; also connecting with folks at Progressive Dane ("

Never heard of the Progressive Dane group before but, in light of Mark's comment about the Madisonian view on Dems, their platforms seem to fill a gap the local Madisonian Dems have left.

dan mark and alex are there any things that people up there are doing abouthousing like section 8 housing .is there list closed or open.

We could have our own lake in Chapel Hill by damming Booker Creek and creating a lake where Eastgate is. Imagine a park and performance venue down by the lake. No flooding problems would be a fringe benefit.

are there any things that the government of madision doing to kp people out of institions if so what

The session on downtown Madison was not particularly interesting to me (a bit too much cheerleading for downtown Madison and not enough substance).

The discussion on Town Gown relations on the other hand was fascinating. A few highlights:

1. UW is adding 7 million sq ft of buildings to its main campus right now. Roger Perry asked: How many parking spaces will you add as a part of that. Answer: None.

2. I asked: Does the lack of parking at UW hurt your faculty recruitment? Answer: No. People come to work here because it is a great University.

3. Gene Pease asked: For the University's commitment to preserve a large portion of the satellite research campus as nature preserve, did the university enter into a conservation easement or other legally binding protection for the land? Answer: No, UW is not ready to do so because they would like to get 5 or 10 years of managment of the proeprty under their belt before trying to be overly prescriptive about the use of the preserved land.

4. Bill Strom asked: Who decides how to manage that preserve? Answer: A committee of 12 - 3 appointed by the Mayor of Madison, 3 students, 3 faculty and 3 staff at UW.

more later.

Thank you Mark, all good questions. Was there an audible gasp from the UNC folks on the parking-less, 7 million sq/ft build out?

Did anyone ask for a breakdown of the research parks financial underpinnings? Its structure is somewhat different than the one envisaged for CN.

To those in Madison reading, if anyone wants to ask these questions, or to pass this along to Stephen Spade, David Bonk, Alex Zaffron, or others who may be looking into transportation issues, feel free.

In 2005, before Amtrak President David Gunn was fired for actually improving the performance of Amtrak against the wishes of the administration, Gunn and his streamlined management team drew up a well-done, first-in-a-long-time strategic plan for Amtrak. It identified eight "Top Tier" corridors for rail infrastructure investment outside of the Boston-Washington corridor. (Amtrak does not curently invest in rail infrastructure in any meaningful fashion outside of the Bos-Wash line)

In yet another Chapel Hill/Madison coincidence, both cities are very close to but not currently on one of those Top Tier corridors. In NC, the Raleigh to Charlotte NCRR mainline was cited as one of the best opportunities for rail improvement in the US. The line has already received $314 million in investment since 1994, mostly by NCDOT. 6 passenger trains traverse this segment each day, though none stop in Orange County. The Carrboro rail spur (and thus Carolina North) connects to this high-quality line south and east of Hillsborough at the former University Station junction.

In WI, the line from Milwaukee to Madison is identified as a Top Tier investment opportunity as well. There is currently no passenger rail service to Madison. The Milwaukee-Chicago corridor has received $40 million in investment since 1994.

Analysis of both corridors can be found on back-to-back pages in Amtrak's powerpoint on this strategic plan, pages 81 and 82 of the PDF below:

Here are some questions to ask.

1. In light of the lack of Federal direction on rail infrastructure, are WIDOT and cities such as Madison and Milwaukee working together on any passenger rail studies or engineering projects independent of the federal government?

2. Unlike many other states, both NC and WI have a state rail plan. Are Madison and University of Wisconsin leaders participating as stakeholders in development and implementation of the WI state rail plan? If so, how?

3. If there are rail infrastructure projects proposed for Madison, are there any already allocated public funds to move along their implementation regardless of whether or not the Federal Government participates? If so, how much, and what types of sources are used to implement these projects?

4. If there is a local 5-year plan for Madison's bus transit, is planning for future rail service integrated into that effort? If so, how? Will local sources of funding for transit be used to support and operating or capital investments for a rail connection to Madison?

Kudos to Mark for asking the question on parking.

Go Patrick!

We have a break so I'll add my thoughts. There were several interesting things in the downtown session I thought - Madison recently enacted a panhandling ordinance that was publically accepted, and passed all legal review to resolve a problem they felt was going from bad to worse. We didn't get a lot of detail and do not know if it has passed a legal challenge yet. Their Holloween has gotten ou of control so they are enclosing the area, and you will have to pay to get in this year, modeling after Berkley(?), has done this now for several years. The director of the Childrens Museam made an interesting case of the sucess of their museam, and presented some facts on how much traffic and income it is generating to downtown. We need to find a larger permanemt space for Kidzo downtown.


I also sat through the town & gown, and have other insights - the University has a 20 year plan and is planning on sticking within its borders (publically and clearly defined)for development. This must be a great sigh of relief if you live in a neighborhood next to campus. There are 41,000 students, 17,000 faculty/staff, and 2-3,000 daily vistors. 17,000 parking spaces. Do the math. They also are adding in the next 7-10 years 7 million square feet of building and adding 0 parking spaces. The University goes through all town board approval process, building by building, similar to us. A major exception is that there are two "joint neighborhood" committees established (each for different parts of the city) that review concepts and the committees try to identify and resolve all the major/minor issues of a project before the planning begins. The committees have town appointed neighborhood representatives, city council members, and university representitives. Once it passes this committee, it appears most projects get approved rather smoothly. I had about 20 more questions that could have been asked, but time didn't permit.

Thanks Gene. Were any reps from the neighborhood committees available to talk to? I wonder how Diana would feel about getting an invite ;-)

Will, on the panel there was a neighborhood rep ( also on the planning board), and she was very positive about the process. It came out of a "chiller plant" type fight about 11 years ago. Diana, M. Collins and I discussed the structure, and all believe it would be very positive if it was adopted in CH. The chancellor expressed a strong interest in the idea. Haven't been able to get a read from the four council members here yet. Try to tonight.

That's a triumvirate I'd trust ;-) Maybe the 4 Council folks will weigh in after a couple brats and beers? Thank you for the update, Gene.

I had a slighly different opinion from Mark on the downtown session, there were a couple of interesting thigs. The director of the childrens museam made a concise and exciting presentation about how much their childrens museam contributes to downtown, in getting families downtown, in economic terms, in excitement and fun, making Madison downtown a more vibrant place. I definately feel we need to find a larger, more permanent space for Kidzo - maybe the post office building?

Not sure what to do about this one - Madison had a worstening panhandler situation, so recently enacted a new law severly limiting panhandling in downtown. It passed public and city alderman easily, and was creafted by supposily good lawyers. It has significantly cut down on the problem. We didn't get much information, and I'm not clear if it has withstood a legal challange.

One last thread tonight - the morning sessions were great, afternoon session I thought had little value. It might have had value for the university (more insights into a successful research park), but little to no value for the town folks. We were bused to their research park which looks a lot like RTP, without as many trees, and ugler buildings. It sits out of the city, is totally transit oriented, and all office buildings. In the next 2-3 years they will begin a second park, which will be more dence, and mixed use, but it still will not have too many similarities to CN. But most of the presentation and discussion was centered around the one we were at, so lots of town folks wandered in and out to the hall where there were good snacks. Not sure there were many lessions learned.

Wisconcin natures are very nice, brew great beer, brats are excellent, but sure talk funny.

Panhandling ordinance appears to focus on changes in downtown's streetscape:

The current law, which allows panhandling between the curb and light poles on State Street, will become obsolete within the next several years as the streetscape changes. Rather than using light poles and curbs as a benchmark, Verveer said he seeks to disallow panhandling in areas where people feel most vulnerable.

In effect, panhandling would be banned within 25 feet of open sidewalk cafés, intersections, ATMs and 12 feet from all city businesses, not exclusively those located on State Street and Capitol Square.

“My intention is not to ban panhandling by any means. I want to strike the balance between giving people more freedom from being harassed and allowing panhandlers to engage in the practice,” Verveer said. “It's a tough balancing act to juggle.”

Under Verveer's plan, menacing and aggressive panhandling outlawed under the 1985 law will still stand. Panhandlers may not touch, follow or harass shoppers, according to the law.

Madison also has a program called Reachout that intervenes before there's a problem:

The Downtown ReachOut Program was an idea that came to DMI via (the then) 8th Alderperson, Todd Jarrell, in Spring of 2001. With the help of many people (including a similar project in Burlington, Vermont) and the generous financial support of Steve Brown at Steve Brown Apartments, the program began May 1, 2003. The ReachOut workers work one-on-one with the people on the street to reduce disruptive behavior exhibited in the downtown/State Street area; connect the mentally ill, addicted and/or homeless individuals with services such as treatment, counseling and housing; and to educate the public on issues surrounding street people in the downtown/State Street area. The program has been extremely effective in getting people off the street and into treatment, and with educating people not to give to panhandlers-the public can now give directly to the ReachOut Program. In addition to Steve Brown Apartments, who funds the entire education element of ReachOut, the additional funders are the City of Madison, Dane County, the Evjue Foundation, United Way of Dane County, and District One (Madison's Central Business Improvement District).

The changes in Madison's 24.12 ordinance:

Panhandling Restrictions Warning not required:

• 50 ft. from ATM
• 25 ft. from open sidewalk café

After warning:

• 25 ft. from any intersection
• 12 ft. from any building with non-residential use
• 20 ft. from any entrance that contains non-residential use

Thanks for the info WillR. I was intrigued by the fact that Madison's Downtown ReachOut Program has some ties to Burlington, Vt. That is another college town, somewhat similar in size to Chapel Hill, that I have heard some good things about (other than their weather which you have to be a die-hard yankee to appreciate in the winter). Is anyone familiar with Burlington and how they have handled growth and town-gown relationships?

I've been to Burlington a number of times. Beautiful city with, the last time I visited, the same kind of commercial flight from downtown folks predict for Chapel Hill.

Great activities, including an annual bike race. More on Burlington here.

BTW, Burlington Telecom serves as an interesting model for municipal networking:

The City of Burlington, like many other small cities and towns around the USA, has decided to ensure that all of Burlington's citizens and business have the up-to-date telecommunication services they need by building a municipally owned 21st century fiber optic infrastructure.

By the end of 2008 this infrastructure will pass every home and business in the City and will be able to carry virtually unlimited amounts of traffic and services. As such, this network will be the "electronic public road" system of the future, capable of delivering all the services that are rapidly appearing and which will be basic to the lives and economy of communities in the coming decades.

Although we are a City Department, this network is privately financed and clean of any taxpayer contributions. To pay for the effort, Burlington Telecom will provide the three basic services itself: cable TV, telephone, and high-speed Internet. But anyone else will also be free to use the network to deliver these or other services. (This is similar to a City providing public roads while also providing basic bus service as well. Citizens and businesses can use the bus service or they can use the roads to provide their own transportation.)

While I hope our Council folk take a few moments to discuss Madison's long road to muni-networking, I wish they'd also spend some time looking at Burlington's innovative approach.


Other than your appreciation of Burlington's muni-networking, it wasn't clear to me whether you think Burlington has some of the answers we seek or whether it has already experienced some of the potentially negative growth pains that we are just beginning to experience.

GeorgeC, they do have some answers, including, believe it or not, the Burlington Telecom investment.

Burlington is an eco-friendly place that wanted to preserve their historic downtown (and leverage their wonderful waterfront). As I've read, the BT effort, self-financed, was put in place to create a rich environment for business to flourish - including small-scale operations in downtown's historic district. High quality communications at a competitive price (and a very low cost of entry) allowed economic infill.

Burlington also has an interesting economic development model - a few (like 10 year plan to end homelessness) that parallel our local efforts. They also have a department dedicated to economic development. Also, The Institute for Sustainable Communities is sited in Burlington and helped develop their vision 2030 program.

The committees caught the ear of UNC Chancellor James Moeser, who said it sounded to him like a way to get key issues and possible solutions on the table early, so that "freelance dissenters" couldn't derail a project late in the process. Therefore, he said, "The person with the loudest voice who complains isn't able to override a constituted process that's really representative."

Hmmm, wonder what Moeser means?

Two additional pieces from the HeraldSun's Rob Shapard:

No longer 'the 1,000-pound badger'
Madison musings

Yesterday afternoon's session at the University Research Park was instructive only regarding what not to do. While the technology development aspect of UW's URP was very impressive, the URP campus was a disastrously sprawling, pedestrian-unfriendly, transit-unfriendly nightmare. The good news: Chancellor Moeser was quick to disavow the physical layout of the URP.

Later many of us went on a walking tour with homeless advocates through downtown Madison and we learned a lot about a very different approach that some agencies use here. They have "Street Social Workers" who go out and actively try to engage homeless people on the sidewalks in an effort to bring the services and referrals directly to them, rather than sitting back at a shelter waiting for homeless people to show up.

Ellen, I did not see anything especially innovative (as far as I could tell) regarding people with disabilities (except to the extent that the street social worker program serves that population as well). However, there does seem to be a very inclusive atmosphere here and there are definitely a lot of city amenities that serve peopel in wheelchairs (eg surb cuts at the crosswalks and so forth). Having traversed State Street a number of times, I can see that this is a very socially engaged population here in Madison.

Someone I know at UW tells me that a significant percentage of the 7 million square feet of construction is actually demolition and replacement construction, as distinguished from true spatial expansion. If true, that might help explain how UW is managing 7 million square feet without a new parking space.

Still, my correspondent also tells me that UW is just a very pedestrian- and mass-transit-friendly place. I hope that our midwestern travelers will get a detailed sense of how their community has managed to pull that off -- how they've managed to motivate so many people to ditch their cars.

(Also, a point of information would be helpful to this guy who has never visited Madison: how hilly is it there? It has always seemed to me that one of our big challenges is that Chapel Hill is a *hill* -- that you pretty much have to deal with biking uphill to get to downtown and campus. Yes, you can cheat a bit by going up Estes to Carrboro and around that way, but you still have a hill along Estes to deal with, not to mention the fact that there are about 8 microns of shoulder space on the steepest section. If you want to go up MLK/Airport or up Hillsborough or up the hill over by the School of Government, forget about it.)


You raise a very important point regarding the issue of hills in CH. And it isn't just about the extra effort required to go up the hills -either on bike or on foot. As someone who has had three knee operations I can say that walking on flat terrain is no problem but inclines can sometimes present a lot of difficulty if you're missing any knee cartilage - the angle that the joint assumes often results in a bone-on-bone situation. So terrain definitely needs to be considered in terms of the "walkability" of any design.

I was wondering about how much workforce housing is available close in to the university--making walking/biking a more feasible option for university employees. Plus I am interested in knowing how UMW interacts with the community college and the four colleges located in Madison and the role, if any, those institutions have in the research park.

The Economic Development Commission Report to the Mayor from 2004 is an interesting read. They made 3 recommendations:

1. Make economic development and business development a high priority for every part of city government that is involved with or affects business.

2. Commit technology and staff resources to designing and implementing a comprehensive project management and development, review, approval and implementation system.

3. Institute a review and restructuring of commissions' role in the development review process and of the city regulatory environment affecting business location and expansion.

For the record, Chapel Hill has social workers from the police department and from the hospital out on the street working directly with the homeless. We may need more, but the concept, at least, is already in place here.

Terri, the Madison ReachOut program seems pretty comprehensive. I noticed they're tag teaming with folks working on longterm homelessness.

A number of articles mention aggressive pan-handling by teenagers that aren't homeless as the motivation behind the ordinance rework.

GeorgeC, I'm working on a GoogleMap of my "hill avoidance" approaches to Downtown and Carrboro. Several involve trading distance for height - I'll go an extra 1/4 mile if I can do it all on a %5 grade.

Madison participants, has anyone talked muni-networking (WIFI) yet?

Eric, Madison is quite flat and that does seem to be a factor. Reconstruction is a part of the story as you intimated, although the replacement buildings are generally much larger than the ones being eliminated. The main approach in Madison seems to be 1) dense downtown development (lots of 10-12 story buildings) and 2) a refusal to accomodate commuting by car. It was particularly interesting to hear the UW Vice-Chancellor for Facilities Planning express that sentiment.

Terri, I don't know about that, but IFC Executive Director Chris Moran seems to think that this is something we are not doing in southern Orange County.

I should also add that although UW has declined to accomodate car commuters, Madison does make a point of providing parking decks to accomodate shoppers coming downtown (but not on terms that would allow commuters to take advantage of parking meant for shoppers).

Hey, check it out- a public meeting on Madison's 2020 Transportation Plan occurs today from 5:00 - 8:00 P.M. at Atwood Community Center, 2425 Atwood Avenue, Madison.

Staying over one more night? Check it out.

Glad to know Mr Moran has learned something about Orange County while in Madison! Seriously, I think all of us realize how difficult it is to know everything that's going on around here. And like I said, we don't have a large cadre of street social workers and of the three we do have, 2 are cops. I raised the issue because I hate seeing our hardworking/overworked social service agencies and staff not receiving due recognition.

We are back from Madison and I still need more time to process all that we saw and heard. Without a doubt, it was a good experience and worth the time and money. For any that were worried that throwing over 100 people together from our greater community could lead to co-optation and other “bad” things, I am convinced it didn't happen. What did happen is that people had the opportunity to sit and talk and ponder and reflect on a wide range of topics. Yes, people got to know each other better and the dynamic of being out of town made it much more possible. Nobody in the group shed their key principles (those who “boycotted” the first breakfast because Progress Energy was the sponsor is a good example) or surrendered their integrity. And nobody thought it odd to see Dan Coleman and I talking! What I think blossomed and will continue to grow was channels of communications that will lead to better relationships.

If there was a one word take away from the Madison folks we were exposed to, it was collaboration. Everyone who spoke seemed to say that they learned that they could accomplish more that way and they seem to be working on it all the time. They also clearly had problems, petty politics, and the other things all communities have, but it seems that they have built a better approach among the major players. As the state capitol, I expected to hear more about the impact of the state government being there, but I heard little of that. The city, county and university was the most common focus.

I was in the workforce housing group, along with Delores Bailey, Mary Beck, Bill Bunch, Kim Dawson, Robert Dowling, Monica Evans, Mariana Fiorentino, John Florian, James Harris, Chad Lefteris, Susan Levy, Henry McCoy, Chris Moran, Andrea Rohrbacher, Steve Stewart, Nick Tennyson, Bill Thorpe, and Mark Zimmerman. Others may have been there but this group reflected a cross section of the entire trip participants. From the presentation by the Madison folks (too long and left little time for interaction, BTW) I took away the following points:
1. The use “WORKFORCE” rather than “AFFORDABLE” housing is important to them. They define it as housing affordable to the entire range of incomes represented by Wisconsin's workforce; people emergeng from the welfare system and people who have been in the workforce but can't afford housing close to their jobs; housing affordable to people who work the minimum wage and people who may not be able to work full time; housing for older adults, many of whom are in the workforce as well as housing for younger people; and housing for people who rent as well as people who can own homes and want to own homes.

2. They looked at their county workforce and their incomes and found that 30% made an average income less than $12.45 per hour. In the group were people who had key community jobs – EMTs, cooks, home health aides, retail people, preschool teachers, nursing aides, etc. They found that one needed an income of $68,200 to buy a median-price home BUT 55.32% made less than half the income ($34,100) needed to buy that median priced home AND 94.27% of the county workforce made an average income less than the income needed to buy the median-price home in 2005.

3. They saw Inclusionary Zoning as a key tool. In their last mayoral race, IZ was the key issue, and a young unknown "lefty" with a name the electorate couldn't pronounce (Dave Cieslewicz) defeated the old guard by pushing a strong IZ position (15% set asides in new projects). In July, they passed a revision to improve the ordinance after a somewhat contentious battle in their council.

4. Housing segregation and thus school segregation is a problem but there wasn't time to explore it.

5. They deal with NIMBYism, struggle with keeping workforce housing permanently affordable, and have thought about ways to focus on both the supply and demand side of the issue (declaring a unit affordable doesn't mean that there are people who want to buy it).

6. They have a growing stock of condo units and putting units in the workforce housing program demonstrates the tension between the cost of housing and the expense associated with ownership.

Anyway, there are many more things that need to be mulled over and that will take time. A good start on sharing will be that some of the things we heard will be discussed at the meeting next Tuesday afternoon at the Chamber's Workforce Housing Partnership meeting.

I'm glad that we had this trip and I'm very glad that I went. You can read what was written in the Madison paper this morning.

Thank you for this report Fred. Hopefully other participants will follow your, Mark, Gene and Dan's lead and give the community a quick debrief (I know Anita will...).

I can see the power of framing reasonably priced housing as "workforce" over "affordable", though I wonder if that diminishes the call for housing for "no-workforce" citizens (think Sally's efforts on ending homelessness). Was that brought up as a concern?

First, thanks Ruby for fixing the first part of the link that I messed up. I know it's on another thread but big thanks for the work that you put in to make this all possible. Madison has nothing that's really like it!

As for the label issue that Will raises, it was a concern. I was with Chris Moran on the tour that focused on the street homeless (about 26% vets BTW). We asked about the working homeless and that number is growing - loosing their homes or can't pay their rents. Limited housing for those with NO income is being served by some of the govt. social service organizations, church groups , YWCA, Salvation Army, etc. I do not their approach diminishes the parallel efforts in meeting the full range of housing needs.

But here is one of the sticking points in this issue - the problem must be addressed by the government and with their money. You can't put the solution for all of this on the private sector. Like here, money comes from business, fed, state, county, but I think more will have to come from the local unit itself. Calling for increasing taxes to address workforce housing is tough for any candidate, here or there!

One of the more obvious things that works there is having a dense, multi-use downtown with buildings over eight stories. Lots of variety in the folks who live downtown makes for a good situation in my opinion, and they have the services that keep them there. You should see the bikes, mopeds, and scoters, and not cars! Their racks are art in themselves. Ed Harrison said that he saw eight or nine different types around the downtown. They have a tough panhandling ordinance, but I'm not sure of how and when it's enforced, but the signs were in some store windows. People can walk on their wide sidewalks with the art cows and dining area tables with no problems. State Street runs from the capitol to the university in a seamless fashion. The State Street edge of campus has buildings that the non-university public is likely to be going, like the library, museum, student union, hotel, etc. Their student union sits on tone of their beautiful lakes and place seem well used. At night, people were everywhere downtown and on the campus; the place has vitality.

Having 24 hours to digest the trip, I agree with Fred that the biggest take away was the sence of collaboration between the town government, local communities and the University (we didn't get much of a sence of the state involvement). Great things are being accomplihed because these three groups are investing a ton of energy in communicating. This collaboration also shows in the physical space. It is seamless, you can't tell where the university stops and the town begins. At the wrapup session there was a public commitment from our University, our elected officials from all three towns, and our county, to work harder on creating the kind of collaboration that Madison appears to have. I believe it was sincere, and time will tell if it is accomplished.

As a side, the Chamber announced it is going to have a report from the trip published in the near future, as well as a followup meeting for the public on the trip "lessons learned" sometime in October.

Like Fred, I need more time to process the trip, but some initial observations:

First of all, the best "learning" we did took place with each other at the dinner table, in the hallways, and over a cup of coffee or a beer. Many of the participants were people who may not spend a lot of time together here because we work, have families, etc. For example, I learned more about the IFC and Chris Moran in couple of days than I probably could in a month of Sundays here in Chapel Hill. I cannot emphasize the value of this opportunity to talk outside of our normal venues. It affected the tone and quality of our conversations in a very positive manner.

I participated in the Downtown, Town-Gown, and University Research Park presentations. Additionally, I took the tour with Chris Moran and the Reach Out worker, Mike, to talk about the panhandling and homelessness issues in Madison. I'll try to report on each area in separate posts so I don't bore you to death.

Downtown: Madison's downtown works well because it has people living there--I believe I heard there are about 3000 total housing units planned or currently on-line for downtown. Downtown residents drive the need for diverse shopping. I didn't see a single UW memorabilia or T-shirt shop in three blocks, but I did see two small grocery stores, a shoe store, a popcorn store (3 in fact), a stationery/office supply store, a furniture store, a cheese shop, several museums, a huge performing arts center, churches, lots of nice restaurants and coffee shops, sports bars, lots of apparel, as well as some other cool shops that are hard to categorize. Doing my 'necessities' litmus test, I found a half gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, lunchmeat, a basic white turtleneck, socks, shoes, and underwear for sale at a reasonable price on State Street!

Lots of outdoor dining and wide sidewalks made the street very inviting, as did some street vendors selling cool sundresses, shirts, and sunglasses. The downtown facade is seamless--you want to keep walking to see what's next. The buildings vary widely in height from two to more than 10-15 stories in the CBD, but it isn't weird. I saw two chain stores--the Gap and Land's End--and (I think) a Walgreen's Drug store. There was a Subway and a couple of regional chain restaurants, but they fit in nicely with the local eateries. The bus stops were exceptionally clean and well maintained and the streets as well. The merchants pay an additional assessment for daily garbage pick up from their businesses, from the trash cans on the sidewalk, and street cleaning. This is on top of an additional district property tax that funds a business improvement district and it seems to be working. The annual 'cleaning' assessment is 15.00 per linear foot of street frontage per business and also funds additional security in the downtown. The lighting was about twice as dense as our street lighting and it was quite bright at night--no dark or shadowy areas. Most merchants were open till 9 pm at least and on the weekend. The numerous artistic cows are fun and show up in unexpected places. Many of the storefronts are well designed and inviting and make you want to walk inside.

I talked to over 30 merchants and most said that the panhandling ordinance had made a tremendous difference in the downtown and that they saw a notable increase in business after its adoption, especially from families with kids. It is a tough ordinance and the practical effect is that panhandling is allowed only in two small areas of the downtown. The Reach Out worker also credits that ordinance for assisting him in his ability to get people off the street and into appropriate services. Mike (the worker) said that he will "aggressively disrupt" a panhandling situation and try to keep the person from getting any money because it "enables homelessness and addiction and makes my job harder." The merchants were aware of and supportive of the Reach-Out program.

Mike pointed out many homeless people but they weren't easily identifiable as such. I was asked once for money but not in an aggressive manner.

Let me note that Mike did not specifically identify any homeless person. He was most respectful of their privacy, but indicated several times during the tour that we were in the midst of or in close proximity to many homeless people. His point was exactly what I mentioned--they were not easily identifiable as such. I would be doing Mike's integrity a disservice if I didn't clarify this point to you.

I attended the Madison trip as a community, nonprofit representative (I'm the director of the Dispute Settlement Center) and I was impressed with the transparency of the agenda and the conversations that happened. I had gone to Bloomington, Indiana years ago on a Public Private Partnership trip. The topic for that trip was billed as "Youth Services" when in fact it was all about what to do with Horace Williams Airport land. That trip was a political lesson for me.
I understand the scepticism and charges of elitism that some have for trips like this, but I have to say the Madison trip seemed on the up and up. The Chamber staff did a terrific job, I felt welcomed and included, even though I was not an elected official, UNC muckety-muck, or developer. Those three groups really have to work together in some serious ways, and I think the trip is going to help this.



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