November 2006

Orange Activists Recognized

This week's Independent Weekly recognizes two Orange County residents (and a number of others in the Triangle) with their annual Ctizen Awards. The North Carolina Peace and Justice Coalition's Andrew Pearson ( ) and the People's Channel's Chad Johnston ( ) were both recognized. You can read about all five honorees at

Congratulations to both Andrew and Chad (and the many people involved in their respective organizations) for this recognition!

Development in Northwest Chapel Hill

The unchecked growth charted for NW Chapel Hill will not only effectively choke off many of the neighborhoods in the area, but will, in a metastatic line of attack have negative effects on the entire town.

Can schools absorb 1000 new students?
Can roads (especially Weaver Dairy Road) absorb thousands of additional cars?
Can an over stressed environment absorb more impervious surfaces, pollution, and waste?

We cannot continue to just focus on each of these proposals as though they were an entity unto themselves. We must see how each one of them fits into the greater whole of the huge number of residences already here.

This “gateway” entrance into Chapel Hill will be one that greets people with bumper to bumper traffic. Neighborhoods to the west of MLK Jr. Blvd. will be isolated from the option of walkability that this area has the potential to offer.

There must be a moratorium on all plans in the NW Quadrant. There must be a study done on how this area can continue to exist as a viable part of the community if development continues in this haphazard fashion.

Agricultural Incubator to be Located in N. Orange

Big news in today's N&O on a farming incubator being established in Orange County by the county, the state Cooperative Extension, and NCSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This is very good news for Orange County as the continued vitality of local farming will be critical to our future sustainability.

Consider the following, according to Michael Pollan:

Food energy in a 1-pound box of prewashed organic lettuce: 80 calories

Fossil-fuel energy spent growing, chilling, washing, packaging, and transporting box of lettuce from California to East Coast: More than 4,600 calories

That's a 57.5 to 1 ratio. And, there is nothing on the horizon to improve upon it. In fact, as gas supplies dwindle while demand rises, it is likely to get much worse. This means that the value of locally grown produce will continue to rise as will the value of farmland (and even garden space).

Hillsborough's growth boundary

I was pleased to read recently that the Town of Hillsborough is working with the county to develop plans for a rural buffer which will limit sprawl and guide development in areas where it's considered desirable.

Town elected officials and staff have been working with their Orange County counterparts and consultants all year to determine how large Hillsborough should grow and how the town and county can work together better along the boundaries. Under the plan, Hillsborough would have a rural buffer, an understanding with the county about what land eventually will be annexed into the town, and a limit on the expansion of water and sewer services.
- | Hillsborough weighs future

Click for full-size map.

Village Project open house

I just got this announcement in the mail. I won't be able to attend, but I would love to support them. The VP has really improved the community dialog around development by doing things like their Concept Plan for Carolina North which gives us something else to react to besides UNC's auto-centric plans and the Town's vague principles.

Pssst, hey Village Project: why isn't this event mentioned on your website?

Listening to downtown

I wasn't planning to blog this, but I just attended the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership's Annual Meeting and Public Forum and there are a few things continuing to nag at me.

DP chair Tom Tucker started the meeting by discussing their three "clients": UNC, the Town of Chapel Hill, and downtown businesses. These are the same constituencies represented on the DP's board. For all their talking about importance of residential development downtown, no-one is working to include the voices of those who currently live downtown (or would like to). If they did, I think they would hear a very different set of priorities and concerns.

For example, many families who want to live in urban settings also want to be able to walk to work, the grocery store, and the playground. We have to get out of our suburban single-family-home mindset to understand the needs and desires of our potential downtown dwellers.

"Controlled Chaos" - Europeans Eliminate Traffic Signs

Heidi Perry, chair of Carrboro's Transportation Advisory Board, sent us this link to an article on a new trend in traffic "management" in Europe.

Seven European cities and regions are doing away with traffic signs, "dreaming of streets free of rules and directives. They want drivers and pedestrians to interact in a free and humane way, as brethren -- by means of friendly gestures, nods of the head and eye contact, without the harassment of prohibitions, restrictions and warning signs....

"They demand streets like those during the Middle Ages, when horse-drawn chariots, handcarts and people scurried about in a completely unregulated fashion. The new model's proponents envision today's drivers and pedestrians blending into a colorful and peaceful traffic stream.

"It may sound like chaos, but it's only the lesson drawn from one of the insights of traffic psychology: Drivers will force the accelerator down ruthlessly only in situations where everything has been fully regulated. Where the situation is unclear, they're forced to drive more carefully and cautiously."

Chapel Hill public hearing on YouTube

On Will Raymond's blog post Chapel Hill Downtown Development Initiative: The Debate, there are links to TWENTY ONE separate videos of twenty one different people speaking at a November 20th public hearing on downtown development. To make it real easy to choose which one to watch there are screen shots from the video of the people who spoke with their names captioned at the bottom. (I've copied them below.)


I just gotta shout "Amen!" to Bill Friday's letter to the editor about the million dollar salary of UNC's new football coach.

I believe that those of us who are college sports fans, who believe in and respect the great value of team competition, must look ourselves in the mirror and ask what we are willing to do to "win." Are these the priorities our university should have in investing its resources? Where is this race "to win" taking us?
- | Your Letters

WCHL interviewed Dr. Friday and you can listen to it here:
How they can do this while raising tuitions and denying professors' requests for better salaries is beyond me.



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.