Your Daily Commute

A few weeks ago, I was asked to take a look at my daily commute and examine it in terms of the physical factors that affect my journey. Below is a video that represents the route I travel (almost) every day and the hurdles I encounter. Because I walk a pretty short distance most days, it's a very microscopic view of pedestrian travel issues in downtown Chapel Hill. I want to turn the question around to the Orange Politics community, and see what you think of your commute. What problems do you have to deal with every day on your way to work/school/where ever, and what do you see as the solution?





Great job, Jason! You captured many of the frustrations I felt trying to get around as a resident of the near-downtown area. I believe that the leadership of our town wants people to get around without cars, but there is much work to be done before that is a safe and attractive option. This work will be essential to the success of Lot 5 and Greenbridge.
I hope everyone on the Chapel Hill Town Council will watch this video!
great job the only thing that i heard on the video was not using people first language when u called us disabilited instead of people with disabilities ellen

My apologies, thanks for the correction.

This is a fabulous example of how individuals and communities can tell their personal stories using digital storytelling techniques. I saw Greg Klaiber's name, did you produce this at the Media Resources Center? To adapt Ira Glass, the digital story is the new five paragraph essay...

Jason, absolutely excellent discussion of the problems.  No downtown is perfect, but this is the kind of feedback that all town governments really need.  West Rosemary has been problematic since the days when I lived over that way (and long before, no doubt).  I see some signs that the Town Council is trying, but I think both Chapel Hill and Carrboro have a ways to go yet.

its ok the next time people first language please ellen


I agree that you did a great job. A lot of the problems you identified were pointed out in the report ( of the Streetscape Master Plan Review Committee which was presented to theTown Council nearly two years ago. Unfortunately, correcting such problems often takes time, and money. One of our recommendations is that the Town acquire sufficient right-of-way to complete the sidewalk system along Rosemary as development/redevelopment begins to provide new, wider, better lighted pedestrian ways. As the Council begins to consider next year's budget it might be a good time to ask what is happening with those recommendations.

Jason--I'm curious about your choice of Rosemary Street over Franklin or Cameron Ave, both of which have continuous sidewalks. Franklin Street gives you excellent window shopping opportunities, and Cameron is just a nicer walk (IMHO).

I walk Cameron Avenue in the summer, because there is more shade from trees. Otherwise, it's a little out of the way to get to New East. And I don't need to be tempted with window shopping on the way to class and meetings. :) For me, there's also usually a time component which plays in prominently, if you didn't catch all of the corner-cutting. Going my particular route ensures that I can make it to my destination in the minimum time, and still be guaranteed the opportunity to grab a cup of coffee on the way for those mornings when I wake up just a moment later than I meant to.

In my car, I usually don't see pedestrians waiting to cross until I'm practically in the crosswalk myself. (When I'm on my scooter, I do see them and am usually able to stop.) It's easier to see pedestrians who want to cross if they step into the crosswalk.

Is it bad etiquette or dangerous to step into the crosswalk? I know ideally all drivers would constantly be looking at the sides of the roads...

I see much improvement at painted crosswalks and lit intersections. I still don't step into them until I'm positive I won't get hit by a car, but my hesitance quite often seems to signal to drivers that there's a pedestrian in the shot. On busy North Greensboro Street, it's the city bus drivers who invariably stop for walkers. They have the best peripheral vision by far.

As a frequent driver into and out of the UNC Hospitals complex, I fantasize about getting strong enough to walk all the way there and back from home, crossing wherever I damn please!

NC State law states that motorists and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Stepping into a crosswalk as a pedestrian signals intent to cross and helps clarify for the motorist where you are headed. This works very well on the two blocks around the Century Center in Carrboro. I'd say that 90% of the time, if I put one foot off the curb into either of these crosswalks, traffic comes to a halt. At other locations, this does not work quite as well. As always, you are the best judge of your own safety in the moment. Be particularly careful if you see an approaching driver on a cellphone.

But stepping into a crosswalk as a pedestrian is not bad etiquette, it is asserting your rights.


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