Mayoral Debate


Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - 3:00pm


Got this from a candidate's calendar, not sure whose debate it is. Maybe DTH?


I'll have to be late because of a Planning Board meeting, but I hope to be able to attend.  From a letter to the editor in today's Daily Tar Heel:

In 2008, UNC was one of the most politically active college campuses
in the country as students turned out to vote in state and national
This year, we have local elections, including the election of Chapel
Hill’s next mayor, and these elections are no less important.
Local elections are the ones that decide how Franklin Street is
developed, how bus service works, where landfills are placed and even
how our Halloween celebrations are handled. These are issues that
impact our daily lives as students at UNC and residents of Chapel Hill.
Tonight, the College Republicans and Young Democrats will host a
mayoral debate at 7 p.m. in Murphey 116 featuring candidates Augustus
Cho, Matt Czajkowski, Mark Kleinschmidt and Kevin Wolff.
Candidates will answer questions on a range of topics, and there
will also be an opportunity for audience members to ask their own
All students who live in Chapel Hill — including those in residence
halls — are eligible to vote if they have resided in Chapel Hill for 30
days. Early voting begins October 15, and Election Day is November 3.
Every resident of Chapel Hill has a stake in these elections. We
encourage students to come out tonight to learn more about the
candidates running for mayor and the issues facing the town of Chapel
Justin RosenthalCo-PresidentYoung Democrats
John EickChairmanCollege Republicans

How is this a "debate?"

I like Augustus Cho's suggestion to close off Franklin Street from Henderson to Columbia St. to vehicular traffic.

Terri,If Franklin were to be closed off, where would the vehicular traffic go as an alternative?  Given that Franklin Street is a state road, the state would have to grant permission to close it.  Without a suitable alternative I think the likelihood of that happening would be nil.  You probably remember that it took us 5+ years and a pedestrian fatality to get a signalized crosswalk on West Franklin.  NCDOT has a mindset that is not particularly tuned to pedestrian/bicycle friendliness.

My initial campaign brochure I just dug out from 1973 said "create pedestrian mall by closing Henderson Street from Franklin to Rosemary". I got nowhere with that one in six years of trying, and Henderson was and is a relatively minor traffic carrier. 

I've been in favor of this for years. It would enliven downtown and make it a very unique and attractive area. This is the kind of creative thinking that we need to break out of the never-ending debate on downtown vs. malls, vacant buildings, more commercial tax revenue, tweaking this & that, etc. Instead of thinking of all the roadblocks, we should be thinking of how to make things like this happen.

Mark,We know all (some) of the roadblocks.  Unfortunately we don't have a solution.  Do you?

and I'll figure it out.  

Did you forget? - all the candidates are promising to cut expenses. 

maybe one of the highly trained staff can make the investment in time and money that could reap big benefits when Chapel Hill breaks out of the box with an exciting downtown pedestrian mall. While they are at it, let's relocate Eastgate and turn that area into a lake with an outdoor performing arts theater and some businesses around the edges. Solve the flooding problem and create another exciting Chapel Hill landmark.

I agree. Have been to Charlottesville a few times and am amazed at how vibrant their walking downtown is. You can go down there at 11:00 at night and it will be packed with people and offers diverse food, retail and art gallery choices. 

There aren't any cross streets between Henderson and Columbia so traffic could circle around to Rosemary. But I agree--getting DOT to even consider something so 'radical' would take decades, even if it would make that section of Franklin Street infinitely safer for pedestrians.

A Rosemary solution would be only 1/3 the current traffic capacity.  So the other alternative folks would use is Cameron.  Which is a lot worse from a safety perspective since the crosswalks and stop signs are already ignored.Plus, given the experience in Raleigh over the last 35(?) years, I doubt anyone is looking to make pedestrian malls downtown anytime soon in NC.

Just returned from NYC where they have closed Broadway from 47th to 34th (I think those are the right numbers) and put table and chairs out.  They created ped and bike paths and painted them green.People said it couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't be done.  Don't know how long they plan to keep it, but when you are on foot, it's a great decision!

last time I checked they had subways under Manhattan streets so street closures did not impact mobility as much.  One of the major impacts from a Franklin Street closure would be on public transit.  There are a number of cities I have been in that have modified pedestrian malls where there are still buses using a single lane in each direction. Mark M, would this be a viable alternative?

One of the primary outcomes of closing Franklin Street anwyhere, and
especially east of Columbia Street, is to tremendously disrupt the flow
of up to 130-150 local buses that move through that intersection each
morning and afternoon rush hour, and the 25 - 30 regional buses that
move through during the same time frames. These buses probably deliver
5000 - 7000 people to campus during that timeframe.

It also basically kills east-west access from Carrboro to points in east Chapel Hill and further east.

Re-routing buses and traffic over to Rosemary and back would pose
considerable time costs on motorists and bus riders, and make the
operation of both local and regional buses considerably more expensive.

Adding running time to dozens of bus routes will depress ridership
and encourage more people to drive to campus, increasing greenhouse
gases and congestion.  

Gerry is right that Broadway in NYC works because of the subways,
but also because of the many semi-parallel streets in the Manhattan
grid.  Of course, this public space is also surrounded by some of the
heaviest pedestrian movement counts in the Western Hemisphere, and
expansion of sidewalk space near Times Square into the street or
general street takeover was a critical public safety issue there. 
While I don't think this makes sense for our area, keep reading to see some of the other incredibly cool things NYC is
doing these days.

Part of Chapel Hill/Carrboro's geographic legacy which makes it
different (an more challenging for transport planning) is that there is
only one continuous East-West corridor (Franklin) and one continuous
North-South corridor (MLK) through the center of our urban activity
area which stretches from East Franklin to downtown Carrboro.  

Raleigh and Durham both have larger grids and substitute streets if
one gets knocked out of commission.   We don't.  There are ways to make
Franklin Street friendlier to pedestrians, but closing the street
presents more challenges and unintended consequences than most.

Denver has been pretty successful with closing off many contiguous blocks of their downtown (also the times I have been tehir - very vibrant) only allowing buses down a center lane with large walking areas on each side. Seems like this could be a possibility. Part of change is thinking outside the box rather than always thinking of why we can't do it. 

Denver also has light rail running on city streets in the downtown, or on dedicated rights of way in the downtown, but all at surface level.

Denver is very pedestrian friendly. Why couldn't we close off Franklin Street to all traffic except busses and put the bus lane down the center of the road, making it easier for pedestrians to safely cross the street? We could also cancel the Lot 5 project and put in a parking deck to provide easy access to downtown and the (hopefully) wonderful new University Square as well as West Franklin.

Having a bus lane sounds like a possible way to deal with this. Maybe we could get away with one lane and a signal system at each end to let the drivers know when they could use the lane. 

In '92 or '93 Wallace Kuralt presented to a planning school student group his already years-old idea for Franklin St from Henderson to Columbia: Make it one lane each way, have diagonal parking, and increase the width of the the sidewalk. If I recall correctly he said the idea was first proposed in the 80's sometime but did not get traction. He also said there was a suggestion for a boutique condo/hotel at the current location of the Wallace parking deck that did not win favor either. I always thought that was a good infill idea.

I can't believe nobody on here went to this debate.  People here always seem to go to everything.  I went to it.  Here are some comments, with more to come so that one post isn't overly long.--I don't lke to criticize the people that ran the debate since running it is a good thing, but they had some system where they had a mysterious hand signal system to tell the speakers how much time they had left.  And also, the debate was in a large classroom with all the candidates facing forwards (12 o'clock) while the moderators were at 3 o'clock, or perhaps 2:45.  So in order to tell when their time was running out, a candidate would have had to make a nearly 90 degree turn to the right and then hope it happened to be time for a hand signal and then interpret the hand signal.  The moderators instead should have just had someone sitting right in front of the speakers with cards that said 60, 30, or whatever, to hold up and signify how many seconds they had left. --There were probably over 100 people there.  It was a fairly big classroom and it was mostly full. --From what I knew up until the debate, which wasn't too much other than that Matt Cz tended to run counter to the establishment in control of things in CH, I was leaning towards voting for Matt Cz and after seeing the debate I'm leaning more so towards that. --Augustus Cho seems like a very nice man (he and Matt Cz patted each other on the back about 20 times), but the chances of a Republican that is openly conventially religous winning the mayoral election of CH is approximately nil. --There was no discussion at all about taxes,  which probably was a result of the discussion being aimed at students. --I was literally...literally...biting my tongue hard, very hard, in order to inflict pain upon myself a couple times to prevent myself from laughing while Kevin Wolff was speaking.  It wasn't at all his policies per se that were causing it (although his statement of "If I don't eliminate homelessness in CH in two years, I'll quit" was over the top) but rather his extremely serious style of speaking and also his dramatic pauses.  That may sound silly but if anyone else was there I think there's a good chance they'll agree with me.--If Matt Cz put on about 70 pounds and wore a red sweater and had all gray hair instead of partially gray hair and if he talked like a raving lunatic instead of a normal human being, he'd be like former college basketball coach and permanent raving lunatic Bobby Knight.  He has a facial resemblance to Bobby Knight.  Or at leas the does when he has a normal face instead of a smiling face.  Today I saw a smiling picture of him in the DTH and he didn't resemble Bobby Knight.  --Most of the people in attendance last night are going to vote for Mark K.  He's younger than the other candidates, he looks even younger than he is, and he is good looking.  And he's more idealistic than the other candidates too.  With regard to college students, that adds up to more votes.


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