Planning & Transportation

Super Campus

Faster than a eigth-year senior. More powerful than an 800-pound gorilla. Able to leap over local government in a single bound. Look, up on Airport Road... It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Carolina North!

Yes, tonight UNC officially unveiled it's long-awaited "draft" plans for a gigantic new campus to be built on the Horace Williams property. I have a cold and I'm tired so I'll try to be brief. Pardon any goofyness, typos, etc.

Is This What's Meant By 'State of the Art'?

The Chapel Hill Herald had this take on the Chapel Hill Town Council's discussion of TTA merger last night.

Consider this a thread for the general discussion of regional transit, with special emphasis on what merger with TTA would mean for Chapel Hill. Would it mean greater interconnectivity with the other transit systems? (That is, would it be easier for me to take the bus to Durham?) Would it be not much of a change at all? Would it be easier or harder for TTA to implement some of it's long-term plans (guideways, light rail, etc.) if the region's bus systems were joined, or would it not make much of a difference?

What's more progressive: regional transportation that works but isn't free and may be less "flexible"; or local public transportation that's free, reliable, convenient, but doesn't get you very far outside the town?

Pedestrian-(un)Friendly Carrboro

For those of us who grew up in any other part of North Carolina, moving to Carrboro often seems like moving to a different (and better) world. Carrborians have always prided ourselves in trying to keep the good parts of Southern life intact (the relaxed pace and community) while striving to be the most culturally diverse, progressive town in the state. Instead of comparing ourselves to other similar-sized cities in the state, like Brevard or Concord or Goldsboro, most folks I know now compare Carrboro to other interesting, progressive cities throughout the country. We still stack up quite nicely in terms of our schools, public transit, and leadership, but we fall quite short on a very important indicator or quality of life: pedestrian friendliness.

Just look at other towns that are often mentioned in the same breath as our own: Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Madison, Towson Park, MD. We are much smaller than most of these towns and have other factors which separate us, but these municipalities are ones in which you can walk around much more freely and where bike paths and sidewalks can carry you to most parts of town.

Smart Schools

People around here love the word "smart." We're "smart." We have "smart" kids. We drink "smart" juice. We believe in "smart" growth. And now we want a smart-growth high school in Carrboro.

The smart-growth high school may represent the unified theory of folks who have escaped the city, embraced the space and beauty of our landscape and the pace of our lifestyles, but are still nostalgic for the days when they attended schools that began with "P.S." Establishing an urban neighborhood school in a non-urban environment would represent the overcoming of the last great obstacle to this marriage of fire and water we've been noodling with for the better part of a decade. That is, how to live a life as charged and overflowing and creative and convenient as life in Brooklyn (or Wicker Park, or Cambridge), while dispensing with the smell, and the crowds, and the dirt, and the attenuation of the natural world. Maybe in Carrboro, we think, we can just wish it into being.



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